PhD Career Exploration Fellow Spotlight: Haley Pilgrim (Hosted by Facebook – User Experience Research)

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. Haley Pilgrim, a PhD candidate in Sociology, was placed as a Fellow with Facebook – User Experience Research. Read about Haley’s experience in the CEF below!

Describe your experience working with your host:

I had an extraordinary experience with my host. She was incredibly supportive and kind. Everyone I talked to at Facebook went above and beyond in offering me support. It gave me a good indication of the culture of the company.

What did you learn from this opportunity (about yourself, about career fields, the job search, etc.)?

I learned the breadth of User Experience jobs that my research prepared me for. It also help demystify the non-academic job search process.

How does your CEF experience benefit your future career plans?

Gaining connections was just one way CEF benefited my future career plans. All of the workshops on transforming your resume into a CV and making your linkedin profile applicable to non-academic jobs was invaluable.

What was the most valuable part of your CEF experience?

The most valuable part of my CEF experience was to see how transferable my research skills were to working at a tech company. It made me confident that I could find a non-academic job that valued my qualitative research expertise.

Top reason PhD students should apply to the CEF:

Expand your network in alt-ac!

By Helen Pho
Helen Pho Associate Director, Graduate Students & Postdocs Helen Pho