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Career Resources


University of Utah Career Services provides many resources for the job search and career planning.  Check out their online resources, including free access to CareerShift, an online service helping you find networking opportunities.

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Science magazine’s “Individual Development Plan” is a free service aimed at helping scientists in career planning. Questionnaires about your skills, interests, and values will match you to careers options and provide links and resources for each career.

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Another Science magazine resource with articles on a variety of different science career paths and current science career trends.




Career Development Training Series (CaDeTs)








2021-22 CaDeTS

You have conquered your experiments, mastered techniques, and crushed your data analysis… now it’s time to tell your story to the world!  It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the idea of sharing complex scientific ideas with an audience. Add to that the anxiety many people experience when they have to speak publicly, and it’s no wonder that so many people dread presenting their research in class, at conferences, or even in casual settings. Drawing on theatre practices, this introductory talk offers several practical techniques that will help anyone improve their presentation skills and their ability to communicate science in a variety of settings. No acting required!

About our Guest Speaker:

Sydney Cheek-O’Donnell is Chair and Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre and Associate Dean for Research in the College of Fine Arts at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, where she teaches new play development, dramaturgy, theatre history, theory, and criticism, and dramatic literature.

Dr. Cheek-O’Donnell’s current research focuses on the application of theatre techniques in non-traditional places, like healthcare settings and STEM education. She is Principle Investigator, with Dr. Gretchen A. Case, on a randomized controlled trial to assess the effectiveness of a rehearsal framework to improve the interpersonal communication skills of medical learners. This study is funded by a Research Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. In addition, Dr. Cheek-O’Donnell regularly collaborates with multidisciplinary teams at the NIH-funded Utah Center for Excellence in ELSI Research (UCEER) to leverage the arts—particularly theatre and storytelling—in the creation of health education and support materials for women and families. Previously, she worked with a multidisciplinary team led by Dr. Nalini Nadkarni and funded through the National Science Foundation to explore using theatre, narrative, and ecological restoration as tools to shift the way people see themselves in relation to science, technology, engineering, and math. Dr. Cheek-O’Donnell recently published a title in Emerald Insight’s Arts for Health Series: Theatre (2021).

Before her turn to applied theatre, she served as a dramaturg on more than 20 professional productions in the United States. Dr. Cheek-O’Donnell earned a PhD in Theatre History and Dramatic Criticism from the University of Washington’s School of Drama in 2004, and received her undergraduate degree from Carleton College in Minnesota.

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Albert Einstein once said, "You don't really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother."

Who doesn’t like a great (scientific) story?!”  Let's talk SCIENTIFIC WRITING! In this fast-moving world, it is not only important to do experiments but also communicate them effectively to the world. Effective communication does not stop at publishing manuscripts but also involves obtaining more funding to advance your research, & help the public understand the importance of science (maybe even convince some of them to get vaccinated!). Do you want to know the tools & nuances of effective communication through writing? Come listen to the three incredible panelists who will tell you about some effective ways to communicate your research to the reviewers as well as the public!


Kami McNeill – Pre-Award Director at the SVPHS Office. She started the central SVPHS Pre-Award Office 7 years ago, and more recently a similar office for the VPR’s Office. Both teams provide administrative pre-award support for researchers at all career levels. She is here to give us insights into the tips and tricks of proposal preparation to submission.

Dana Carroll, a distinguished professor in Biochemistry. His research between 1996 and 2018 was largely focused on the technology and applications of genome editing. I closed my lab in 2018, but I continue to teach medical and graduate students and to be involved in the genome editing space in various ways, including the societal implications of this powerful technology.

Kristen A. Keefe, Professor & Associate Dean, Faculty Affairs. Dr. Keefe's research in the area of neuropsychopharmacology. Her lab seeks to understand the normal and pathological functions of the basal ganglia as related to disease states such as substance use disorders and Parkinson's disease. The ultimate goal of our research is to improve the efficacy of pharmacotherapies to treat these disorders, in particular substance use disorders.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”  -Benjamin Franklin

We are ALL Project Managers who make difficult decisions every day.  But what makes some projects more of a priority than others? How do we know when to finally call it quits on an experiment? Where do we even begin to organize our lives? Learning how to manage your projects, mentees, your lab, your budget, or even just your personal time is essential for your professional development and well-being. 

