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Graduate Peers' Schedules

Winter 2016
Peer Advisor Availability

Writing Peer
Kyle Crocco

Mon: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Tue: 10 a.m.-noon
Wed: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Thu: 10 a.m.-noon

Funding Peer
Stephanie Griffin
Mon: 10 a.m.-noon
Wed: noon-2 p.m.

Diversity Peer
Ana Romero

Mon: noon-2 p.m.
Wed: 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

The peers sometimes hold events or attend meetings during their regular office hours. To assure you connect with your Graduate Peer Advisor, we encourage you to contact them by email and make an appointment.



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Entries in careers (9)


Versatile Ph.D. STEM Online Panel Discussion: 'Careers in Software Development'

Versatile Ph.D. will host a free web-based asynchronous panel discussion on "Careers in Software Development" from February 22-26. All panelists are Ph.D.s from STEM fields, including:

  • An Applied Mathematics Ph.D. who has worked in software development for many years as a developer and Team Lead, and is now Technical Project Manager at a legal software company
  • A Biophysics Ph.D. who is a Scientific Software Developer at a mathematical computing software company
  • A Genetics Ph.D. who does Business Development, Sales Engineering, and Technical Account Management at an enterprise software company while also adjuncting on the side
  • An Applied Mathematics Ph.D. who adjuncted briefly before becoming a Software Developer at General Motors

You can interact with panelists throughout the week on the site, or follow the discussion via email. All questions welcome, from the most general to the very specific. As a UCSB graduate student, you have free access to the information and resources on the Versatile Ph.D. website. To learn more about accessing its premium content, such as the panel discussions, follow these simple instructions provided by the Graduate Division.


Versatile Ph.D. Humanities and Social Science Online Panel Discussion: 'Careers in Business'

Versatile Ph.D. will host a free web-based asynchronous panel discussion on "Careers in Business" from January 25-29. All panelists are Ph.D.s from Humanities and Social Science fields, including:

  • An English Ph.D. who went into training, learning, and development in the corporate sphere and is now Senior Director of Leadership and Organizational Development for 7-Eleven
  • A Communication Studies Ph.D. who went into consulting, then sales, and is now Sales Strategy and Development Leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • A recent English and American Literature Ph.D. (2011) who left adjuncting to join the Internal Communications Team at Nestle Purina Petcare
  • A History and Philosophy of Science Ph.D. who after a few years as a postdoc and adjunct, got into market entry planning and is now Partner in a consulting firm that focuses on the U.S. renewable energy market

You can interact with panelists throughout the week on the site, or follow the discussion via email. All questions welcome, from the most general to the very specific. As a UCSB graduate student, you have free access to the information and resources on the Versatile Ph.D. website. To learn more about accessing its premium content, such as the panel discussions, follow these simple instructions provided by the Graduate Division.


Versatile PhD Online Panel Discussion Nov. 17-21: 'Careers in Government Research' (STEM Fields)

Are you a STEM graduate student or postdoc interested in a career in government research? Versatile Ph.D. will be hosting a free web-based asynchronous panel discussion on Careers in Government Research from November 17-21. All panelists are Ph.D.s or ABDs in STEM fields, working in agencies such as NASA, EPA, US Air Force, US Geological Survey, California Department of Water and Resources, and Health Canada.

You can interact with panelists throughout the week on the site or follow the discussion via email. All questions welcome, from the most general to the very specific.

For more information on the panel, click here.


Versatile Ph.D. Online Panel Discussion: Careers in Higher Ed Development (Humanities/Social Science Fields) Oct 20-24

Versatile Ph.D. will host a free web-based asynchronous panel discussion on Careers in Higher Education Development from October 20-24. All panelists are Ph.D.s or ABDs in the humanities or social sciences, working in areas such as Development Writing, Prospect Research, Major Gifts, Corporate and Foundation Relations, and Alumni Communications.

You may be surprised to learn how well things you already know how to do can carry over to this field! You can find more information here. You may read and participate in the discussion directly on the site, or you may follow the discussion via email.

