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Careers Beyond the Bench Returns

Careers Beyond the Bench

February 28, 2022

Last week, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies in the College of Medicine partnered with the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Student Association (BSGSA), Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, and Drexel Biomedical Graduate Association (DBGA) to bring back Careers Beyond the Bench, a virtual professional development conference Feb. 23-25 highlighting careers outside of academia for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Nearly 120 participants heard from professionals in a variety of fields during a series of panel discussions including medical and science communications, R&D in Pharma, management consulting, medical science liaison, and R&D in Biotech, as well as from postdocs in industry. Participants also had the opportunity to engage in professional development workshops on topics like personal branding, CV to resume, career planning, work-life integration, and in a pre-event workshop on networking in a virtual environment held Feb. 17. In addition to the virtual conference, a small group of students gathered in-person on Feb. 25 at two locations, a local coffee shop in Center City and on the Queen Lane campus, to dive deeper into their choice of two careers pathways and network with industry professionals.

Former president and ex-officio member of the BSGSA, Dillon Malloy, a fifth year PhD candidate in neuroscience, was a member of the planning committee and moderated the management consulting career panel. During the planning process, Dillon had the opportunity to speak with each of the panelists to learn more about their roles and the companies they work for, a major benefit of both planning and participating in the conference. The virtual format allowed the planning committee to invite a variety of industry professionals, including those not local to Philadelphia. Dillon noted that the panelists were also excited to have the opportunity connect with one another during the event highlighting the collegial nature of the industry.

As a student leader, Dillon is passionate about expanding opportunities for career exploration among graduate students and postdocs. He said this event allows participants to explore “different career paths that [they] may not have heard of or had exposure to prior.” Participants can reach out to the planning committee to be connected with the panelists from this year’s event. The planning committee will also make session recordings available for those who want to recap or who were unable to participate.

President of the DBGA, Randolph Sinahon, a first year PhD student in biomedical engineering, was also a member of the planning committee and moderated the “What Can You Be With An Advanced Science Degree” panel discussion. Randy noted that the breakout rooms were a highlight for him. He said, “the panelists provided an amazing opportunity to ask direct questions in a smaller, more intimate, and engaging environment.” Randy plans to participate in the planning committee again next year. “Meeting some of the amazing panelists has inspired me become a panelist myself one day. I hope to return the favor and inspire the next generation of scientists and researchers,” he said.

Natalie Chernets, PhD, director of postdoctoral affairs and professional development, says participants will be invited to a follow-up pilot of peer-career exploration cohorts. Cohorts will meet on a monthly basis for a total of six months to help foster career development in particular pathways. Natalie is currently recruiting PhD students and postdocs to lead peer groups. No experience is necessary and training will be provided for group leaders. For more information, contact Dr. Natalie Chernets at