Strategizing PhD Careers in the Nonprofit Sector Spring 2022


Career opportunities for Yale’s talented doctoral and postdoc students in the humanities abound. One area of particular interest is the social sector, which provides a diverse array of fulfilling options. Pursuing these possibilities calls for innovative thinking, some professional development pertinent to nonprofitsa strong base of professional connections, and an entrepreneurial spirit and perseverance. While these opportunities will leverage the many skills gained pursuing a doctoral degree, navigating the transition to a career in the nonprofit sector will necessitate “shifting gears” and require a new narrative.

In an effort to expose PhD and postdoc students to alternative career pathways in the nonprofit arena and help them navigate this pathway, Yale’s Office of Career Strategy (OCS) is continuing “Strategizing Careers in the Nonprofit Sector” this spring – a new pilot program focused on careers within the nonprofit sector. The program will constitute five sessions and all sessions will be conducted on zoom. Participants will get to interact with and learn from experts and professionals in various fields within the social sector. Each session will provide insight into a different facet of  non-profit organizations, help graduate students identify and possibly pursue new opportunities and guide them as they develop professional portfolios. 

Click here to see a summary of our Fall 2021 offerings in this series.


Session I: March 2, 4-5.30 PM : An Inside View of a Successful Job Search *Register Now!*

Workshop with Ellen Babby (Ph.D and Nonprofit Management Consultant) and Hyun Ja Shin (Ph.D. & Director of Yale’s Graduate & Postdoc Career Services)

This session will provide some high-level tips as you navigate the various stages of the search process. The discussion will appeal to students both actively seeking positions as well as those considering a future position outside the academy. Topics to be covered include identifying key resources, developing networks, seeking informational interviews, and conducting a successful job search with strong resumes, cover letters and interviews.

Session II: March 11, 4-5.30 PM: An Inside Look at Foundations*Register Now!*

Conversation with Louise Bernard (Ph.D. and Director of the Museum of the Obama Presidential Center) and Lorelle Espinosa (Ph.D. and program director for Alfred P. Sloan Foundation) 

There are tens of thousands of grantmaking foundations in the United States of varying sizes and with diverse and compelling missions. Foundations can offer PhDs rich career possibilities in research, program management, and other roles. Learn from our expert panelists about their own transition from PhDs to their current roles, and how a career in foundations can be rewarding and intellectually stimulating. Our Q& A will give participants a chance to speak directly with panelists to discuss how to strategize a career within foundations and how best to translate your experience in graduate school into a nonprofit career.

Session III: April 1st, 4-5.30 PM : Inclusive Leadership and Governance in the NonProfit Sector *Register Now!*

Conversation with Lavita McMath Turner (Ph.D. and Chief Diversity Officer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art), Victoria B. Bjorklund (PhD andRetired Partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP) and Diana Cordova (Ph.D.and Academic Director of the Kellogg Executive Leadership Institute).

Join this conversation to learn about how our panelists have leveraged their PhDs in important leadership roles in the non-profit sector. What does it mean to effectively govern an organization, and what skills have been critical to their success? How have they cultivated an inclusive organization through their leadership?  What advice do they have to Yale PhD students about navigating non-profit job markets?The conversation will discuss our panelists’ transition from academia to the nonprofit sector, as well as the how a growing awareness and presence of Diversity Equity and Inclusion initiatives across the nonprofit sector are transforming the industry and creating career possibilities for humanities and social science PhDs.

Session IV: April 29th 4-5.30 PM : Career Prospects in the Environmental Sector *Register Now!*

Conversation with Nathaniel Keohane (Ph.D. and President of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions), Laura Bozzi (Ph.D. Director of Programs of the Yale Center on Climate Change and Health) and Benjamin Strauss (Ph.D.  President and CEO of Climate Central).

Nonprofit organizations focused on climate change and the environment have experienced considerable growth in the last ten years. In this conversation, learn from three experts on how your graduate school experience can translate into meaningful careers in environmental organizations and centers focused on Climate Change. Laura Bozzi, PhD is the director of Programs of the Yale Center on Climate Change and Health, and teaches courses on Climage Justice Law and Public Health. Nathaniel Keohanein is President of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, a leading, independent voice for practical policy and action to address the world’s energy and climate challenges. Finally, Benjamin Strauss (Ph.D. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University) is the President and CEO of Climate Central. Learn from these leaders about their current roles, their career trajectories since completing a PhD, and how PhDs from all disciplines can strategize a career in environmental and climate science nonprofits.

Session V: May 3rd  3:30-5pm Opportunities in Health Research and Advocacy *Register Now!*

Conversation with Louis J. DeGennaro (Ph.D and CEO of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society) with Rebecca Tamarchak (Ph.D. and Senior Director, Strategy and Governance at Ontario Institute for Cancer Research)

The career possibilities in health research and advocacy are vast, particularly in the nonprofit sector where nearly half of all nonprofits have a health driven mission to their organization. Our panelists today offer two contrasting career paths from a PhD towards nonprofit careers in health advocacy. Louis J DeGennaro leads The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the worlds largest voluntary health agency dedicated to fighting blood cancers. Rebecca Tamarchak holds a Yale PhD ’06 in Cell Biology and iImmunology and is the Senior Director, Strategy and Governance at Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, where she has held several roles since 2015. Take advantage of their wealth and experience in this insightful panel and Q&A to learn about strategizing similar careers, and their transition since completing doctoral work. 

By Taryn Dubois
Taryn Dubois McDougal Career Fellow