PhD in Progress Podcast

PhD 010: “Drug and Substance Use Among Graduate Students” with Oren Gur, PhD Candidate in Criminology, Law & Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago

June 19th, 2014

Click here to subscribe and rate us in iTunes | Or Subscribe on Stitcher

This week Nikhil interviews PhD candidate in Criminology, Law & Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Oren Gur. They discuss Oren’s research on drug and substance use among graduate students and the challenges associated with his dissertation work.

You can e-mail Oren Gur for more information at 

While drug and substance use and/or abuse is a serious subject, the hosts and guest decided to keep true to the show’s  unique voice. We integrate levity and a sense of humor into discussion of an important topic of academic research. Jokes made in this show should not be confused with endorsement of illegal/harmful drug use but should promote thoughtful dialog.

PhD 009: “Career Services, Networking, and Informational Interviews” with Amy Pszczolkowski

June 12th, 2014

Click here to subscribe and rate us in iTunes | Or Subscribe on Stitcher


This week Jason, Nikhil, and Abigail sit down with Amy Pszczolkowski, Assistant Director of Princeton University’s Career Services office to discuss career search resources and networking strategies. We encourage you to reach out to your career service office and tell us about your experience!

What can you expect to receive from your university’s career service officer?
-Counseling/Advising: a thought partner and guide; broad exposure
-Assessments: personality, fit, strength/weakness, professional skills, interviewing
-Free valuable information on career center websites

Grad students often don’t know about these services, but the earlier you come in, the better support you can receive.

Mentioned this Episode:

*Buying items through these Amazon  affiliate links directly supports the podcast! Thank you!

PhD 008: “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” Deciding to Leave Grad School with Doug Swanson

June 5th, 2014

Click here to subscribe and rate us in iTunes | Or Subscribe on Stitcher


This week, I talk to former PhD student Doug Swanson and current Chief Technology Officer of Malwarebytes about his decision to leave grad school and his advice to current grad students who might be considering an exit from academia.

Thanks again to Doug for his time and insight! It was definitely a personal topic, so we appreciate his participation. Do you have more questions about
possibly leaving grad school?

Leave us a comment at or email us at We’re also active on Twitter @PhDPodcast. If you enjoy the show, please spread the word by telling your friends and colleagues.

Finally, the best way you could support the show is to leave an honest review and rating in the the iTunes store. Thanks for the support!  As always, all this  information can be found at

PhD 007: “The Dr. Abigail Show”- From Continuing Education to Finishing a PhD Program

May 28th, 2014

Click here to subscribe and rate us in iTunes | Or find us on Stitcher
This week we talk to our co-host Dr. Abigail Sporer about what it’s like to continue education after a few years out of academia and how she felt while finishing her PhD dissertation defense.

Thank you to Nick @diacritic for an important topic for our show. He reached out on Twitter, saying “Hey, I’m a listener starting grad school after about fifteen years of industry work. Know any resources for people like me?” If you have any more wisdom for him, please leave a comment below or send us mail

How do you deal with more immature classmates? What helped Dr. Abigail through the dissertation writing process? What does she wish she did differently?
And please, do not get drunk at work.

We’d love to hear from you. Leave us comments in the show notes at or email We’re also on Twitter @PhDPodcast.

You can really help our visibility in the iTunes store by leaving an honest rating and review. Thank you all so much!
As always, all this information can be found at

PhD 006: Volunteer Work, Public Outreach, and a Targeted Career Search with Kelly LaRue

May 20th, 2014

Click here to subscribe and rate us in iTunes | Or find us on Stitcher


This week we have Kelly LaRue in studio to discuss public outreach, a targeted career search, and the importance of finding value outside of your main research.

Kelly is the recipient of the Princeton Graduate Student Recognition Award for her work with Princeton University’s Graduate MolBio Outreach Program.
While performing an amazing level of volunteer work, she has leveraged her experiences into taking action on her professional goals. She has taken an approach to her career search that may help others narrow down their own searches.

The 2 resources mentioned by Kelly:
Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Research

EvolDir (i.e. “EVIL DEER”)

Why is Nikhil fidgety?
What is a good name for a courtship song?
What happened to the coffee?
Answers within. Thanks for listening!

