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.
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:
- Professional headshot
- 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
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.
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 April; 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 April 2020.