Interviews with Alumni
Kurt Reynertson is a graduate of the Biology PhD Program at the Graduate Center. He is now Manager of Regulatory & Stewardship Policy at Johnson & Johnson.
Marian Díaz-Wionczek earned her PhD from the psychology program at the Graduate Center. She is Principal at MDW Consulting & Research, a consulting firm for children's educational media and technology.
Delia Mellis is the Director of Program and Faculty Development for the Bard Prison Initiative and an alum of the Graduate Center's PhD Program in History.
Ma Sha is head of the bioprocess application labs at Eppendorf, a biotech company that develops products for laboratories around the world. He earned his PhD from the biochemistry program at the Graduate Center.
Devora Geller received her PhD in musicology from the Graduate Center. She is the Digital Preservation Manager at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.
Denys Katerenchuk is a Senior Data Scientist at IBM and a PhD candidate in the Graduate Center's Program in Computer Science.
Allannah Karas earned her PhD in Classics from the Graduate Center. She is an Assistant Professor at Valparaiso University in Indiana. In this episode of Alumni Aloud, Allannah talks about her position at Valparaiso and the benefits of working in a small private university. She also lays out some of her strategies from the job search and her tips for networking as a new junior faculty member.
Jonathan Hill is an Excelsior Fellow in the policy and planning department at the New York State department of transportation. Jonathan earned his PhD in history at the Graduate Center in 2018. In this episode of Alumni Aloud, Jon tells us about the joys of using research skills to make an impact on civic infrastructure; the surprising benefits of asking quote-unquote stupid questions; and how to negotiate the changing terms of your professional identity when you carry your PhD to work outside the ivory tower.
Elida Jbeili earned her Masters in Middle Eastern Studies from the Graduate Center. She is Director of Communications and Media at Lebanese American University for North America. In this episode of Alumni Aloud, Elida talks about the various benefits of working in a nonprofit and how her career has developed as she's moved between different organizations.
Michelle McSweeney is director of data quality at Converseon, a social media analytics and consulting agency. Michelle earned her PhD in linguistics at the Graduate Center in 2016. In this episode of Alumni Aloud, Michelle tells us about how to negotiate a job offer and earn what you’re really worth; the rewards and drawbacks of shifting your professional identity after academia; and how following your interests—even when they might seem incompatible at face value—can ultimately empower and even transform the value of your work and help you stand out on the job market.
Astrid Rodriguez earned her PhD in educational psychology from the Graduate Center. She currently works at NYU managing Student Success initiatives in Enrollment Management. In this episode of Alumni Aloud, Astrid talks about the importance of enrollment management efforts in pursuing universities' missions. She also discusses how an administrative position in higher education can be rewarding for graduates who want to have a positive impact on students' lives.
Lisa Tagliaferri is a postdoctoral fellow in MIT's digital humanities program. She earned her PhD in the comparative literature program at the GC in 2017, and she spent several years outside academia working as a community manager and developer educator at the cloud computing company Digital Ocean. In this episode of Alumni Aloud, Lisa tells us about the value of tapping into personal interests that can lead you down seemingly divergent paths, but that can ultimately enrich your academic and professional work in unexpected ways; how to bridge education and advocacy work through radical mentorship; and the advantages of applying your research skills to exploring the wide world of job opportunities beyond academia.
Jay Blair is assistant professor of geography and anthropology at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona. Jay earned his PhD in the anthropology program at the GC, before taking a Mellon public fellowship with the American Council for Learned Societies. His ACLS fellowship placed him with an environmental advocacy nonprofit organization, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). In this episode, Jay talks about the pro's and con's of applying your research skills in a nonprofit organization; how to tell your professional story in ways that let you bridge academic research and advocacy work; and why the constraints of an unpredictable academic job market might actually push you to rediscover passions and skills you might have sidelined during your PhD.
Carolyn Neuhaus is a research scholar at the Hastings Center, the oldest independent, nonpartisan, interdisciplinary research institute in the world. She earned her PhD in Philosophy from the Graduate Center. In this episode of Alumni Aloud, Carolyn talks about the journey through her PhD program, the opportunities that were most beneficial to her career development, and the beginnings of her career in bioethics research.
Stacey Donohue is a professor in the Writing and Literature department at Central Oregon Community College. She earned her PhD in English at the Graduate Center in 1995. In this episode of Alumni Aloud, Stacey talks about the importance of enjoying teaching and mentoring students if you’re applying to teach at community college; the subtle art of being adaptable to the needs of a diverse student body; and the value of getting some experience in university administration while you’re in graduate school.
Chris Meatto is an alumnus of the Graduate Center's MALS program. His concentration was digital humanities with a focus in history. He teaches history and global studies at Greens Farms Academy, an independent school in Connecticut. In this episode of Alumni Aloud, Chris sheds light on the hiring process of independent schools and explains what he enjoys most about developing curriculum, working with teenagers, and collaborating with fellow teachers.
Chang Chung earned his PhD in environmental psychology at the Graduate Center in 2013. He recently left his job as a researcher specializing in program evaluation and policy research for the FDNY Foundation, the nonprofit arm of the Fire Department of New York. In this episode of Alumni Aloud, Chang talks about the value of trying out unexpected things during your PhD program, the similarities and differences between academic research and working for a nonprofit, and the importance of being able to translate your research into actionable insights to make an impact in your chosen field of work.
Avalon Garcia is a senior medical writer for Evolution Medical Communications, a consulting firm that crafts communication and educational materials for pharmaceutical companies and the patients and healthcare staff they serve. Avalon earned her PhD in 2008 in biochemistry from Hunter College and the GC. In this episode of Alumni Aloud, Avalon talks about the importance of inviting feedback on your work, the value of getting started early in your job search, and how to cultivate those all-important mindsets of lifelong learning and collaboration that will help you thrive in your new working life.
Mike Pino is the global learning partner for Cognizant, a fortune-200 IT services and business process outsourcing company based in New Jersey. He’s responsible for setting the learning curriculum for 40,000 employees who work in data analytics, artificial intelligence, programming, and digital engineering that keeps them up-to-date with today’s digital trends. Mike earned his PhD in English from the Graduate Center in 2004. In this episode, Mike tells us about and the importance of pursuing learning outside your PhD discipline, the breakthrough insights you can gain by applying your academic interests and training in business contexts, and the importance of conveying your value to companies in ways they can understand and appreciate.
Bren Cavallo earned his PhD in Mathematics from the Graduate Center. He's a data scientist at M Science, a data-driven research and analytics firm that uses unconventional data sets to uncover strategic insights on trends for leading financial institutions and corporations. In this episode of Alumni Aloud, Bren talks about the similarities and differences between data science and academic research; how agile design sprints can enhance your productivity; and the benefits of taking a bootcamp to sharpen your skills and work portfolio for emerging tech jobs where credentials are always evolving.