Professional Development Series

The Singh Center for Nanotechnology offers a monthly professional development seminar series as a resource for graduate students and postdocs in STEM disciplines. The series covers three general areas: career paths, soft and transferable skills, and career-related knowledge and resources. Topics are meant to supplement the formal academic and technical research training graduate students and postdocs receive in the classroom and/or in their laboratories and to help to explore career paths and develop competencies for advancing their career goals.

If you are interested in being on the mailing list or in suggesting a topic/speaker, please email kfield[at]

Please note that this series does not generally cover teaching and best practices for pedagogy. The Center for Teaching and Learning offers excellent resources on developing teaching skills. In general, the Singh Center series also does not focus on traditional academic career development (i.e., finding faculty positions). There are a number of resources at Penn that offer programming on faculty job searches (e.g., Career Services Academic Careers, Penn Engineering Postdoc Community, Biomedical Postdoctoral Programs).

| View Past Events |

Fall 2021

Tuesday, November 30, 2021
3-4 pm, hybrid (Singh Center Glandt Forum and Zoom)
RSVP here

Intellectual Property and Innovation
Pamela Beatrice, Ph.D., Director, PCI Licensing Group, Penn Center for Innovation
Tomás Isakowitz, PhD, Manager, Penn I-Corps and PCI Fellows Program

This session will provide an overview of intellectual property and its role in technology transfer and of programs for helping the creation of startups based on Penn research. A brief overview of patents and their importance will be provided. Opportunities for Penn graduate students and postdocs to participate in the PCI Fellows Program and Penn I-Corps will be discussed.


Friday, November 12, 2021
3:15-4:15 pm, LRSM Auditorium

Careers in Pharmaceutical Development and Gene Therapy
Matt Petroff, PhD
HT Downstream and Formulation Dev Lead, Spark Therapeutics, Inc.
Rui Zhang, PhD
Formulation Research Lead, Spark Therapeutics, Inc.

Pharmaceutical Research and Development is an extraordinarily multidisciplinary activity, employing researchers with a range of expertise including chemistry, biology, engineering, and data science. Drs. Zhang and Petroff will describe several of their experiences within Spark Therapeutics, a Gene Therapy leader, to convey an understanding of the different functions and roles available to new graduates within Pharma.


Friday, November 5, 2021
Noon – 1 pm ET by Zoom

Academia & Industry & Nonprofits, Oh My! [slides]
Angela Hwang, PhD
Senior Project Manager, Academic Partnerships & University Programs, Synopsys

After earning a PhD in chemistry at UCLA, Dr. Hwang found herself navigating the vast job market that was suitable for her technical background and personality. She worked at Technovation (formerly known as Iridescent), a nonprofit geared towards training STEM professionals to teach underserved communities science concepts. She ran education and outreach programs out of Stanford’s nanofacilities (nano@stanford), and is currently working at Synopsys managing academic partnerships and university programs at a global scale. This session will discuss how to find careers outside of the traditional R&D or academic paths.

Thursday, October 21, 2021
3:35-4:55 PM ET, Glandt Forum
Careers in Innovation
This panel brings together five STEM professionals from a diversity of positions, who are at various career stages. Panelists (listed below) will share insights about their positions, career paths and general industries.  Much of the session will focus on audience questions and topics of interest raised by the audience.

Mohsen Azadi, PhD, Quattrone Nanofabrication Facility, Singh Center, Penn
Greg Fridman, PhD, CEO AAPlasma
Paria Gharavi, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Dept of Electrical & Systems Eng, Penn
Hannah Hastings, MSE, Research Engineer, Universal Display Corp
Ryan Tetro, MSE, Nanofabrication & Manufacturing Engineer, Cogwear