PhD Career Exploration Fellow Spotlight: Amruthesh Thirumalaiswamy (Hosted by Center for Teaching and Learning)

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. Amruthesh Thirumalaiswamy, a PhD candidate in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, was placed as a Fellow with the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL). Read about Amruthesh’s experience in the CEF below!

Describe your experience working with your host:

Dr. Ian Petrie at the Center for Teaching and Learning at Penn was a wonderful host. I had a great experience learning from Ian, who was very accessible and candid about his own experiences in the field. He was very flexible with his meeting times, and was very accommodating about any hybrid meeting requirements. He frequently took time out from his busy schedule to connect me with other professionals in the field and provide other relevant resources. Overall, I had a very fruitful time interacting and learning from him and others at CTL.

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

My time at CTL provided me with a comprehensive overview of teaching opportunities in higher education. At the same time, in discussions with my host and other professionals I connected with, I learnt about the many different teaching and learning strategies employed in present-day STEM education. Informational interviews with instructors and others involved with active learning furthered my interest in pursuing opportunities with a strong teaching component. Lastly, the CEF experience has provided me with a great breadth of resources to assist my job search.

How does your CEF experience benefit your future career plans?

It was an excellent way for me to explore my interests in pursuing positions with a teaching component. Apart from the many resources, talking to many professionals in the field has provided me with a great network of individuals in the field.

What was the most valuable part of your CEF experience?

The most valuable parts for me were the different workshops and informational interviews facilitated by CEF. The workshops were a great way to improve my professional preparedness (resume, interviews, etc.). On the other hand, the informational interviews were a great way to network with professionals and learn more about the different career paths in the field.

Top reason PhD students should apply to the CEF:

CEF is a great way to explore different career paths and prepare yourself for the job search and application process. I would strongly recommend PhD students to apply for CEF and use the many different resources available through Career Services.

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