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PhD Pathways 2024

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PhD Pathways returns on March 14, 2024!

PhD Pathways is an all-day career exploration experience for Stanford PhD students and postdocs. At Pathways, you will have the opportunity to explore careers beyond academia in community with other PhD students and postdocs from across the university by attending panels, workshops, and more. Pathways is your opportunity to connect with PhD alums and your classmates, discover how the skills you’ve gained in graduate school translate to non-faculty careers, learn how to navigate the career exploration process, and devise advance your journey at Stanford and beyond!

By attending PhD Pathways, you will be able to:

  • Identify 1-3 career fields available to PhDs outside academia
  • Articulate 1-3 ways that your skills can translate to careers beyond academia
  • Identify 1-3 next steps to develop your skills and refine your interests to advance towards your career goals
  • Build confidence in your ability to approach people to discuss their careers 

PhD Pathways will be held on Thursday, March 14, 2024, from 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. at the Arrillaga Alumni Center. Please note that attendees are expected to commit to attending the full day of events.

Registration Information

Registration for PhD Pathways 2024 is now closed.
Pre-registration for PhD Pathways is required. If you did not register for the event, you are not permitted to attend.

If you have any questions about registration, or if you have already registered and have questions about your registration and deposit, please contact Sal Cipriano at

Google Site

Login to the PhD Pathways google site to read panelist and presenter bios and access resources and information to help you make the most of your Pathways 2024 experience!

PhD Pathways Google Site
Stanford login required.

Program Schedule

Check back regularly as more detailed information, including panelist and presenter info, is added!

PhD Pathways includes several plenary activities and four concurrent sessions scheduled throughout the day. Choose from a range of opportunities to explore different industries and job roles, learn how to apply your skills to careers beyond academia, and gain insight into career topics to help you navigate your career journey. 

9:00-9:15 a.m. | Opening Remarks
Yi-Ching Ong, PhD ‘10, Microbiology and Immunology - Executive Director, Haas Center for Public Service

9:15-10:00 a.m. | Prime Your Mind Opening Plenary Activity
Pathways will open with an interactive and reflective session to help you identify your professional curiosities, meet fellow attendees, and make a starting plan for the day.

  • Confirmed Presenters:
    • Urmila Venkatesh, Lecturer and Fellow, Stanford Life Design Lab
    • Dustin Liu, Lecturer and Fellow, Stanford Life Design Lab

10:10-11:10 a.m. | Session 1

  • Industry Panel: Research and Engineering Beyond Academia
    Hear from a panel of PhDs pursuing scientific research and engineering careers in various sectors beyond academia, including for-profit industry and government.
    • Confirmed panelists:
      • Leslie Koyoma, PhD ‘19, Developmental Biology - Confocal Sales Specialist, Leica Microsystems
      • Alaina Strickler, PhD ‘19, Chemical Engineering - Staff Materials Engineer, Tesla
      • Joanna Lee, PhD ‘12, Biological Sciences - Principal Scientist, Genentech
      • Anjali Shastri, PhD ‘14, Immunology - Senior Program Manager II, 23andMe
  • Industry Panel: Business and Consulting
    Learn from a panel of PhDs from various disciplines as they share their insights on working in management consulting, finance, business, entrepreneurship, and more.
    • Confirmed panelists:
      • Weiwei Wu, PhD ‘18, Chemistry - Senior Manager, Bain and Company
      • Imran Ozer, PhD ‘21 (Duke), Biomedical Engineering - Project Leader, BCG
      • Alicia Levey, PhD ‘08, Cancer Biology - Venture Partner, Versant Ventures
      • Ming Cheah, PhD ‘14, Immunology and Oncology - Vice President - Life Sciences Investing, Goldman Sachs
  • Interactive Case Study: Running Your Own Nonprofit
    Want to tackle a critical issue facing your community and help those who need it most? In this session, delve into the world of nonprofits and pitch an idea for your own nonprofit organization with a mission and plan to make a difference.
    • Confirmed presenter:
      • Alessandra Aquilanti, PhD ‘15, Italian Literature - Development Director, Music@Menlo
  • Workshop: Centering YOU on the Job Search
    What pivotal moments have impacted your engagement in the world? In this session, take the time to reflect on what is important to you, your strengths, and the impact you want to have. As you approach your job search process, being grounded in your identities and values will pave the way to making informed decisions in your career.
    • Confirmed presenters:
      • Jenny Roxas - Associate Director, Belonging, Access, and Career Equity, Stanford Career Education
      • Miguel Jimenez - Assistant Director, Belonging, Access, and Career Equity, Stanford Career Education
  • Panel: AI, Your Career, and the World of Work
    What will generative AI’s impact be on your future career? How can it be used to explore and prepare for careers? Learn the answers to these questions and more at this panel.
    • Confirmed panelists:
      • Luca Vendraminelli, PhD ‘21 (Padova), Management Science and Engineering - Research Fellow, Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence
      • Christina Langer, PhD ‘23 (KU Eichstätt-Ingolstadt), Economics - Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford Digital Economy Lab
      • Xiaotang Huang - Director, Employer Relations and Outcomes, Stanford Career Education

