Alums Share Career Advice at Professional Development Day

On Saturday, September 19, the Annenberg School for Communication held a Professional Development Day. The event, organized by doctoral students Elisa Baek, Rosemary ClarkMinji KimElena Maris, and Allyson Volinsky, brought a dozen alumni back to Annenberg to share their career advice with Annenberg's current graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. 

After receiving their Ph.D.s from Annenberg, some of the presenters went into academia, including Dannagal Goldthwaite Young (Gr'07) who is an Associate Professor of Communication at the University of Delaware and Lynne Edwards (Gr'95), Professor of Media and Communication Studies at Ursinus College. Others, such as Bridget Kelly (Gr’07), Health Communication Research Scientist in the Center for Communication Science at RTI International, have found success in jobs outside the academy. 

Our panelists' insights provided valuable food for thought for those in the Annenberg community who are or will be on the job market in the coming years. Below are just some of the insights shared at the event:

“Trying to figure out which publisher will be the right fit at the right time proved challenging for me.  A lot of research should go into figuring out how your book proposal could be tailored for a particular press.”Christopher Ali (Gr’13), Assistant Professor in the Department of Media Studies, University of Virginia

“When writing, think about your audience.  Who do you want to talk to?  How can you begin to build a connection with a larger network?”Pamela Sankar (Gr’92), Associate Professor of Bioethics in the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

“It is important to have your own independent research agenda as you get ready to leave here.  What is the coherent story you will tell about yourself?  Be able to say, ‘Here’s where I started, and here’s where I’m going.’”Itzhak Yanovitzky (Gr’00), Associate Professor, School of Communication and Information at Rutgers University

“Start to look at job calls even before you are on the market.  You want to see the skill set they are looking for so that you can begin to prepare while you are in graduate school.”Jeff Gottfried (Gr’12), Research Associate, Pew Research Center

“Part of what helped me in my current trajectory outside of academia was writing for different audiences; for example, blogs and op-eds.  In doing this, you’re developing a presence and an opinion that is structured and analytic.  This gives you a good ‘in’ to show that you can speak to different audiences.”Anne-Katrin Arnold (Gr'12), Communications Officer, World Bank

“It is important to find the right fit. And it can change as you move into your career. You might decide to do project management or you could gravitate toward a purely methodological track.”Susan Sherr (Gr’01), Senior Research Director and Vice President, Professional Development and Planning, SSRS

“There is teaching even in the industry setting.  You do get opportunities to coach and train, particularly when you are an 'expert’ within the company.”Jocelyn Landau Palmer (Gr’09), Survey Research Lead, Customer Research & Insights, Google

"One piece of advice I’d give is don’t be a diva in negotiations. Own yourself and your worth, but realize that you have to show up and work there.  So negotiate in a way that won’t alienate your colleagues.” Shawnika Hull (Gr’10), Assistant Professor, Department of Prevention and Community Health, Milken Institute’s School of Public Health, George Washington University

“I can’t underestimate the importance of the networks you build through Annenberg and at academic conferences.”Bill Herman (Gr ’09), Assistant Professor, Communication and Media Management at the Gabelli School of Business, Fordham University