PhD Career Exploration Fellowship (CEF)

The PhD Career Exploration Fellowship (CEF) program encourages non-faculty career exploration among doctoral students by facilitating shadowing experiences and fostering mentorship relationships with advanced-degree holding professionals. This unpaid opportunity allows doctoral students to gain hands-on, real-world career experience in administrative offices, libraries, pharmaceuticals, museums, science outreach, and other centers on Penn’s campus and in the Philadelphia area. Students can use this experience to cultivate a stronger professional profile and to develop career-readiness competencies and administrative skills in preparation for a range of careers. In 2020, 36 CEF Fellows were matched with 26 hosts. Read about some of their CEF experiences in our spotlight series.

Meet the 2020 Career Exploration Fellows!

Placement Fellow Primary School Academic Program
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) – Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics Keana Richards Arts & Sciences Psychology
The Center for Teaching and Learning Divya Jain Engineering & Applied Science Bioengineering
The Franklin Institute Theresa Patten Perelman School Of Medicine Pharmacology
Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies/Alice Paul Center for Research on Gender, Sexuality, and Women at Penn Kimberly Cardenas Arts & Sciences Political Science
Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies/Alice Paul Center for Research on Gender, Sexuality, and Women at Penn Meghan Hall Arts & Sciences English
The Kleinman Center for Energy Policy — Communications Archana Kaku Arts & Sciences Political Science
The Kleinman Center for Energy Policy — Research Ariana Spentzos Arts & Sciences Chemistry
Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter — Education and Outreach Alex Weberg Arts & Sciences Chemistry
Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter — Education and Outreach Andrew Glass Arts & Sciences Chemistry
Merck — Digital Analytics and Technologies Mailyn Nishiguchi Perelman School Of Medicine Cell and Molecular Biology
Merck — Digital Analytics and Technologies Bryan Simpson Perelman School Of Medicine Cell and Molecular Biology
Merck — Infectious Disease and Virology Lauren Shaw Perelman School Of Medicine Pharmacology
Merck — Infectious Disease and Virology Katherine Strelau Perelman School Of Medicine Cell and Molecular Biology
Merck — Neuropharmacology Lindsay Roth Perelman School Of Medicine Pharmacology
Merck — Neuropharmacology Natalia A. Quijano Cardé Perelman School Of Medicine Pharmacology
Merck — Quantitative Biosciences Nathan Frey Engineering & Applied Science Materials Science & Engineering
Merck — Quantitative Biosciences Apexa Modi Perelman School Of Medicine Genomics And Computational Biology
Online Learning Initiative  (OLI) Anna Leigh Todd Arts & Sciences History
Penn Center for Innovation (PCI)  — Ventures Antonina (Tonia) Tsinman Engineering & Applied Science Bioengineering
Penn Center for Innovation (PCI) — Ventures Kyra Levy Perelman School Of Medicine Neuroscience
Office of the Vice Provost for Global Initiatives Nicholas Holdreith Perelman School Of Medicine Cell and Molecular Biology
Penn Libraries — Education Commons Francisco Diaz Arts & Sciences Anthropology
Penn Libraries — Areas Studies Matthew Sharp Arts & Sciences Near Eastern Languages & Civilizatn
Penn Libraries — Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts Tajah Ebram Arts & Sciences English
Penn Libraries — Teaching, Research, and Learning (TRL) Timothy Warnock Arts & Sciences Ancient History
Penn Museum — Academic Engagement Irteza Binte-Farid Education Anthropology, Education
Penn Sustainability Hanna Lindner Perelman School Of Medicine Biostatistics
Philadelphia Museum of Art — Library and Archives Megan Genovese Annenberg Communication
Philadelphia Museum of Art — Publishing Shoshana Adler Arts & Sciences English
Price Lab for Digital Humanities Eugenia Ulanova Arts & Sciences Comparative Literature & Theory
Price Lab for Digital Humanities Jennifer Whittaker School Of Design City & Regional Planning
Perelman School of Medicine — Office of Research and Diversity Training Olivia Harding Perelman School Of Medicine Cell and Molecular Biology
Perelman School of Medicine — Office of Research and Diversity Training Vanessa Flietes Perelman School Of Medicine Neuroscience
Education and Professional Development (REACT)  at Penn Engineering Drew Caitlin Newman Arts & Sciences Chemistry
Science Outreach Initiative Kevin M. Alicea-Torres Perelman School Of Medicine Cell and Molecular Biology
Science Outreach Initiative Leah Middleton Perelman School Of Medicine Neuroscience

Information for applying to the 2021 PhD Career Exploration Fellowship program will be available in December 2020.  Details from this year’s program are included below for reference.

2020 PhD Career Exploration Fellowship

PhD students in any department or school within the University may apply. Fellows will meet with their hosts for informational interviews to learn about their host’s career paths and the various aspects of the host’s position, including specific responsibilities, work culture, challenges and rewards of the role, etc. Additionally, Fellows will attend meetings when appropriate and debrief with their hosts to learn more about the day-to-day functions and greater missions of their host organizations. Fellows may have the opportunity to use their writing, organizational skills, and research training to advance meaningful projects in the host office.

This fellowship typically entails 8-10 hours in total time commitment with the host organization. It is intended to enhance your professional development and exploration of non-tenure track careers. This fellowship will not impede your course work or dissertation research but rather, we hope, will excite you about the career possibilities that await after completion of your PhD program.

*Please note: Because this is an unpaid career exploration opportunity, there are no Visa restrictions for international students.

In addition to the career exploration provided through placement with a host organization, Fellows will also receive professional development opportunities to help them achieve career success after they finish their PhD programs.

By the end of the program, each Fellow will have the following resources and assets provided courtesy of Penn Career Services:

  • StrengthsQuest online talent assessment
  • Polished LinkedIn profile
  • Strong resume tailored for a specific career field
  • Individual career advising appointment with a Grad Student/Postdoc Team Career Advisor

Objectives

The PhD Career Exploration Fellowship program has the following aims:

  • Facilitate non-faculty career exploration for PhD students
  • Educate graduate students about the roles and responsibilities in a specific career field
  • Allow graduate students to form relationships and create networks with non-faculty members of the university and with Philadelphia-area graduate-alumni, through one-on-one mentoring and professional development activities
  • Enhance the professional development and leadership skills of graduate students
  • Facilitate students’ ability to conduct informational interviews as part of their career exploration and networking
  • Provide experiences that can be described in skill-focused ways within CVs, resumes, cover letters, and interviews

Participating Offices for 2020

Full descriptions of each host office and possible projects at each placement can be downloaded here. Each student may indicate a first, second, and third choice host opportunity in their application.

Schedule

We estimate that Fellowships with the host office will entail 8-10 hours of mentorship and shadowing activities, in addition to time devoted to the optional project. Optional projects may entail an additional 10-15 hours of work, although further time is encouraged if the Fellow desires more hours and if this is feasible for the center. Fellowships at host organizations will take place between the orientation in mid-February and the end of May; scheduling will vary according to particular projects and the availability of both the Fellow and host. All Fellowships with host offices should be completed by the end of May 2020.