Come listen & learn about the Do’s and Don’ts of Successful Project Management!  Our wonderful panelists from a diverse range of career stages and paths will help bring together different methods & best practices on how to effectively manage projects & people. Come take away new skillsets and tools to enhance your own careers.


Dr. Adam Hughes, Professor, Department of Biochemistry

Dr. Natalia Torres, Postdoctoral Fellow, CVRTI

Dr. Sara Salmon, Program Manager, SVPHS Research Unit at the University of Utah

You know you have done your best as a Mentor when your Students do better than you.

You know how Luke learned to use the Force? Great mentors!

How do I find a good mentor? How do I mentor? These questions have plagued every student as they begin graduate school and as they advance through their career. We really need to talk to some masters. Fortunately, we have gathered a panel of mentors from science and beyond who have each been recognized with the University's Distinguished Mentor Award. Come ready to glean insights from their collective knowledge and leave with the knowledge you need to use the Force and Get your (Mentor)Ship Together!


Carol S. Lim PhD, Professor, Dept. of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, HCI Member, Executive Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education

Laurence Parker PhD, Interim chair, Department of Educational Leadership & Policy.

Pearl Sandick PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Physics & Astronomy Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, College of Science

Joseph Yost PhD, Richard L. Stimson Presidential Endowed Chair, Vice Chairman for Basic Science Research, Department of Pediatrics, Investigator, Molecular Medicine Program (U2M2), Professor of Neurobiology, and Pediatrics 

"If stress burned calories, I’d be a supermodel."

Got STRESS?  Is stress making you feel like you’re teetering on the edge of (in)sanity? Are you struggling to deal with precariously balancing school, lab work, and COVID restrictions (again)? Does fatigue haunt you throughout the day?  The CaDeTS team has partnered up with the Mindfulness Center to bring you a mindfulness workshop, discussing mental health during graduate school. These practical coping skills and advice will be applicable beyond the next paper or experiment, helping us all be more mindful and caring to ourselves throughout our schooling, work, personal life and into our future careers.

Luana Nan, PhD, who will be leading our workshop, is a staff psychologist at University Counseling Center (UCC), and the interim coordinator of the Mindfulness Center. This center is part of UCC, and it provides workshops that support the development of a wide variety of skills. These include skills to cope with stress, anxiety and depression, skills for academic success (for neurodiverse students), and skills to support self-compassion, resilience and life/work balance.

“Silence and inaction in the face of moral transgressions are complicity and collusion. As a society, each of us has a moral responsibility to take action against bias and bigotry.” -Dr. Martin Luther King

Perhaps you have heard the expression, “death by a thousand papercuts.”  Small, invisible, yet irritatingly painful (at best), microaggressions are “the everyday slights, insults and offensive behaviors experienced in daily interactions that can cause real psychological harm” (Scientific American, 2021 “Microaggressions: Death by a Thousand Papercuts”).  Join the CaDeTs discussion and workshop on Identity & Power: How they influence unconscious biases, and relevant TOOLS to address the resultant microaggressions in collaboration with the U of U’s Office of Health, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (OHEDI). Here, we will work on continuing education on building a ‘safe space’ within our workplace environment and everyday EDI culture.  

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” — Mahatma Gandhi
Does life sometimes get a little stuck in the daily grind and you can't really see that far beyond your bench? Come be inspired to move beyond the bench, share exciting Science with the broader community and amplify your impact!  How? OUTREACH!  To learn about outreach opportunities and grassroots collective action, come join the discussion from an impactful trio of panelists for our next CaDeTS session: Outside the Ivory Tower: Science Outreach 101.


