Beyond Academia is a career education conference that exposes UC Berkeley PhD students and postdocs to career options outside of academia. Panels on a number of topics give attendees the opportunity to hear from and interact with successful and creative professionals, while workshops and networking events allow for discussion in an informal setting.
The first Beyond Academia conference was held in March 2013. It focused primarily on the fields of Psychology, Neuroscience, Vision Science, and Education; the conference sold out at over 200 attendees and 40 speakers, and received nationwide media coverage. The high speaker/attendee ratio allowed for frank discussions and ensured that attendees could easily interact with the speakers. Our upcoming conference on March 14-15, 2016 aims to replicate and expand upon that success for a wider breadth of disciplines across campus.
We are a grassroots movement, created by graduate students and for graduate students. We have a unique perspective on the question of transitioning from academia, because we ourselves are dealing with those same questions. We genuinely care about finding our own path, and helping others find their paths as well. Come meet the Beyond Academia Team!
We believe that pursuing a career outside of academia doesn’t have to be a negative or a second choice; in fact, we believe it can be a positive and fulfilling experience equal to or greater than a career in academics. Many graduate students don’t see the end-game as being a tenured professorship; they believe that the training and experience gained during the pursuit of their PhD will open many different doors in the future. The trick is finding the doors it will open.
We won’t provide a forum for disgruntled graduate students, nor are we intent on assigning blame. Our goals do not include changing the academy or antagonizing universities. We want to work together with universities, to provide better resources to students who want to pursue non-academic jobs after graduating.
But don’t take our word for it. See what others have said about Beyond Academia.
The mission of Beyond Academia is to provide opportunities to PhDs through education and networking. We aim to:
- Educate: We want to educate PhDs about career options. Many know they want to do “something else,” and our conference will help students and postdocs explore options in an honest and low-pressure environment.
- Provide Diverse Panel Discussions: Students will attend panels and workshops led by a diverse set of panelists, representing companies, non-profits, and government agencies. Each panel explores a different career path – e.g. technology, consulting, entrepreneurship, and science communication.
- Facilitate Networking: The structure of the conference facilitates networking, through questions from students during panels, a networking lunch where students sit with panelists, and a happy hour at the end of each day. This is mutually beneficial to students and speakers: students can connect with one another and with industry professionals for advice and tips, while industry professionals can reach a pool of strong applicants and develop a relationship with the university.
If you are a graduate student considering a career outside of academia, wondering whether or where to pursue a postdoc, or simply interested in hearing about many career options available to PhDs, we encourage you to attend the conference.
Through Beyond Academia you will have a unique opportunity – direct exposure to a diverse representation of non-academic careers, presented by individuals (including UC Berkeley alumni) who have successfully made the transition after receiving a PhD.
Our keynotes demonstrate their successful career paths leading beyond the academia. Our panels and workshops are led by a diverse set of panelists, representing companies, non-profits, and government agencies. Each panel explores a different career path – e.g. technology, consulting, entrepreneurship, and science communication.
During their PhDs, students are mostly in contact with 1 particular role model: their mentor or advisor, who chose the academic path and are less likely to be knowledgeable about non-academic paths. Beyond Academia provides exposure to other role models: real examples of PhDs who successfully transition out of academia. PhD graduates, knowing the challenges current PhDs face, willingly share their experiences and can enjoy knowing they are helping the next generation of PhDs.
Maybe! We’re currently exploring ways to bring the Beyond Academia Conference to a university or city near you. If you are interested in hosting a Beyond Academia conference or you just want more information about the future of Beyond Academia, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Unfortunately we are unable to cover the costs of travel grants. We are currently working on raising funds for travel expenses for future conferences.
PhDs are one of the most highly trained groups of prospective employees in the world, yet most of us will never work in academia (the job we were most likely trained to do). Though it may seem like the norm to look for a tenure-track position, the National Institutes of Health estimates that 85% of PhDs have other jobs! Non-academic careers are the new norm.
PhDs’ knowledge and expertise will benefit many fields; it is important for industry and organizations to leverage that brainpower to its full potential. The field you choose will depend, in no small part, on what interests you. Upon leaving academia, the future is wide open and waiting for you.
There are a number of ways you can keep up-to-date or connect with Beyond Academia. You can:
Follow our blog at: http://www.beyondacademia.org/ba-connect/blog/
Join our Linkedin Group to get involved in the discussion
Get monthly updates by subscribing to our Newsletter
Beyond Academia is actively seeking students, PhDs and Professionals to help our organization expand and spread its message. We’re looking for:
PhDs or Industry Professionals to speak at future conferences. Interested parties should contact email@example.com for more information.
Students, PhDs or Professionals to author guest posts or share their resources with Beyond Academia. Interested parties should contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Students to help organize future conferences at their universities. Interested parties should contact email@example.com.
If you would like to submit a job, fellowship or internship for publication by Beyond Academia, you can do it under Career Resources/Submit a resource. You can find the submission guidelines and the description of the submission process on the same webpage.