PhD 005: 3 Important Points of Advice to New Graduate Students

May 13th, 2014

Click here to subscribe and rate us in iTunes

Or find us on Stitcher


This week Jason, Nikhil, and Abigail hope to help newer graduate students by discussing what they WISH they knew earlier in their studies.

Self-management, the production mindset, and failure are the 3 broad topics we dive into for this discussion.

We mention a couple of neuroscience studies-
Chronic partial sleep deprivation:

Sleep and memory – way too much literature, but the wiki is pretty comprehensive

Where does Nikhil find his best ideas?
How can you earn your secret Ph.D.?
And correct, unurgent is not a word. Thank you in advance.


PhD 004: “A Case Study” – Leave of Absence and Self-Education

May 5th, 2014

Click here to subscribe and rate us in iTunes | Or find us on Stitcher

This week we talk to Zach about taking a leave of absence, self-education, and preparation for consulting job interviews.

Abigail gets ready to defend, Nikhil finishes up experiments, and Jason is a subpar caterer.

Nikhil interviews Zach. They discuss the reasons Zach took a leave of absence, what he did during that time, and how it prepared him for his next career.

During the interview, Zach mentions two books (“the classics”) he has read during his preparation for a consulting job search:

Competitive Strategy by Michael Porter
Competitve Advantage by Michael Porter


We’re active on Twitter @PhDPodcast.
If you’d like to help boost our visibility, please consider sharing the show with your friends or rating us on iTunes.

We’d appreciate all the honest feedback, questions, and comments you’re willing to send our way.

As always, you can find this week’s show notes and all the information I just mentioned at


PhD 003: Using Grad School Experience In Your Career Search

April 28th, 2014

Click here to subscribe and rate us in iTunes | Or find us in Stitcher


This week Jason, Nikhil, and Abigail continue the discussion initiated in Episode 2 by Fatimah Williams Castro, PhD on how we should approach our career searches.

We then make public some “anecdata” while briefly summarizing the steps we are taking to 1) obtain skills inside/outside the lab and 2) initiate our career exploration. How can you “manage up”? Where do you find contacts to pursue job leads? Why would you want a treadmill desk? All this and more in Episode 3!

Thanks to everyone who has sent us feedback already, it’s been great and helpful so far. Extra thanks to our friends at for constantly contributing to a dynamic community.

You can learn more about American Journal Experts (the editing group Abigail works with) at, or the technology consulting group Jason works with at

Send any comments or questions, to or @PhDPodcast on Twitter.

Let us know what else we could do to improve your podcast experience!


PhD 002: Beyond the Tenure Track with Fatimah Williams Castro, Ph.D.

April 13th, 2014

Click here to subscribe in iTunes | Or find us in Stitcher


Thank you for supporting our brand new podcast! We’re constantly trying to improve the quality and content. In this week’s episode, Jason, Nikhil, and Abigail briefly discuss the 61% of PhDs who pursue nonacademic careers as they review the American Institutes for Research article titled “The Nonacademic Careers of STEM PhD Holders” released in April 2014.

Then they interview Dr. Fatimah Williams Castro, the PhD career coach behind about starting your career search outside of the academy. She will be participating in the “Beyond the Professoriate” virtual conference taking place on May 3rd and May 10th 2014. For more information go to [more…] 

You can find the article here:

Next week, we will discuss a few strategies we’re using in our own career searches.

If you want to participate, write down 3 qualities you want in your next job or career move. Send them, along with any other comments or questions, to or @PhDPodcast on Twitter.

Let us know what else we could do to improve your podcast experience!

PhD 001: An Introduction to the PhD (in Progress) Podcast

April 8th, 2014

In this episode, Jason, Nikhil, and Abigail introduce themselves and their goals for We kept this episode light but expect great interviews, discussions, and resource highlights to come. Thanks for listening to our first episode! 

We’d love your feedback and suggestions. Let this show reflect the questions and ideas you have to improving your graduate education.

Leave comments below, e-mail us at
Or follow us on Twitter: @PhDPodcast

UPDATE: iTunes feed is here!