PhD Career Exploration Fellow Spotlight: Irene Elias (Hosted by the Philadelphia Museum of Art – Publishing)

In the spring of 2022, 34 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 the professoriate. Irene Elias, a PhD candidate in Ancient History, was placed as a Fellow with the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Publishing department. Read about Irene’s experience in the CEF below!

Headshot of Irene Elias

Describe your experience working with your host:

My experience with my host was even better than expected. She and everyone she introduced me to were all extremely communicative and friendly, reaching out to me to set up meetings, giving advice, helping grow my experience, and welcoming any further communication. Getting to meet with so many people meant I was exposed to multiple perspectives and career opportunities, as well as emphasizing the advice and experiences that everyone had in common.

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

At the PMA I learned many details about the world of museum publishing, such as the full process of editing and producing a book, helpful computer programs to know, and the main networks of freelance art editors. With Career Services, I took advantage of most of the seminars to learn how to market myself and my experiences in the job search.

How does your CEF experience benefit your future career plans?

My CEF experience solidified for me the desire to pursue museum publishing or an adjacent career, and it gave me the tools both to apply to those jobs and to have the specific publishing knowledge required. It was also a great networking opportunity, since many of the people I met offered to connect me to others or advise me in my job applications.

What was the most valuable part of your CEF experience?

Apart from the invaluable conversations I had at the PMA, I learned a lot from the seminars on creating effective LinkedIn profiles and resumes, and I was grateful for the individual feedback I was able to receive afterward from the Career Services team.

Top reason PhD students should apply to the CEF:

The CEF is great for making you feel both excited and prepared for a non-academic career!

By Jacob Myers
Jacob Myers 2021-2022 PhD Professional Development Fellow, Career Exploration Fellowship Program