Traditionally Princeton graduate students plan for careers in research or academia. However, Keller Center’s associate director of outreach and administration Lilian Tsang recently hosted a Wintersession workshop that gave students a chance to hear from a panel of current Ph.D candidates about their experiences pursuing alternative career opportunities at Princeton.

Tsang brought together a panel of graduate students from both the engineering and humanities fields to offer participants concrete advice and the opportunity to build and broaden their community. The workshop, titled Alternative Career Paths, or a Different Road Traveled, gave students a chance to explore opportunities for sustainable, fulfilling careers outside academia in fields like industry and corporations while encouraging students to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors and innovative ways to create impact. 

During this intimate and informal talk, panelists and participants shared their thoughts on the Princeton Graduate School experience, the importance of mentorship, and the uncertainties embedded in all the shifting professional development processes. Ph.D. candidate in civil and environmental engineering Karina Alventosa stressed the significance of the student-advisor relationship and urged the group to "choose the advisor, not the project." She stressed the weight of this relationship on the graduate school experience and future career fulfillment.

The session highlighted the many opportunities available at Princeton for students to widen their focus and dabble outside their fields while still in school. In addition, participants were prompted to reflect on the things that bring personal satisfaction and incorporate them into their career goals.

Yuzhou Bai, a graduate student in East Asian studies, moderated the workshop. He advised the group to utilize the support and resources available at Princeton through the Keller Center, the Graduate School, and the alumni network. “I hope this workshop showed the diverse array of doors that a Ph.D. opens. Our panelists did a great job illuminating the many ways one discovers their true calling in grad school,” said Bai.