Support The World's Smartest Network

Help the New York Academy of Sciences bring late-breaking scientific information about the COVID-19 pandemic to global audiences. Please make a tax-deductible gift today.

This site uses cookies.
Learn more.


This website uses cookies. Some of the cookies we use are essential for parts of the website to operate while others offer you a better browsing experience. You give us your permission to use cookies, by continuing to use our website after you have received the cookie notification. To find out more about cookies on this website and how to change your cookie settings, see our Privacy policy and Terms of Use.

We encourage you to learn more about cookies on our site in our Privacy policy and Terms of Use.

Making the Leap

Making the Leap

Friday, October 28, 2011 - Saturday, October 29, 2011

The New York Academy of Sciences

Presented By

Presented by Science Alliance


More scientists and engineers are working outside academia than ever before, yet many graduate students and postdocs remain unaware of their various career options and how to make the transition into their first non-academic job. Making the Leap was designed to help demystify the nonacademic job search process and teach young scientists how to explore different career paths, determine which ones are a good fit, and successfully prepare and apply for potential jobs.

This event is targeted at students and postdocs in the sciences planning to enter the job market within the next year; scientific career changers are welcome to attend as well. The program will feature the following workshops:

• Career Planning 101: Strategies for Scientists

• Networking and Building an Online Presence

• Preparing Academic Scientists for Careers in Industry

• Navigating the Job Search Process

• Talking Your Way into a Great Job

• Jumping Off the Ivory Tower: Preparing for Interviews Outside Academe

• Evaluating and Negotiating Job Offers: Demystifying the Process

Registration Pricing

 By 9/30/2011After 9/30/2011Onsite 10/28/2011
Student / Postdoc / Fellow Member$125$150$175
Corporate Nonmember$325$350$375
Not for Profit Nonmember$275$300$325
Student / Postdoc / Fellow Nonmember$175$200$225


This two-day event is being organized and hosted by the Science Alliance program of the New York Academy of Sciences. Science Alliance provides career education, development, and training for graduate students and postdocs in the sciences and serves 8,000 young scientists from over 40 partner organizations located in the New York metropolitan area, nationally, and around the globe.


* Presentation times are subject to change.

Day 1: Friday, October 28, 2011

8:15 AM


9:00 AM

Morning Session

Introduction & Overview
Monica L. Kerr, PhD, The New York Academy of Sciences

Career Planning 101: Strategies for Scientists
Monica L. Kerr, PhD, The New York Academy of Sciences

Networking & Building an Online Presence
Lauren Celano, Propel Careers

12:45 PM

Lunch Break

1:45 PM

Afternoon Session

Preparing Academic Scientists for Careers in Industry I
Randall Ribaudo, PhD, and Larry Petcovic, Human Workflows

Preparing Academic Scientists for Careers in Industry II
Randall Ribaudo, PhD, and Larry Petcovic, Human Workflows

6:00 PM


Day 2: Saturday, October 29, 2011

8:30 AM


9:00 AM

Morning Session

Navigating the Job Search Process
Monica L. Kerr, PhD, The New York Academy of Sciences

9:30 AM

Two Concurrent Workshops
Select participation in one workshop during online registration.

Workshop 1: Talking Your Way into a Great Job
Laura Stark Malisheski, PhD, Harvard University

Workshop 2: Planning for Success
Keith Micoli, PhD, New York University School of Medicine

11:15 AM

Two Concurrent Workshops
Select participation in one workshop during online registration.

