Foundational Work: Understanding the Career Interests of PhD Trainees
In 2011, my colleagues and I published the first study to quantify career preferences for biomedical science trainees, and in particular to note how student career preferences varied based on stage of training. Interestingly, we found that student career interests shift in the third year—a reason to focus educational interventions at this stage of training. Our study became part of the rising dialogue leading to national recommendations to adapt predoctoral training for the breadth of scientific careers through which PhDs contribute. Our study has been referenced by or highlighted in numerous reports and venues, including the NIH Biomedical Workforce Working Group Report (2012) and reports by the Council of Graduate Schools (2012, 2014, 2017). I continue to have interest in the career interests, outcomes, and decision-making of PhD trainees, most recently collaborating with colleagues from the NIH BEST Consortium to address more specific research questions in this area.
Fuhrmann, Halme, O'Sullivan, Lindstaedt (2011) Improving Graduate Education to Support a Branching Career Pipeline: Recommendations Based on a Survey of Doctoral Students in the Basic Biomedical Sciences. CBE-Life Sciences Education, v. 10(3).
This work laid the foundation for my other scholarly interests. Our 2011 findings demonstrated that doctoral students could continue to struggle with career decision-making even at an institution with strong career services. To address this, I broadended my scholarly focus toward developing and testing new training paradigms to facilitate career planning, advocating for national culture change toward valuing the diverse ways that STEM PhDs contribute to the workforce, and re-framing career development as a critical part of graduate and postdoctoral education.