Signature Career Events for Graduate Students and Postdocs

Expand Your Career Options and Employer Insights are two signature events specifically tailored to graduate students (master’s and doctoral) and postdoctoral scholars. Both event series introduce diverse career options beyond faculty positions.

Expand Your Career Options

Expand Your Career Options is a series of events featuring graduate degree level alum panelists who pursue their careers in various fields. It occurs every semester and is created with doctoral students and postdoc scholars in mind. The event series originated from a commitment that recognizes all graduate students do not go into academia, so we seek to normalize that individuals go into, and succeed in, a range of careers.

You are encouraged to browse past events and read the takeaways and recap of some of the Expand Your Career Options panels. Feel free to connect with alum speakers or panelists via LinkedIn to learn more about careers and roles. Before reaching out make sure that your LinkedIn profile is updated and allow time for people to respond. If you wish to conduct an informational interview with the speaker or panelist, you will want to inquire about a convenient time. Here is a link to an informational interview tip sheet to provide guidance with this type of conversation.

Stay tuned for the next panel session, which will occur in spring, 2023.


Past Events

November 2, 2022

Panelists:

Jillian Ives, PhD

Jillian Ives earned her PhD in Learning, Leadership, and Education Policy from UConn in May 2022. Her research focuses on equity-based teaching and learning in higher education. She has a particular interest in how to support faculty in creating more equitable learning environments for students with minoritized identities, and how students make sense of pedagogy.

Currently Dr. Ives serves as a Senior Research Associate at TERC, a non-profit STEM research and development company, where she works on NSF-funded projects on K-16 teacher development. She also serves as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at UConn, where she is the Co-PI of a four-year NSF grant to improve Latinx wo-year Hispanic Serving Institutions.

Bio at time of event, Fall 2022

Connect via LinkedIn

Preeti Srinivasan, PhD

Preeti Srinivasan is a User Experience (UX) Researcher at ServiceNow. She graduated with a PhD in Communication from the University of Connecticut in Dec. 2021. She completed two internships (at Wayfair and ServiceNow) while finishing her doctoral studies.

In her current role, Dr. Srinivasan conducts behavioral research to understand user needs, motivations, and challenges to improve experiences of digital products, collaborates with cross-functional business partners, and contributes to product strategy. She uses quantitative and qualitative research methods to conduct research along all stages of the product development lifecycle including discovery (future/new product), concept testing (early-stage prototypes), summative (late stage product feedback), evaluative (usability testing). She is a published author and frequently authors thought pieces for popular UX publications. 

Bio at time of event, Fall 2022

Connect via LinkedIn

Tanesia Beverly, PhD

Tanesia Beverly earned her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with a concentration in Research methodology, measurement, and evaluation from the University of Connecticut. Her dissertation research focused on modeling the relationship between pacing and achievement on timed tests. Currently, Dr. Beverly is a Quantitative User Researcher at a social media company. She uses survey methodology to conduct and manage quantitative consumer research.

Bio at time of event, Fall 2022

Connect via LinkedIn


Date: March 2, 2022

Highlights from the panel session


Panelists:

Elizabeth Lawner, PhD

Elizabeth Lawner is the Director of Research at the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE)and is also an independent consultant. She works remotely from Brooklyn, NY. Elizabeth was a graduate student in Social Psychology at UConn from fall 2013 through fall2017, when she earned her doctorate in psychology, along with the certificate in quantitative research methods. During her time at UConn, Elizabeth also served on the University’s Committee on Persistence of Women in STEM. Elizabeth also coauthored a research-based book for parents,

Breaking Through! Helping Girls Succeed in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, which received the 2017 Book of the Year Award, parent/caregiver category, from the National Association for Gifted Children.

Bio at time of event, Spring 2022

Connect via LinkedIn

R. Cody Hatcher

For the past 2 years, Cody Hatcher has worked for the University of Southern Maine as a Learning Designer. In this role, he is primarily responsible for all the office data collection and analysis. He also works one-on-one with faculty to develop their instructional pedagogy and design/re-design their online courses. Cody holds a MA in Educational Psychology from the University of Connecticut. He also holds a MA from Virginia Tech in Curriculum and Instruction. Currently, he is completing his PhD (ABD) in the Cognition, Instruction, and Learning Technology Program in the Department of Educational Psychology, UConn.