Dr. Sara K. Yeo  Associate Professor, Communication - Sara K. Yeo (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication, Director of the STEM Ambassador Program (STEMAP), and a faculty affiliate with the Global Change and Sustainability Center and Environmental Humanities program at the University of Utah. Her research interests include public opinion of STEM issues, humor, emotion, and information seeking and processing. She also co-hosts a podcast on science communication, Planet SciComm.
Adam Douglass, Ph.D.  Associate Professor, Neurobiology - The Douglass lab seeks to understand how neural circuits control behavior, a difficult problem that they make tractable by studying the simplified brain of the larval zebrafish. Since 2017, Dr. Douglass has led a hands-on series of outreach activities at the Horizonte Academy in Salt Lake City designed to expose students to the concepts and methods of modern neuroscience, and the value of model organisms in our attempts to understand the brain.
Nicole Losurdo Ph.D Candidate, Neurobiology - Nicole studies the role of the fly gene adipose in neurodevelopment. She organized a neuroscience outreach event with a local girl scout troop last year in collaboration with NerdSquad and plans on expanding this outreach to reach more local girl scout troops to encourage girls to join STEM fields. She has also worked to host the SLC Brain Bee for the last two years, and will be running the event next year.  

"I tweet, therefore my entire life has shrunk to 140-character chunks of instant event and predigested gnomic wisdom and swearing” - Neil Gaiman

Does Instagram instantly have you confounded as a tool for science communication? Can reels really serve to discuss scientific discoveries? Have you struggled to make sense of that blue bird app to promote your research? Then join the CaDeTs discussion:  Like, Comment, and Subscribe for Science: Promoting Your Research Through Social Media. Whether you seek to improve your tweeting skills for your lab’s Twitter account, grow your science network beyond conferences, employ social media for scientific feedback, or expand your audience for your recently published science article, this is the panel for you! Come listen to our three incredible panelists who will discuss how to blog, vlog, and tweet your science out to the world!


Julie Kiefer, Ph.D., Associate Director, Science Communications

Jason D. Shepherd, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Neurobiology

Nels C. Elde, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Human Genetics

Thank you to all our Speakers and Guests!
Series Organized by the CaDeTS Student Committee

Annual Career Day





Learn about the variety of careers open to PhDs and get career advice from leaders in academic, industry, communication, and other fields

Career Day


Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Full Listing of the 2021 Speakers & Schedule

9:00 AM - 10:30 AM
Keynote Speaker:
Julie Jay, PhD
Director, Foundation Medicine / Roche
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Who's Who &  What do They Do? 
Hitchhiker's Guide to the World of Biotech and Industry
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Biotech Breakout Rooms
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Career Crossroads and Parallel Universes: Alternative Careers in Science.
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Alternative Careers Breakout Rooms


Career Resource Library

The Program Office has a collection of Career Resource books available to check out.  Email to check for availability.

Books about careers in academia:

Bloomfield, Victor A., and Esam E. El-Fakahany. The Chicago Guide to Your Career in Science: A Toolkit for Students and Postdocs. Chicago: U of Chicago, 2008. Print.

Feibelman, Peter J. A Ph. D. Is Not Enough: A Guide to Survival in Science. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1993. Print.

Reis, Richard M. Tomorrow's Professor: Preparing for Academic Careers in Science and Engineering. New York: IEEE, 1997. Print.

Books about non-academia careers:

Kreeger, Karen Young. Guide to Nontraditional Careers in Science. Philadelphia, PA: Taylor & Francis, 1999. Print.

Robbins-Roth, Cynthia. Alternative Careers in Science: Leaving the Ivory Tower. San Diego: Academic, 1998. Print.

Sindermann, Carl J., and Thomas K. Sawyer. The Scientist as Consultant: Building New Career Opportunities. New York: Plenum, 1997. Print.

Books about career planning and professional development:

Fiske, Peter S., and Peter S. Fiske. Put Your Science to Work: The Take-charge Career Guide for Scientists. Washington, DC: American Geophysical Union, 2001. Print.

Rosen, Stephen, and Celia Paul. Career Renewal: Tools for Scientists and Technical Professionals. San Diego: Academic, 1998. Print.


Last Updated: 5/3/22