All UCSB graduate students are eligible for upgraded access to the VPhD website thanks to the university's institutional subscription. To start your Versatile Ph.D. premium account credential, click here


Versatile PhD Online Panel Discussion: Subject Matter Consulting (All Fields) 9/22-9/26

Versatile PhD will host two free web-based asynchronous panel discussions on Subject Matter Consulting: One in the Humanities forum, the other in the STEM forum.

All panelists are PhD or ABD and became consultants based on the subject matter knowledge they developed during their PhD programs. Some are independent consultants, others work for consulting organizations. The point is, they found a need for their knowledge outside the academy.

Panelists introduce themselves on September 22, and answer your questions for the rest of the week. OK to invite friends; anyone may register on VPhD for free and enjoy this great web-based discussion. Threaded discussion board format; participate anytime during the week. You can find more information on this event here.

Read and participate directly on the site, or turn on your VPhD email notifications to follow the discussion. Email settings are under MyVPhD on the site. All UCSB graduate students are eligible for upgraded access to the VPhD website thanks to the university's institutional subscription. To start your Versatile PhD premium account credential, start here


Career Path to Teach at a Community College

(From left to right) Dr. Carrie Hutchinson, Dr. Matthew Kay, Dr. Danielle Swiontek, and Dr. Jens-Uwe Kuhn. Credit: Hala Sun.

If you enjoy teaching, but you're not sure if you want to teach at a four-year college or research-university, then you might want to consider employment at a community college. On June 4, 2014, four professors from Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) came to UCSB for a panel discussion to share their experiences working at a community college setting and to offer some tips to secure a teaching job after graduating from UCSB. Here is the recap of the key points they shared:

Is Community College Right For You?

  • You LOVE to teach: All four panelists emphasized this aspect multiple times. The advantage of teaching at a community college is that you really get to focus on teaching. There is no mandate or pressure to conduct research or to publish. If you do want to conduct research, you can, but you probably won’t have much time to do so because you will be quite occupied with your teaching. Plus, there will be no teaching assistants to help you grade students’ papers. Teaching is such a crucial aspect at a community college, and thus, the main evaluation criterion for promotion and tenure.
  • You want to work with a DIVERSE student population: The panelists mentioned that teaching at a community college may be different than teaching at a four-year university, mainly due to the diversity of the students' backgrounds, motivations, and interests. Because of this wide range of diversity, it is crucial for instructors to have the capacity AND the flexibility to tailor the curriculum and lessons according to students’ different learning needs and interests.
  • You want to be TENURED, perhaps in four years: Becoming a tenured professor may be one of your goals in the near future. Typically, if you’re working at a research university, you are expected to conduct research, publish, and secure grants and funding. But, at a community college, the path to tenure is based primarily on your teaching ability. So, if you’re already an awesome teacher, and your students and colleagues have commended your teaching style and curriculum and assessment design skills, then you should seriously consider working at a community college. And remember, some community colleges, such as SBCC, pay you well.

How to Get a Job at a Community College, specifically at SBCC?

  • Be proactive! Don’t rely on the adjunct pool online: All four panelists had a very different route to their jobs at SBCC. However, they were all proactive in reaching out to various departments at SBCC. They did not wait until someone called them from the adjunct pool list. Although you should regularly update your online application materials, an effective way to find a teaching slot is to actually speak with someone who may know more about upcoming openings within a department.
  • Gain experience teaching, especially at a community college level: To be a competitive job candidate for a full-time teaching position at SBCC, the panelists highly recommended gaining teaching experience either by volunteering, shadowing, or co-teaching in a community college setting. Although you may have some teaching experience as a teaching assistant, they prefer candidates who have taught community college students.
  • Network, network, network: All the panelists emphasized the importance of networking as a key to success in securing a job after graduating UCSB. Nowadays, having a Ph.D. degree will not guarantee a job. The panelists suggest using your professors, colleagues, and your advisor as resources to reach out to a broader network.

