Beyond the ivory tower: Non-academic careers in the life sciences

November 27, 2014 from 7-9pm at IRMACS


A panel of recent Ecology PhD grads tell it like it is: the motivations, challenges, and rewards of venturing out of academia + a lively Q&A session with the audience + a lightly catered social mixer

Who’s on the panel?

Dr Brendan Connors

Senior Systems Ecology, ESSA Technologies

Dr Lesley Evans-Ogden

Freelance science journalist (Contributor at BBC, New Scientist, Natural History, BioScience, Earth Touch News)

Dr Valeria Vergara

Research Associate, Vancouver Aquarium

Dr Nathan Woodbury

Senior Research Entomologist, Terramera PlantScience

Who should attend?

Anyone doing an MSc or PhD or post-doc in the life sciences who is slightly anxious or excited about the next chapter of life...

When and where?

IRMACS Presentation Studio, Thursday 27 November, 19h00 – 21h00


Doctoral degrees were historically designed to train students for academic research positions. However, while the number of PhDs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) awarded in North America has steadily increased over the past 30 years, the proportion of PhD graduates who secure academic positions has steadily declined.  Graduate training now needs to be much broader to increase the potential range of employment opportunities for PhD students.  Sure, there are now ‘general skills’ courses in many departments, which go some way towards better preparing PhD graduates for life outside academe, but it doesn’t address the fact that many PhD students and post-doctoral researchers view pursuing a non-academic career as settling for second best.  It’s also not easy for students and post-docs to identify potential career paths outside academia.  Our goal  with this event is to give grad students and post-doctoral researchers in the life sciences an opportunity to ‘deprogram from the academic cult’, that is to learn about alternatives to conventional academic paths and how these are valid and fulfilling career choices.

Brought to you by: The Biological Sciences DGSC, with SCORE funding from the Dean of Graduate Studies’ Office.

Presentations will be followed by an audience-driven panel discussion and a lightly catered social mixer.