Bio at time of event, Spring 2022

Connect via LinkedIn

Lara Semones, PhD

Lara Semones holds a MA from University of Connecticut. She received her PhD from Vanderbilt University in Second Language Acquisition & Applied Linguistics. She joined the faculty as Director of Intensive French Language program at University of Richmond in 2000. In 2001, she joined the editorial team at Thompson Learning where she was later promoted to Executive Editor. At Cengage, she is the Senior Product Manager in the World Languages division, responsible for delivering products in the higher education space. As such, she defines the product lifecycle including the print and technology vision, road map of customer research, prioritization of functionality, and the activities among engineering, sales, and marketing.

Bio at time of event, Spring 2022

Connect via LinkedIn

October 28, 2021

Highlights of the panel session

Panelists:

Jessie Rack, PhD

Jessie Rack is an ecologist, environmental educator, and naturalist passionate about communicating how the world works. She earned her PhD in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from the University of Connecticut in 2016, for which she studied antipredator adaptations of salamander larvae across a geographic scale.

In her career, Jessie has interned as a science journalist for NPR, worked as a writing professor at Princeton University, and been certified as an Arizona Master Naturalist. In 2019, Jessie was named an AAAS IF/THEN Ambassador; one of 125 women scientists in the country chosen to be high-profile role models for girls in science. 

Currently, Jessie lives in Prescott, AZ, where she works as Program Director for the Natural History Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to the integration of science, art, and the humanities.

Bio at time of event, Fall 2021

Connect via LinkedIn

Justin Mahalak, PhD

Justin Mahalak graduated with a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from University of Connecticut in 2018, where he concentrated on the cognition of distrust and its implications for public health.

He is now the Data and Quality Analyst for the National Service Office for Nurse Family Partnership and Child First, having worked for the organization since 2019. He resides in Hamden, CT with his wife and son.

Bio at time of event, Fall 2021

Connect via LinkedIn

February 25, 2021

Highlights of the panel session

Panelists:

Annie Gentile

Annie Gentile is a Senior Consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton’s Civilian Health Team. Her current work focuses on supporting CMS in increasing patient and provider access to electronic health information.

Annie first discovered her love of political theory and government function in her courses at UConn. She further developed a passion for improving government service delivery and streamlining processes through an internship with Governor Lamont and from her time studying policy at the Harris Graduate School of Public Policy.

Bio at time of event, Spring 2021

Connect via LinkedIn

Ethan Sarnoski, PhD

Ethan Sarnoski is currently an Engagement Manager with McKinsey & Company’s Pittsburgh office, where he develops growth strategy for life science clients.

Prior to joining McKinsey, Ethan completed a PhD in molecular biology at Yale University, and a B.S. in Pathobiology at UConn. He is passionate about transformative innovation in medicine and will talk your ear off about longevity therapeutics if you get him started.

Bio at time of event, Spring 2021

Connect via LinkedIn

October 22, 2020

Highlights from the panel session

Panelists:

Cathy Buerger, PhD

Cathy Buerger is the Director of Research at the Dangerous Speech Project (DSP), a Washington, DC-based NGO that studies the relationship between speech and violence.

Cathy holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Connecticut, where her research examined the strategies Ghanaian civil society activists used to uphold human rights in their community.

Her current research at the DSP focuses on civil society responses to dangerous and hateful speech online.  She is a Research Affiliate of the University of Connecticut’s Economic and Social Rights Research Group, Managing Editor of the Journal of Human Rights, and an Editor for the Teaching Human Rights Database.

Bio at time of event, Fall 2020

Connect via LinkedIn

Rucha Londhe, PhD

Rucha Londhe is an experienced human development specialist and researcher with a demonstrated history of working in education and health industries. She is skilled in program evaluation, data analysis and reporting, grant and proposal writing, project management, and community outreach.

Rucha graduated with a Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies from University of Connecticut in 2006 and currently serves as a Senior Research Associate in the Social and Economic Policy Division with Abt Associates in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

In her 15+ years’ experience of conducting research and evaluation, she has worked closely with multiple populations including immigrants and Native American Tribes.

