PhD in Progress Podcast

PhD 021: Post-doctoral Life and the European Experience with Aleksandra Badura

August 19th, 2015

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This week we talk to Aleksandra Badura, a neuroscience post-doctoral researcher at Princeton University about the post-doc life and differences between the US and European PhD programs.

(This episode was recorded a LONG time ago. We have all since defended and will catch up on the

  • Coming to the US from Europe to be a post-doctoral researcher
  • The “importance” of brand when accepting positions
  • Choosing a post-doc laboratory
  • Parallels between business world and academia
  • Job security
  • Applying for fellowships is vital for success in research fields
  • Differences between European counties and US in PhD training
    • Fewer courses in PhD program in Europe
    • Masters degree (~2 years) is mandatory before pursuing a PhD
    • Fewer European programs have a rotation system
    • Work/life balance
  • Considering starting a family
  • There is no magic end point to your career

Do you have more questions about being a post-doc? Get in touch with us by emailing or leaving a comment on

If you’d like to help out the show, the best way to do so is to leave an honest rating and review in the iTunes store. You can find the link in the show notes or just tap our logo to find the link. Each rating and review helps boost our visibility, so thank you!

You can also help contribute to the costs of producing and distributing the show by backing us at , where even 1 dollar a month supports the show.

Also, let us know you’re listening! Say hi on Twitter. We’re @PhDPodcast.

Finally, all this information and more can be found at PhD in

[Episode Card Image adapted from Flickr User Moyan Brenn‘s Image]

PhD 018: Engineering Management, Industry, and Informational Interviews with Kyle Imatani

November 13th, 2014

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Discussion points:

  • What are informational interviews?
  • Understanding what you’re interested in
  • Keeping a casual conversation
  • Learning about prospects of the company, the culture, how promotions work
  • Overcoming being hesitant
  • How did you jump into informational interviewing
  • Strategies:
    • Leveraging Alumni Network
    • Being earnest
  • What roles with companies do PhDs tend to have?
  • It is a challenge for PhDs to get involed in industry
  • Roles outside of the research


If you have any comments or suggestions about the show, definitely send us an e-mail at

We’re also on Twitter @phdpodcast. I love interacting with all of you there, so please say hi.

Our fund sourcing to cover costs associated with the show is up and running. If you’d like more information about supporting us, please stop by or click the PayPal donation button on our site.
Even a couple of dollars goes a long way towards contributing to the show.

I really want to thank all the listeners again. You’ve been so encouraging. Outside of donating, you can also help us by leaving a rating and review in the iTunes store. We’ll read them on the show, especially the funny ones.

[Episode card adapted from an image by Flickr user Wonderlane and used under the Creative Commons license]

PhD 017: “We’re NOT Morons!” – Facing Impostor Syndrome

October 3rd, 2014

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[Episode card image adapted from a Flickr photo by Derek Mindler, used under the Creative Commons]

If you would like to donate to help cover costs, please click here.This week we have a friendly dialogue about facing Impostor Syndrome and how it has appeared in our lives.


We’ve started something new! So far, all of the funding for this show has come out of my own pocket. To help cover the costs, I’ve started a Patreon campaign where you can pledge to help out the show. I’ve also placed a PayPal Donation button on the site.  The show will ALWAYS be free but if you would like to help us cover costs and improve the quality of our show, please consider contributing via

Another great way to support the show is to leave a review in the iTunes store. This is very important because it boosts visibility of our show. Please take 30 seconds to leave an honest rating and review. We’d really appreciate it!

iTunes user dgr- two left a 5 star review,  saying:

“I’d recommend this podcast to any current or prospective graduate students- the speakers always keep the topics fresh and interesting. My only complaint is that while there were two episodes about finding non-academic jobs after school, there hasn’t been anything yet about pursuing postdoctoral or tenure track positions”.

Thank you for the review and we’ll work on getting together a postdoc episode.

Finally, we’re very active on Twitter @PhDPodcast so say hi to us there or e-mail us at


The PhD in Progress Podcast Feed is Restored!

September 8th, 2014

SEASON 2 starts this week! We’re back from crazy summer studies and travels. Get ready for some discussion on financial basics, mental health, and Imposter Syndrome.

If you’d like an e-mail when the newest podcast episodes are posted, register here.


And more good news:
Have you had an issue seeing all of the episodes in your iTunes, Stitcher, or other podcast feed? We have too.

That issue has been fixed! Thanks for sending in your comments on that problem. You probably have not missed any new episodes but check just in case.


IceBucketFinally, I wrote an article for the GradHacker blog called
“Learning from #IceBucketChallenge: Views of a Biomedical Researcher”. I’ve gotten
great feedback saying that it summed up the thoughts of many of my peers concerning the recent ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

I hope you had a great summer. Let the semester begin!


[Image by Flickr user Anthony Quintano and used under the Creative Commons license]


“The Nonacademic Careers of STEM Ph.D. Holders”

April 7th, 2014


The American Institutes for Research recently published a brief authored by Lori Turk-Bicakci, Andrea Berger, and Clarisse Haxton examining the tendency of STEM PhDs to obtain nonacademic careers although they originally had the intent of remaining in academia. The report breaks down the different fields of work, from basic research to project management, between race and sex. Independent of the factors leading to 61% of STEM PhD holders to enter nonacademic careers, this majority alone indicates room for better training in PhD programs in preparation for nonacademic jobs.

“The primary research questions are as follows:

1. How do nonacademic career choices and work activities differ by gender and race/ethnicity?
2. How does the proportion of nonacademic STEM PhD holders working outside of STEM fields differ by gender
and race/ethnicity?

Key findings include the following:

  • Approximately half of Black, Hispanic, and White female STEM PhD holders and Black and Hispanic male STEM PhD holders were in nonacademic careers, whereas two thirds of Asian female STEM PhD holders and almost three fourths of Asian male STEM PhD holders were in nonacademic careers. About three fifths of White male STEM PhD holders were in nonacademic careers.
  • Among those in nonacademic careers, the largest proportion worked in private, for-profit organizations or government; however, Black, Hispanic, and White female STEM PhD holders were more likely to work in government and less likely to work in private, for-profit organizations compared with Asian females and males of all racial/ethnic groups.
  • Approximately half of STEM PhD holders in nonacademic careers worked on research and development (R&D) as their primary activity, but Black, Hispanic, and White female STEM PhD holders were less likely to work on R&D compared with other groups.
  • Approximately one fifth of STEM PhD holders in nonacademic careers did not work in a STEM field; however, Black, Hispanic, and White female STEM PhD holders were more likely to work outside of STEM compared with other groups.”

Read the whole article on the American Institutes for Research site.
Let us know what you think .[more…]