AGU: Opportunities Beyond Academia

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Thinking about a career outside of academia? It can often be difficult to get help finding a job in a non-profit or government agency, within industry, or as a consultant – after all your advisor is an academic and most likely doesn’t have “first-hand knowledge.” Maybe you want to stay in academia but are interested in working as a consultant or even starting your own business. This workshop will discuss practical skills for making the transition to successful post-graduate careers (yes, there is life after the MS/PhD!). A panel of scientists with experience outside of academia will share their “lessons learned” and answer your questions about how to find and apply for jobs in policy, federal research labs, state agencies, NGOs, industry, and private enterprise. Geared towards graduate students and post-docs who are considering options outside of academia, as well as faculty who are interested; all are invited. This workshop is a partnership between the Earth Science Women’s Network and AGU Education.


The 2017 Workshop included the following panelists:

  • Ester Stzein, Assistant Director at National Academy of Sciences
  • Rachel Licker, senior climate scientist, Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Christine Wiedinmyer, Associate Director for Science at CIRES, University of Colorado, Boulder, former Scientist III at National Center for Atmospheric Research
  • Svetlana Shkolyar, Postdoctoral Fellow, Geophysical Lab, Carnegie Institution for Science
  • Karen Rosenlof, Meteorologist and Program Lead, NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory Chemical Sciences Division 
  • Gyami Shretha, Director, U.S. Carbon Cycle Science Program Office, National Coordination Office (NCO)
  • Alicia Newton, Editor at Nature Geoscience
  • Denise Hills, Program Director, Energy Investigations at Geological Survey of Alabama

The 2016 Workshop included the following panelists:

  • Melanie Harrison Okoro, environmental scientist at U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the National Marine Fisheries Service
  • Melanie Mayes, senior staff scientist and team leader, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Dawn Wright, chief scientist at ESRI
  • Yolanda Shea, physical scientist at NASA Langley Research Center
  • Teamrat A. Ghezzehei, associate professor at UC Merced, former scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • Julia Rosen, freelance science journalist
  • Matt Coleman, portfolio analyst at Nephilia Advisors, LLC
  • Zhao Liu, senior research scientist at FM Global
  • Mika McKinnon, freelance scientist and science writer
  • Nadine Schneider, research coordinator at the Excellence Cluster CliSAP in Hamburg
  • Idalia Perez, scientist, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The 2015 Workshop included the following panelists:

  • Kate Hibbert, Publisher at Elsevier
  • Alicia Newton, Senior Editor at Nature Geoscience
  • LaToya Myles, Lead Research Physical Scientist at NOAA/ARL/ATDD
  • Dawn Wright, Chief Scientist at ESRI
  • Vanessa Bailey, Deputy Division Director at Pacific Northwest National Lab
  • Benét Duncan, Associate Scientist at California Ocean Science Trust
  • Mona Behl, Director at Georgia Sea Grant College Program
  • Carolyn Wilson, Geoscience Workforce Analyst, American Geosciences Institute
  • Sarah Barrett, Earthquake Specialist, Swiss Re America Holding Corporation

The 2014 Workshop included the following panelists:

  • Kate Dennis, Product Manager, Picarro, Inc.
  • Jennifer Pett-Ridge, Research Scientist, Department of Energy Lawrence Livermore National Lab
  • Mona Behl, Research Coordinator and Climate Science Specialist Texas Sea Grant College Program, Texas A&M University
  • Jessica Thompson, Senior Geologist at ConocoPhillips
  • Julia Rosen, Freelance journalist
  • Dena Vallano, Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education Research Fellow at US Environmental Protection Agency
  • Katherine Hoag, Environmental Scientist at US EPA
  • Meredith Kurpius, Chief Air Quality Analysis Office at US EPA
  • Marcia DeLonge, Union of Concerned Scientists