If you see yourself in future doing more teaching than research, and if you are capable or have the passion to work with diverse student populations, a community college might be a good career option for you. According to the four UCSB alumni panelists, when people get hired at the community college, they tend to stay until they retire—it is that good. The pay is competitive, and the support system within the department and the college is great. So plan ahead! Be proactive and network with these amazing panelists. Below are the panelists’ bios:

  • Dr. Carrie Hutchinson:  Dr. Hutchinson obtained her Ph.D. degree in Interpersonal and Intergroup Communication at UCSB. She is currently a tenured Assistant Professor at SBCC, where she teaches Interpersonal Communication, Intercultural Communication, and Communication in Organizations. She also directs the annual study abroad programs taking students to various international destinations, such as Rwanda, India, and South Africa. She has authored two textbooks and several peer-reviewed research articles.
  • Dr. Matthew Kay:  Dr. Kay was born and raised in Santa Barbara where he developed a love of the natural world. His passion translated into a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from University of Oregon (emphasis in forest biology and mycology). Later, he earned his Master’s degree in Marine Ecology from University of Oregon. For his Ph.D. degree at the UCSB Bren School, he focused on Biology and Fishery Management, specifically the California spiny lobster. After completing his work, he taught as an adjunct instructor at SBCC, started his own consulting business, and worked as a researcher at UCSB. In Fall 2013, Dr. Kay was hired full time at SBCC.
  • Dr. Danielle Swiontek:  Dr. Swiontek obtained her Ph.D. degree in History at UCSB with an emphasis in U.S. Women’s History. Prior to attending graduate school at UCSB, she worked in marketing, advertising, and public relations for high tech firms in the Bay Area. At SBCC, she currently teaches History and serves as a faculty advisor to the SBCC Feminist Student Club.
  • Dr. Jens-Uwe Kuhn:  Dr. Kuhn obtained his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from University of Constance in Germany. For his Master’s degree, he studied Chemistry at Northern Arizona University, focusing on Atmospheric Environmental Chemistry. At UCSB, he obtained his Ph.D. in Marine BioInorganic Chemistry. While pursuing his doctoral degree at UCSB, he worked at Center for Science and Engineering Partnerships (CSEP); he continues to work with CSEP. Prior to teaching at SBCC, Dr. Kuhn taught at several different schools (four-year, two-year, public, and private) in Arizona and California. At SBCC, he teaches mostly introductory, general and Organic Chemistry courses. He also serves as the Department Chair in the Chemistry Department at SBCC and the Faculty Lead for the STEM Transfer Program.

As you consider employment at a community college, you might also find a recent series of articles by Rob Jenkins of use. An associate professor of English at Georgia Perimeter College, Jenkins writes a regular column for The Chronicle of Higher Education on issues related to two-year colleges. Please see these recent articles:


Navigating Your Non-Academic Career Path: Tips from Dave Forman's Talk 

Credit: HCI.orgIf you're thinking of a career outside of academia, then these tips from Dave Forman, UCSB undergrad and grad school alum and Chief Learning Officer of the Human Capital Institute, can set you on the right path to successfully navigate your non-academic career search.

Transferable Skills

Academics all have skills that are easily transferable to the business world, such as

  • Understanding and using research and statistics
  • Writing (knowing how to write clearly, simply, to the point, with the reader in mind)
  • Presenting
  • Synthesizing a variety of views
  • Being flexible (in this world, job descriptions change all the time; so if you’re flexible and resilient, you will succeed)

Opportunities and Networks

Students should use their work and school experiences to build their opportunities and expand their networks. Specifically,

  • Get a foot in the door. Do contract work or internships. Each small job can lead to new experiences, skills, contacts, and new jobs.
  • Don't be timid. Try different jobs in different places. Risks lead to opportunities.
  • Don’t stop working. Continue to build your brand and network all the time. Build your brand through your writing, speaking, and work.
  • Find a mentor.

The Recruiting Process

Recruiters are always busy and have hundreds of applications for a few positions. Many people never make it to a phone interview, let alone an in-person interview.

