In the spring of 2021, 44 PhD students from a range of academic disciplines at Penn participated virtually in Career Services’ PhD Career Exploration Fellowship (CEF) program, where they were matched with a host organization to learn about different careers beyond academia. Emma Curry-Stodder, a PhD candidate in History, was placed as a Fellow with the Penn Museum – Academic Engagement. Read about Emma’s experience in the CEF below!
Describe your experience working with your host:
My hosts were extremely helpful in putting me in touch with people to talk to regarding questions I had about graduate degrees in museum studies. They also let me sit in on various staff meetings, and were very encouraging to me with regards to the research project I did for them (Digital Daily Dig). They answered all of my questions and were prompt in getting back to me.
What did you learn from this opportunity (about yourself, about career fields, the job search, etc.)?
I definitely became a lot more confident in reaching out and making professional connections and conducting informational interviews, which I was sort of paralyzed about before. I definitely improved my networking skills while doing the CEF.
How does your CEF experience benefit your future career plans?
My CEF experience helped me make several very valuable contacts, and gave me a better idea about whether I need to pursue graduate museum studies in the future.
What was the most valuable part of your CEF experience?
Developing networking skills (conducting informational interviews and using LinkedIn to reach out and make contacts),and putting together a Digital Daily Dig for the public that I’m really proud of.
Apart from being a fantastic opportunity for you to make great connections, the CEF will help you concretize your career goals and create actionable steps for the future.