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 2019

Thursday, December 5, 2019
3:00-4:00 pm
Sign up here

Academics to Industry: Similarities, Differences, and Leveraging Skills to Succeed
Sarah Hann, Ph.D., R&D Specialist
Dow Chemical

I will share my experience in the Chemical Industry and compare it with the general experience of graduate school. The goal of this talk is to help set some expectations for what life can be after graduate school and provide some tips for using your academic experience to succeed in industry. I will speak to my journey in industry so far and give some insight into how different functions within a company can provide very different opportunities depending on your strengths.


Thursday, November 14, 2019
3-4 pm, LRSM Reading Room, 3231 Walnut Street

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

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.


Tuesday, October 8, 2019
3-4 pm, LRSM Reading Room, 3231 Walnut Street

Management in a Scientific Career – From people, to projects, to yourself
Jonathan Kiel, Ph.D.
Managing Scientist, Exponent 

A career in science will involve managing people (both groups and individuals), projects, and yourself.  However, management skills and practices are rarely, if ever, taught or even discussed.  This talk will focus on my experiences in learning how to manage from both good and bad managers, and my attempts to put those skills into practice.


Wednesday, September 11, 2019
3-4 pm, Glandt Forum, Singh Center for Nanotechnology

A Perspective on Life After Grad School and Beyond
Gerald Lopez, Ph.D.
Director of Business Development, Singh Center for Nanotechnology

Life after grad school isn’t captured in a singular equation and not should be decided by anyone but yourself. Should I get a job? Pursue a PhD? Become faculty? How can I get from point A to point B? In this open discussion, I’ll speak from my life experience thus far and will openly welcome questions that so many have in common when pursuing advanced degrees and beyond.