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Innovate a Career You Love

Thursday, September 29, 2016
12:30 pm to 2:30 pm

Graduate students and postdocs are investing several years of their lives into their training. But what do they want to gain from them? What career path are they preparing themselves for? Given that a vast minority of students and postdocs will end up becoming academics, this training period is all about BYOB: Building Your Own Brand. What do students and postdocs need to learn, experience, and develop in order to be the professionals they want to be? Many postdocs and grad students have difficulties answering these questions because they don’t know exactly what they are passionate about or where their true talents lie; or maybe they suffer from forms of the “Impostor Syndrome”: self-doubt, self-sabotage, anxiety, or a lack of confidence.

This interactive seminar gives participants the tools to pick a career that is right for them, and to best tailor their training years to get it. Participants will leave the workshop with the tools to:

  • learn a step-by-step approach to explore and evaluate career options.
  • articulate a big-picture vision of what an inspiring career looks like to them.
  • identify their unique skills, talents, and character traits that will make them succeed at that career.
  • discover how to hear their inner voice of passion, and use it as a compass.
  • draft a blueprint for a successful graduate education, by their own definition.

This workshop gives participants the ability to systematically identify and pursue a career that ignites their passions and talents, whether that is in academia or beyond. Participants leave the workshop with a sense of confidence that they can and will find a career that is right for them.

SPEAKER: Leveraging her background in Biological Engineering (MIT PhD., 2008), and career and life coaching (2007 – present), Dr. Samantha Sutton offers a toolkit that uniquely combines scientific inquiry, engineering design principles, and coaching accountability and insight. Dr. Sutton has coached thousands of individuals at institutions including Stanford Medical Center, Yale, CalTech and MIT, companies like Google and Pratt & Whitney, and organizations like Society For Neuroscience, American Women in Science (AWIS), Association of Underrepresented Minority Fellow (AUMF), and Women Entrepreneurs in Science and Technology (WEST).

This event is part of the Careers Beyond Academia series, co-sponsored by The Graduate School, Duke Career Center, and the Office of Postdoctoral Services. Questions? Contact The Graduate School's professional development team at

Register now


Room 217, Perkins Library
Map and directions

Event Category

  • Professional Development