Third Annual Postdoctoral Career Conference a Success

Postdoctoral Career Conference
By Wiley Larsen on May 5, 2021

The ASU Postdoctoral Career Conference, held on March 25, saw over 100 postdocs in attendance from ASU and University of Arizona. This year marked the third annual conference hosted by the Graduate College's Postdoctoral Affairs Office.  

The conference hosted three panel sessions featuring former postdocs, most of whom were previously postdocs at ASU. The panelists each shared their stories of how they ended up in their current, “permanent” jobs.  

April Jeffries, a former postdoc at ASU, shared how her advisor got wind of a small solar energy startup in New Mexico that was looking for an engineer and referred her to the position. She now lives in Golden, Colorado and works for the company remotely. She said she likes working for a startup because she gets to a variety of tasks, and isn’t just a bench scientist.   

Greg Orf, another former postdoc at ASU, now lives in Chicago and works for Abbott Laboratories. He enjoys working in industry and told the audience that it is imperative that each and every cover letter and resume be specifically tailored to the job you are applying for. 

Diane Haiber, a former PhD student from ASU who opted not to do a postdoc, shared a similar story.  She was laser-focused on working for Intel, and went the extra mile by attending recruiting events, doing practice interviews, and working her network to land her job there.  

Christina Kwapich and Carlos Rubio-Medrano both shared their experiences in the academic realm.  Carlos talked about how he chose the academic pathway rather than going into industry, which is atypical in the computer science field.  Christina shared her experience of the interview process which helped her get a faculty position at the University of Massachusetts – Lowell. 

Manpuneet Benipal talked about career advancement on her panel, which was unique because she is the CEO of a startup company that spun out of ASU in 2018.  She talked about the benefits and stresses of leading an early stage company.  

The conference wrapped up with a career fair, where postdocs got to select breakout rooms and meet recruiters pitching their organizations.

If you’re interested in attending events similar to the Postdoctoral Career Conference, visit our website for  upcoming professional development events and conferences.