11:20 a.m.-12:20 p.m. | Session 2

  • Industry Panel: Big Tech
    Join a group of PhDs working in various technical and non-technical roles in Big Tech. Learn about the pathways available and what it’s like to transition from the PhD to the tech world.
    • Confirmed panelists:
      • Monica Bhole, PhD ‘17, Economics - Research Scientist, Facebook
      • Whitney Trump, PhD ‘15, English and American Literature - Director, Head of Content Design, WhatsApp
      • Lindsay Oishi, PhD ‘12, Educational Psychology - Senior Product Manager, Indeed
      • Toby Sachs-Quintana, PhD ‘14, Materials Science and Engineering - Software Engineer, NVIDIA
  • Industry Panel: Arts and Education
    Learn from a panel of PhDs who have forged various careers in the arts and education, including museums, higher education, K-12, and performance groups.
    • Confirmed panelists:
      • Melissa Ko, PhD ‘18, Cancer Biology - Assessment and Curriculum Specialist, UC Berkeley
      • Karen Rapp, PhD ‘09, Art History - Deputy Director, San José Museum of Art
      • Kaneez Munjee, PhD ‘11, Musicology - Managing Director, Young Women’s Choral Projects
      • Joanne Tien, PhD ‘19, Education - Director, RAISE Doctoral Program, Stanford VPGE
  • Interactive Case Study: Product Management
    This workshop will be an interactive introduction to product management. We'll start with a quick overview of what product management can look like in different settings, what skills are often involved, and what aspects of the PhD are often especially cross-applicable. Participants will then break out into groups to try on some of the key activities that product managers are often responsible for, including identifying customer needs and prioritizing product features.
    • Confirmed presenter:
      • Jen Wang, PhD ‘18, E-IPER - Chief Product Officer,
  • Panel: Experiential Learning to Explore Careers
    Internships, volunteering, service, and more–there are many ways to explore careers beyond academia. Learn from a panel of current Stanford PhD students and alums who have embarked on diverse opportunities to gain experience in roles beyond academia.
    • Confirmed panelists:
      • Brandon Reynante, PhD ‘23, Learning Sciences and Technology Design - Director of Community Engaged Learning, Haas Center for Public Service
      • Cody Chun, PhD ‘22, English - Content Strategist, Meta
      • Robert Hennessy, PhD ‘12, Electrical Engineering - Director, MEMS Design, TDK-InvenSense
  • Panel: From Postdoc to Industry
    What does it look like to transition from a postdoc to industry? How do you make the jump? Join a panel of former Stanford postdocs as they share their experiences and insight on transitioning from academic postdocs to industry careers. 
    • Confirmed panelists:
      • Joey Nelson, PhD ‘17, Geological and Environmental Sciences - Manager, Research Sciences, Heirloom
      • Chiara Bertipaglia, PhD ‘15 (Heidelberg), Biochemistry - Associate Director of Programs and Training, Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute
      • Jess Ross, PhD ‘17 (Cincinnati), Anesthesiology - Senior Government Affairs Lead, Unlearn.AI
      • Eric Daza, DrPH ‘15 (UNC), Biostatistics - Lead Biostatistician (Data Science), Evidation

12:30-1:30 p.m. | Networking Lunch
Connect, network, and learn from alums, professionals, and staff in informal conversations over lunch.

1:30-2:00 p.m. | Afternoon Plenary Activity
After lunch, we will reconvene as a group to reflect on what you learned in the first half of the day, identify new questions and ideas, and chart a path for the second half of the day.

