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URMC / Education / Graduate Education / URBest Blog / July 2020 / “Should I do a postdoc? My path from an academic postdoc to industry and perspectives on how to answ

“Should I do a postdoc? My path from an academic postdoc to industry and perspectives on how to answer this question.”

By Jennifer Judge, PhD - Regulatory Scientist at Cook MyoSite

It always seemed obvious to me as a graduate student at URMC that I should followed my passion for teaching and research and pursue a postdoctoral fellowship.  Throughout graduate school, I was constantly pursuing activities that would strengthen my CV for an academic tract: applying for my own NIH fellowship and completing a teaching internship through URBEST.  I figured that my postdoc would help me further decide the next path, whether that be a teaching-focused academic position or if my research goes well, a research-focused position.  Either way, I knew that I wanted a faculty position someday.

And I landed the perfect postdoc for my goals: an IRACDA (Institutional Research and Career Development Award) teaching fellowship, better known as a ‘teaching postdoc’.  This postdoc was going to give me the training I was really looking for: dedicated time in the classroom to develop my teaching skills, and mentored research.

So, how did I end up in industry when I worked so hard thus far to pursue an academic path?  Simply put, at some point along the way I realized I wasn’t happy.  I lost the passion for my research project and couldn’t think of another research topic that I might like better.  My teaching experiences were authentic, but I didn’t feel connected to my students sitting in a large lecture hall.  It was hard to admit, but I came to the conclusion that the academic path that I tried so hard to put myself into was no longer satisfying.

Maybe you find yourself like me during grad school with a clear intention of completing an academic postdoc.  Or maybe you’ve decided you want to pursue a career in industry.  Alternatively, you could be undecided all together.  Regardless of where you are now, a postdoc can be a great way to help you get where you’ll ultimately land, in academia or elsewhere.  But there are many important questions to ask yourself as you are trying to make this decision, which I’ll help you consider.  The questions you want to ask go beyond simple pros and cons; I hope that they will help you re-examine what a postdoc can and should be.

Jennifer Judge, Ph.D. | 6/30/2020

Please join Jennifer Judge, Ph.D. on Friday, July 10th (11 am - noon) on Zoom where she will share her career story and answer your questionsFor more information on this session, please contact Elaine Smolock at

Katherine Bognanno | 7/1/2020

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