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. Ting-Chih Wu, a PhD candidate in History, was placed as a Fellow with Penn Online Learning Initiative. Read about Ting-Chih’s experience in the CEF below!
Describe your experience working with your host:
I have a great time working with Dr. Rebecca Stein (OLI’s Executive Director). During the pandemic, I have attended a lot of online courses and conferences. So I was excited about learning from professionals specialized in online learning. I was given the opportunity to discuss with Dr. Stein on trends, tools and class practice on online learning. I also have the opportunities to attend several conferences where professors and students from various universities and institutions shared their experiences on how they moved courses online and how they help students engage in online courses.
What did you learn from this opportunity (about yourself, about career fields, the job search, etc.)?
This fellowship offered me some insight into online learning, of which I had little knowledge before. I explore the topics on the course design and the career path of online education. On the other hand, through self-assessment in the CEF, I know better on my characteristics and my strengths. I am much clear on which career path I am interested in. The CEF also serves as a reminder that PhD students should think about their futures earlier.
How does your CEF experience benefit your future career plans?
My CEF experience offered me an opportunity to make myself to better prepare for a possible career path. My doctoral program trains me as a candidate for academic jobs in higher educational institutions. The CEF drove me to learn the sources and current industry outside the academic field. Participating in CEF shows me the alternative path for my future career.
What was the most valuable part of your CEF experience?
The most valuable part of my CEF experience was the one-on-one discussion with my mentor, Dr. Stein. Dr. stein offered me basic knowledge on skills and industry on online learning. Our conservations also guided me to begin thinking about my career goals.
Top reason PhD students should apply to the CEF:
PhD students should apply to the CEF because it offers us a chance to explore an alternative career in an effective way. The Penn career services team has a standardized process to help
the students understand their advantages in job markets. Through group discussions, self-assessment tests and lectures, the students can polish their resumes and prepare themselves better for the future job markets.