2:10-3:10 p.m. | Session 3

  • Industry Panel: Data Science Across Industries
    What do data scientists do? Where do they work? Join a panel of PhDs working in data science across various industries to learn about their work and experiences.
    • Confirmed panelists:
      • Tanvi Chheda, PhD ‘20, Geology - Data Scientist, Google
      • Joshua Yim, PhD ‘20, Chemical and Systems Biology - Data Science External Innovation, J&J Innovative Medicine
      • Jae Yeon Kim, PhD ‘21 (UC Berkeley), Political Science - Senior Data Scientist, Safety Net Innovations Program, Code for America
      • Glenn Davis, PhD ‘22, Learning Sciences and Technology Design - Senior Data Scientist, Walmart
  • Industry Panel: Nonprofit, Policy, and Government
    PhDs work in various roles across the nonprofit, public policy, and government sectors. Hear from a panel of PhDs from a variety of disciplines working in these fields.
    • Confirmed panelists:
      • Neil Tangri, PhD ‘18, Climate Science - Science and Policy Director, GAIA
      • Rachel Wright, PhD ‘15, Sociology - Major Gifts Officer, Jewish Family and Children's Services
      • George Wang, PhD ‘09, Biology - Co-Founder and Director, SIRUM
      • Elsa Billings, PhD ‘04, Education - Senior Program Associate, WestEd
  • Interactive Case Study: UX Research
    In this interactive case study, you will gain insight into what it’s like to be a UX researcher. You will apply your research, organizational, and communication skills to work on a project.
    • Confirmed presenter:
      • Pushpinder Lubana, PhD ‘99 (UMass), Anthropology - Executive Director, JP Morgan Chase
  • Panel: Navigating the Job Search as an International Student
    Finding and securing non-faculty jobs in the U.S. as an international PhD student or postdoc presents unique complexities and challenges. Learn from a panel of international PhDs as they share their experiences and insights navigating the job search.
    • Confirmed panelists:
      • Gabriela Badica, PhD ‘20, Iberian and Latin American Culture - Associate Director, Communications, Stanford GSB
      • Fengjiao Lyu, PhD ‘19, Mechanical Engineering - Senior Data Scientist, Doordash
      • Mufan Luo, PhD ‘21, Communication - Sr. UX Researcher, Amazon Web Services
  • Panel: The Intersection of Identity, Experience, and the World of Work
    PhD alums from diverse backgrounds will tell their stories about their experiences, including the transition to their careers and how they navigate the workplace. This panel creates an intentional space for conversations about identity and the workplace and celebrates the diversity of our community.
    • Confirmed panelists:
      • Jeremy Feaster, PhD ‘17, Chemical Engineering - Research Staff Scientist, Principal Investigator, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
      • Rachel Gillum, PhD ‘14, Political Science - Vice President, Ethical and Humane Use of Technology, Salesforce
      • Julie Huang, PhD ‘16, Microbiology and Immunology - Staff Scientist, Alector

3:20-4:20 p.m. | Session 4

  • Industry Panel: Green Careers
    Hear from a panel of PhDs from a range of disciplines who have forged careers in various roles and sectors focused on sustainability.
    • Confirmed panelists:
      • Charlotte Stanton, PhD ‘14, Sustainability - Public and Environmental Health, Google
      • Rachel Engstrand, PhD ‘21, E-IPER - Applied Science Team Lead, Pachama
      • Ekin Gozen, PhD ‘13, Energy Resource Engineering - Portfolio Strategy Manager, Savion
      • Andrew Peterman, PhD ‘06, Civil and Environmental Engineering - Director, Renewable Energy, Rivian
  • Industry Panel: Start-Ups
    Learn from PhDs who work in different roles at start-ups that focus on various areas, including social impact.
    • Confirmed panelists:
      • Danielle Green, PhD ‘23, Education - People Operations, Coactive AI
      • Lauren Vallez, PhD ‘23, Mechanical Engineering - Senior Mechanical Engineer, Fourier
      • Soren Rosier, PhD ‘20, Learning Science and Technology Design - Founder and CEO, PeerTeach
      • Shailendra Rao, PhD ‘10, Communication - Head of Product & Design, Codex Health
  • Interactive Case Study: Applied Research Thinking and Communication in Data Science
    A large California public college is losing students at a rapid pace—can they use data science to turn the situation around? During the workshop, you will learn how you can apply your research skills to solve this real-world problem. Walk away knowing how to refine vague problem statements, approach challenges with a data-driven framework, and communicate solutions that drive action.
    • Confirmed presenters:
      • Derek Chang, PhD ‘14, Electrical Engineering - Founding Partner, Stratus Data
      • Charles Pensig - Founding Partner, Stratus Data
      • Rachel Grant, PhD ‘22, Biology - Data Scientist, Stratus Data
  • Panel: Navigating the Job Search as an International Student (repeat of previous session)
    Finding and securing non-faculty jobs in the U.S. as an international PhD student or postdoc presents unique complexities and challenges. Learn from a panel of international PhDs as they share their experiences and insights navigating the job search.
    • Confirmed panelists:
      • Gabriela Badica, PhD ‘20, Iberian and Latin American Culture - Associate Director, Communications, Stanford GSB
      • Fengjiao Lyu, PhD ‘19, Mechanical Engineering - Senior Data Scientist, Doordash
      • Mufan Luo, PhD ‘21, Communication - Sr. UX Researcher, Amazon Web Services
  • Workshop: Learning to Surf the Waves: Navigating Uncertainty on the Job Search
    In this workshop, you will learn how to navigate uncertainty, address your worries and concerns, and move forward with resilience and courage as you explore careers. You will leave feeling confident in managing moments of uncertainty and ambiguity in your careers.
    • Confirmed presenters:
      • Donnovan Yisrael - Senior Health Educator, Mental Health and Well Being, Vaden Health Services
      • Angela Estrella - Wellbeing Coach, Graduate Life Office

4:30-5:00 p.m. | Closing Reflection and Next Steps
The day will end with a chance to reflect on the day’s activities and identify actionable next steps that will allow you to maintain momentum in your exploration and advance your career journey.

PhD Pathways conference with group of students with hands raised
PhD Pathways speaker in conversation

PhD Pathways Panel Recordings

Between 2020 and 2022, we recorded virtual panels featuring PhD alums who have forged careers beyond academia, in sectors from entrepreneurship, to government, to data science, to writing, and more. Go to the PhD Pathways Panel Recordings.

panel and audience