To get to the top of a recruiter's list, you should

  • Get a referral from someone. Companies prefer referrals. Remember, referrals don't have to be from close friends or family. They can be from a colleague, or a colleague of a colleague. 
  • Apply early, even before jobs are advertised if possible.
  • Use LinkedIn and keep your profile up-to-date, as recruiters will first look at this page to find out about you.
  • Use Glassdoor to research the company and the industry you are interested working in. This information will help when crafting your message.

Crafting Your Message

Finally, hiring managers don’t want to hire people because the process takes time and they will have to train the new person. They want a person to solve their business problems yesterday, so craft your message to solve a company's problems, such as

  • Competitive Threats
  • Slow Revenue Growth
  • Merger or Acquisitions
  • Aging Workforce
  • Yearly Strategic Initiatives

Hiring managers also want people with skills. Let them know you have desired capabilities, such as

  • Learning Agility
  • Resilience and Flexibility
  • Curiosity
  • Passion
  • Ownership and Accountability
  • Team Collaboration

Getting a Job is a Full-Time Job

Finally, the skills to get a job are not the same as doing the job. Always remember that:

  • Getting a job is not a part-time endeavor. Approach it casually and you will fail. Take it seriously and you will succeed.
  • Research and preparation are essential. Used LinkedIn and Glassdoor.
  • Expand and leverage your connections from acquaintances, colleagues, family, and former jobs. With the right referral you might not even have to interview for a job.
  • Don’t wait in line. Uncover jobs before they are posted.

UCSB Career Services' New Assistant Director, John Coate, Will Focus on Graduate Student Services

John Coate is the new Assistant Director of UCSB Career Services. Coate will lead coordination of services for graduate students.UCSB graduate students have yet another advocate for their interests. Career Services has hired John Coate as the new Assistant Director/Coordinator, Graduate Student Services, effective this week.

Coate comes to UCSB with more than 12 years of experience in career development and counseling at UCLA, where he was Counseling Manager, Employer Services, and before that, a Career Counselor. Among his duties there, he counseled, instructed, and provided programming for undergraduate, master’s, and Ph.D. students in all areas of the transition from school to career.

For more than 10 years, he worked with graduate students on academic job search; critiques of CV’s and other academic documents; interview preparation; and transitions out of the academic arena. 

With a Master of Science degree in Counseling from Cal State Northridge, a depth and breadth of understanding of the unique issues graduate students face, as well as substantial counseling experience, Coate will bring even greater strength to the existing team of UCSB’s career counselors dedicated to helping graduate students.

Coate will also be working collaboratively on graduate student initiatives with Graduate Division’s Coordinator of Graduate Student Professional Development, Robert Hamm.

Coate – who pursued undergraduate studies at UC Santa Barbara before transferring to USC, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – is happy to be back on the UCSB campus.

“Having done undergraduate work at UCSB, I am especially thrilled about returning to this outstanding institution and further developing career services and resources that are cutting edge and highly applicable to this unique population of graduate students,” he said. “In this day and age there is a wider range of career possibilities than ever for Master’s and Ph.D. students, both inside and outside of academia. But with this comes the need, often, for help in navigating this reality, and I’m very excited and honored to be a part of this service at UCSB.”

Director of UCSB Career Services Ignacio Gallardo is looking forward to Coate’s contributions to the university’s services for grad students. “I am thrilled to have John join the Career Services team. He brings the combination of counseling skills and management experience we need for this position. In addition, John shares Career Services’ commitment – and has the ability – to help UCSB students identify how they want to contribute to the workforce and then to strategize to achieve those goals.”


Noozhawk Career Site Offers Free Service to Job Seekers

Besides UCSB’s Career Services Center, grad students have another resource when searching for jobs, both locally and nationally.

At, job seekers can submit their resumes; and receive job matches and job alerts – all for free.

Kim Clark, Noozhawk’s vice president of business development, says the jobs platform offers a more secure and stress-free alternative to sites such as Craigslist, which often contain bogus job postings.

After the free sign-up, job seekers may gain access to job matches; and view and apply for relevant jobs both online and via the job-seeker app.

To sign up, go to