Workshop 3: The Scientist's Conundrum: CV, Resume or Something In-Between?
Laura Stark Malisheski, PhD, Harvard University

Workshop 4: Navigating Visa & Immigration Issues
Suzanne B. Seltzer, Esq, Klasko, Rulon, Stock & Seltzer

12:45 PM

Lunch Break

1:45 PM

Afternoon Session

Jumping Off the Ivory Tower: Preparing for Interviews Outside Academe
Sharon Belden Castonguay, EdD, Baruch College

Evaluating and Negotiating Job Offers: Demystifying the Process
Sharon Belden Castonguay, EdD, Baruch College

Monica L. Kerr, PhD, The New York Academy of Sciences

5:15 PM




Sharon Belden Castonguay, EdD

Baruch College

Sharon Belden Castonguay is a career consultant with over a decade of experience working with PhDs and MBAs at all levels of their careers. She is currently the Director of the Graduate Career Management Center at Baruch College's Zicklin School of Business. Previously she served as an assistant director for PhD career services at Harvard. She first became known for her expertise in negotiating compensation when teaching a course in career development and serving as a career counselor at Boston University School of Management. She received her doctorate in human development from Harvard, where her research focused on career decision making within the business world.

Lauren Celano

Propel Careers

Lauren Celano is the cofounder and CEO of Propel Careers, a life science search and career development firm focused on connecting talented individuals with entrepreneurial life sciences companies. Propel works with current leaders and actively cultivates future leaders through full time placement, internships, mentoring, career coaching, and networking. Propel Careers is engaged across all areas of life sciences, including therapeutics, medical devices, healthcare IT, diagnostics, consulting, venture capital, and investment banking. Prior to Propel Careers, Lauren was a senior account manager for SNBL USA, where she worked with emerging biotech companies in Europe, Asia, and the US to help characterize and advance their drug molecules. Prior to SNBL USA, she held business development positions with Aptuit and Quintiles, where she focused on IND enabling studies to advance therapeutics from discovery into the clinic. Earlier in her career, Lauren held positions as a marketing manager and account manager at Absorption Systems, where she was responsible for managing life sciences companies in the northeastern United States. She has a BS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Gettysburg College and an MBA with a focus in the health sector and entrepreneurship from Boston University. Lauren is on the membership committee of the Boston Chapter of the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association and she also serves on the programming committee of the Capital Network.

Monica L. Kerr, PhD

The New York Academy of Sciences

Monica Kerr earned her PhD in cell and developmental biology from the Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program at Harvard Medical School. She studied signal transduction in the cancer biology laboratory of National Academy of Sciences member Lewis Cantley. During this time, she identified a new protein in the PI 3-kinase pathway and studied its role in Drosophila development. Following graduation, Kerr left the bench to focus on science education as an instructor and curriculum fellow in the Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology Department at Harvard Medical School. She taught and developed science-based curricula for undergraduate, graduate, and medical school science courses, as well as career advancement initiatives for science PhDs. Throughout her tenure at Harvard, Monica founded a new professional development series for life scientists, received two teaching awards, and was selected to participate in the Harvard Macy Institute’s Program for Educators in Health Professions. Kerr joined the New York Academy of Sciences in February 2010 as the director of Science Alliance, an international career development program for graduate students and postdocs. In this role, she regularly presents career and professional development workshops, particularly on career planning, networking, and making the transition out of academia.

Laura Stark Malisheski, PhD

Harvard University

Laura Stark Malisheski holds a PhD in neuroscience from Yale University and completed post-doctoral research at the University of Pennsylvania before making a transition to career counseling. She has ten years of experience counseling graduate students and PhDs through the challenges of graduate study and into careers, both within and outside academia. Laura specializes in working with those seeking academic faculty positions and those considering career transition beyond academia. In addition to career counseling, Laura coordinates an extensive lineup of career events for graduate students and presents many career and professional development workshops. She has spoken at numerous professional conferences, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Society for Microbiology, and the American Chemical Society and has written career articles for media outlets such as and the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Keith Micoli, PhD

New York University School of Medicine

Keith received his BA in marine biology/neurobiology from New College of Florida in 1993 and his PhD from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2001. His dissertation project studied HIV/AIDS pathogenesis and focused on the role of HIV-1 gp41 cytoplasmic tail in apoptotic cell death. Keith continued at UAB as a postdoc on an NRSA T32, studying HIV fusion with target cells and worked to identify mutants of gp41 that were deficient in mediating virus entry. During his stay at UAB, he was also a research associate and Instructor in the Department of Pathology and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Biology at Samford University.

Keith’s interest in postdoctoral training at a national level was developed by volunteering with the National Postdoctoral Association, where he was Chair of the Policy Committee, Strategic Planning Committee, and a member of the Outreach, Membership, Finance, and Meeting Committees. He served on the NPA Board of Directors for four years and was Board Chairman from 2004 to 2006. During this time, the NPA transitioned from a special project of AAAS into an independent 501(c) non-profit corporation. During his tenure as Chair, the NPA successfully worked with the NIH to start the K99/R00 grant mechanism and helped NIH and NSF develop a unified definition of a postdoc.

He left academic research to pursue a full-time position with New York University School of Medicine as Postdoctoral Program Manager in 2008. Since that time, the program has developed numerous formal programs to foster postdoc training, including a grantwriting course, lab management series, and a soon to be unveiled Bench to Bedside Program. He has also expanded his role to include career development programs for graduate students and organized a popular career discussion series that brings PhDs who have chosen a wide variety of careers together to discuss what their transition was like and how people can position themselves to be competitive when opportunities present themselves. His biggest challenge has been the organization of What Can You Be with a PhD?, a career symposium that brings together over 1000 graduate students and postdocs from New York City for two days of talks and workshops. This program featured over 90 speakers and covered 15 different career options and numerous career development workshops in 2009 and has been expanded again for 2011.

His passion is encouraging postdocs and graduate students to take responsibility for their own success and providing the resources they need to develop their own careers.

Larry Petcovic

Human Workflows

SciPhD cofounder Larry Petcovic has 20+ years of experience in the social sciences and has trained thousands of scientists in the art of effective communication. The SciPhD program is the result of the combination of Larry's many years of experience in developing and teaching social communications skills combined with the scientific and human industry knowledge of the cofounders of Human Workflows. Larry has worked as a health physicist, trainer, video/film producer and has held executive positions in human resources, customer service, training, and development in a variety of industries. Larry holds a MS in both Radiation Sciences and Behavioral Sciences and continues research in the social neurosciences.

Randall Ribaudo, PhD

Human Workflows

Human Workflows and SciPhD cofounder Randall Ribaudo has over 20 years of experience in the scientific research and biotechnology field and has successfully made the transition from academia to industry. Ribaudo co-founded Human Workflows after more than five years at Celera Genomics. During his time at Celera, Ribaudo has acted as a liaison between Celera and the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and academic communities; served as product manager responsible for developing support products for the Proteomics Groups mass spectrometry software; led the iScience Task Force to define strategic directions for sister company Applied Biosystems; advised on product development for the Celera Discovery System and enterprise solutions for information integration; and worked as a Manager of Strategic Solutions in the informatics business. Prior to Celera, Ribaudo worked at the biotechnology and bioinformatics company Molecular Applications Group. He was responsible for presenting the revolutionary capabilities of MAG's products to representatives in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and academic communities. He has extensive experience in the academic biological life sciences arena as well. After receiving a PhD in Immunology at the University of Connecticut, Ribaudo joined the Laboratory of Immunology, NIAID at the National Institutes of Health where he studied the molecular basis of antigen presentation. He then accepted a position as a Principal Investigator in the National Cancer Institute in the Laboratory of Immune Cell Biology, where he developed his own research program studying the immune response to viruses and tumors, leading a team of postdoctoral fellows, technicians, and university and high school students. His work at the National Cancer Institute led to the development of a novel technology to develop vaccines against tumors and viruses. Ribaudo holds patents for this technology, which is now being further developed by private companies. All of this experience has provided Ribaudo with tremendous insight into the rapidly exploding technological capabilities in areas of discovery research and information and data management, as well as a detailed understanding of the skills and competencies required for scientists to be successful in industry careers.

Suzanne B. Seltzer, Esq

Klasko, Rulon, Stock & Seltzer

Suzanne B. Seltzer, Esq is a partner of Klasko, Rulon, Stock & Seltzer LLP. Ms. Seltzer is the Chair of the American Immigration Lawyer's Association (AILA_ USCIS Benefits & Policy Liaison Committee, is a member of AILA's InterAgency Liaison Committee, and recently completed her tenure as the Vermont Service Center (VSC) liaison and as a NAFSA Regulatory Ombudsman. Ms. Seltzer speaks and writes extensively on visa options for scientists and researchers. She is listed in Best Lawyers in America, Chambers USA, New York SuperLawyers, and the International Who's Who of Corporate Immigration Lawyers. A magna cum laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Ms. Seltzer received her law degree from Georgetown University's Law Center (cum laude).


Day 1: Friday, October 28, 2011

Career Planning 101: Strategies for Scientists
Monica L. Kerr, PhD, The New York Academy of Sciences

Deciding what you want to be with a PhD is a difficult question for many graduate students and postdocs. In this hands-on session we'll step through the stages in the career planning process, with an emphasis on self-assessments strategies that will help you begin to identify your skills, values, and interests. This session will provide the framework for the rest of the boot camp.

Networking and Building an Online Presence
Lauren Celano, Propel Careers

Lauren Celano will discuss tips on networking, including ways to build and cultivate your network as you explore career opportunities. She will also discuss the importance of building an online presence so that your experiences and expertise shine through for the individuals who are interested in learning more about your background. Effective tools like these are valuable in your career search whether you choose an academic or non-academic career path.

Preparing Academic Scientists for Careers in Industry
Randall Ribaudo, PhD and Larry Petcovic, Human Workflows

Adapting to industry jobs can be a significant challenge for scientists coming from academia. Industry values and even requires skills that go beyond the traditional scientific/technical competencies. The ability to work in cross-matrixed environments, demonstrate solid tactical and strategic thinking, ability to delegate, communicate and understand basic concepts of project management are common prerequisites for jobs in industry. Although these skills are not typically emphasized during academic training, many research activities do in fact map to these competencies. Having an awareness of your skills and an ability to express those skills in business terms provides a significant competitive advantage in landing, and being successful in, an industry job.
This training workshop introduces 24 business competencies valued in industry, relates them to post-doc research experiences, and demonstrates how to identify those competencies and relate them to job ads and descriptions. We will also discuss industry's perception of academic scientists with regard to their assumed strengths and weaknesses and how to leverage that knowledge along with an understanding of your own real capabilities to advance your career. Access to the SciPhD online self-assessment is also included. This instrument profiles your own competencies in these 24 areas and maps your strengths to different job types in different types of companies. This information can be used in developing resumes and cover letters, preparing for interviews, and for short- and long-term career planning.
Breakout sessions will look at how to demystify job ads to identify the explicit and implicit information they contain and how to use that information, in conjunction with the results of your self-assessment and additional intelligence through smart networking, to make you competitive for the jobs you desire. Additionally, understanding the social context of these competencies and how they relate to each other provides foundations for not just obtaining industry jobs, but for excelling and succeeding in an industry career.

Travel & Lodging

Our Location

The New York Academy of Sciences

7 World Trade Center
250 Greenwich Street, 40th floor
New York, NY 10007-2157

Directions to the Academy

Hotels Near 7 World Trade Center

Recommended partner hotel

Club Quarters, World Trade Center
140 Washington Street
New York, NY 10006
Phone: 212.577.1133

The New York Academy of Sciences is a member of the Club Quarters network, which offers significant savings on hotel reservations to member organizations. Located opposite Memorial Plaza on the south side of the World Trade Center, Club Quarters, World Trade Center is just a short walk to the Academy.

Use Club Quarters Reservation Password NYAS to reserve your discounted accommodations online.

Other nearby hotels

Millenium Hilton


Marriott Financial Center


Club Quarters, Wall Street


Eurostars Wall Street Hotel


Gild Hall, Financial District


Wall Street Inn


Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park