Skip to main content
Explore URMC

SMD Logo

menu
URMC / Education / Graduate Education / URBest Blog
Preparation Meets Opportunity

Preparation Meets Opportunity

Career Story by Martha Harber, PhD (URMC MS 2003 and PhD 2006), Director of Field Applications at Unchained Labs

Some people arrive on day one of graduate school ready to tackle their favorite project, cure a disease, or solve an important problem. I got to graduate school without one idea of what I wanted to do. All I knew was that I loved learning science and I could keep doing that while I figured out what I wanted to do with my life. Thankfully, my time as a graduate student at URMC was a transformational time of learning, not just science, but also about myself. Here are some of the lessons that I learned and helped get me where I am now: Director of Field Applications in the scientific instrumentation company, UnChained Labs.

A Summer Job Blossoms into a Career in Clinical Microbiology

A Summer Job Blossoms into a Career in Clinical Microbiology

Career Story by Fred C. Tenover, Ph.D. D(ABMM), Vice President of Scientific Affairs, Adjunct Professor Emory University, and Consulting Professor Stanford University School of Medicine.

“Would you like a summer job?”  That is how my career as a clinical microbiologist began. I was ending my sophomore year as an undergraduate at the University of Dayton (UD), having spent the prior summer studying theology and philosophy in Europe.  The job I was offered was at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Dayton in the microbiology laboratory, setting up cultures on patient specimens. I knew how to culture bacteria from my research project but there seemed to be much more to working in a hospital laboratory.  I was up for the challenge.  It did not take me long to realize that being a clinical microbiologist was a great career choice. As a laboratory director I would have the opportunity to be directly involved in patient care, to teach, and to perform applied research, all the while earning a hard salary from the hospital, as opposed to writing grants. I was hooked.

From the lab bench to the office – transitioning out of a research role as a scientist

From the lab bench to the office – transitioning out of a research role as a scientist

Career Story by Melissa Badding, PhD, Toxicologist-Scientist at Exponent

Throughout my time as a Ph.D. graduate student and postdoctoral fellow, I felt that I was one of the few who actually enjoyed working at the lab bench.  My expectation was to have a career in laboratory research, and I took the necessary steps to move in that direction…but what happens when your perspectives/goals change?  How do you break away from the lab bench and into a non-laboratory, but still remain in a highly technical scientific career? Can you market the skills you have in an effective way to improve your visibility or professional footprint in the field and allow for a transition from academic science?  In my short career, I have learned lessons along the way from working in academia, the federal government, and private industry and how to keep an open mind and be flexible.  

From Science Outreach to Science Start-Up

From Science Outreach to Science Start-Up

Career Story by Dina Markowitz, PhD, President of Science Take Out, and Professor of Environmental Medicine and Director of Life Sciences Learning Ceter at University of Rochester

“Necessity is the mother of invention" is well-known proverb that means, roughly, that the primary driving force for most new inventions is a need.  I have found myself smack in the midst of this proverb as my career morphed from bench science to science outreach, to being the founder of a URMC start-up company.  

One Company, Lots of Freedom

One Company, Lots of Freedom

Career Story by John Nelson, PhD, Senior Principal Scientist at GE Global Research

I’ve heard from a lot graduate students that their impression of industrial research for scientists with an advanced degree is that it is controlling, stifling, and tedious. You are told what to work on. Well, I can tell you that for me, that cannot be further from the truth.