Bio at time of event, Fall 2020

Connect via LinkedIn

February 20, 2020

Panelists:

Allison Horrocks, PhD

Allison Horrocks is a Park Ranger at Lowell National Historical Park (Lowell, MA). Allison earned a Ph.D. in History from the University of Connecticut in 2016. Before, during, and after graduate school, Allison has worked at a range of house museums and historic sites in New England. Since 2019, Allison has served as the co-host of the podcast American Girls. 

Bio at time of event, Spring 2020

Connect via LinkedIn

Yazmin Argen Garcfa Trejo, PhD

Yazmin Garcfa Trejo currently works at the U.S. Census Bureau. She is a social science researcher at the Center for Survey Measurement with a team studying language, social marketing and cross-cultural aspects of survey methodology among hard to count populations. Yazmin graduated from the University of Connecticut with specializations in comparative politics and American politics and two M.A. degrees on survey research and Latin American studies.

Bio at time of event, Spring 2020

Connect via LinkedIn

October 29, 2019

Speaker:

Weixing Zhang, PhD

Weixing Zhang received his B.E. degree in 2012 from China University of Geosciences in Wuhan, and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Connecticut in 2015 and 2018. He is currently a Research Associate at Connecticut Transportation Safety Research Institute. In addition, he is an adjunct professor teaching a graduate course “GIS in Transportation” at UConn.

Bio at time of event, Fall 2019

Connect via LinkedIn

March 6, 2019

Speaker:

Adriana Mackler

Adriana Mackler is an advanced student in the Spanish Ph.D. program at UConn, finalizing her dissertation on translation in Argentinean literature. She is also a language instructor at Avon Old Farms School in Connecticut, where she teaches Spanish. She holds a B.A. degree in education and second language teaching from her home country, Argentina. At a high-school level, she continues to teach Spanish classes with a strong cultural component, at the intersection of literature and other disciplines.

Bio at time of event, Spring 2019

Connect via LinkedIn

October 17, 2018

Speaker:

Sarah Bois, PhD

Sarah Bois is the Director of Research and Education for the Linda Loring Nature Foundation on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts.

Sarah received her PhD from the Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UConn where her research focused on invasive plant distributions in New England and efforts to prioritize species

management. Sarah manages 108 acres of conservation land. Her position marries her interests in research, stewardship, and education where she leverages research experiences into educational opportunities.

Bio at time of event, Fall 2018

Connect via LinkedIn

February 20, 2018

Panelists:

Brian Rockwood, PhD

Brian Rockwood is the Associate Registrar at the University of Connecticut. As part of his duties he oversees the conferral of degrees and certificates, the production of the University’s catalogs, and the implementation of many university software applications. Prior to becoming an Associate Registrar, he received his PhD from the Department of Philosophy at the University of Connecticut in 2009.

Bio at time of event, Spring 2018

Connect via LinkedIn

Jessica McBride, PhD

Jessica McBride is Manager of Research Communications in UConn’s Office of the Vice President for Research. She is responsible for developing and implementing internal and external communications for the OVPR and covers research at UConn and UConn Health. She earned a PhD in French Literature in December 2017.

Bio at time of event, Spring 2018

Connect via LinkedIn

Renée Gilberti, PhD

Renée M. Gilberti is the Program Coordinator of the UConn McNair Scholars Program within the Center for Academic Programs. In her current role, she is responsible for educating and mentoring underprivileged and underrepresented college students in preparation for the rigors of graduate school. She earned her Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology from UConn in 2011.

Bio at time of event, Spring 2018

Connect via LinkedIn

November 9, 2017

Speaker:

Barret Kartuna, PhD

Barret Kartuna received her PhD in Sociology at UConn. She got involved in a range of academic and professional experiences that made her a strong candidate to become the executive director of a nonprofit.

Bio at time of event, Fall 2017

Connect with LinkedIn

Employer Insights

Employer Insights occurs once or twice in a semester. Employer speakers introduce their roles, corporate culture and values, hiring process, and share career tips and advice. This event provides a platform for graduate students and postdocs to connect with employers, learning how to be a competitive job applicant at companies with an interest in hiring UConn graduate students.

Employers featured in past events include: