Beyond Academia: Career Pathways in Physics

Thursday, February 19, 2015, 5pm - 7pm
Toll Physics Building, Room 1412

Our 2015 panel discussion was recently featured in the APS CSWP/COM Gazette! Read the pdf directly at this link or read more about the Gazette on their website.

The Women in Physics at the University of Maryland hosted a panel discussion of physics careers outside academia. The audience joined us to discuss job searches, job experiences, and career paths with our panelists:

To learn more about our panelists, visit our Meet the Panelists page. The panel discussion started with light refreshments at 5:00 pm followed by introductions from our panelists. After the following question and answer session, there was time for networking and light refreshments at the end of the event.

Congratulations to the winners of free dinner with our panelists! RSVPs and questions for our panelists received before February 13, 2015 were entered into a drawing for a chance to continue networking after the panel ends. The winners listed below must contact us at to confirm their attendance or unclaimed spots will be offered to runner up RSVPs.

We would like some of our questions to come from the audience — what is it you would like to know about non-academic careers? Leave us a comment on this Facebook post or send an e-mail to

Thank you!

This event is funded in part by the Graduate Student Activities Fee and is therefore open to the entire Graduate Student Community. Undergraduate students and researchers from all departments are also welcome. Thank you to the Graduate Student Government for their generous support of this event!

The event is sponsored in part by the the College Park branch of The American Association of University Women. Since 1929, our branch has been supporting education and equity for women and girls at the local level and worked to connect local issues with AAUW national goals. Meetings are free and open to the public.

We also thank the Physics Department Office of Student and Education Services for their support and help with event logistics. Thank you to Don Lynch for helping us create an audio recording of this event.

Thank you to all who came to our GroupRaise event at Jason's Deli on January 8! You can view more about this past event on our Facebook Event or view a photo of the restaurant full of physicists during the event.

Thank you as well to those who participated in our fundraiser at Blaze Pizza on Jan 12! You can view more about this past event on our Facebook Event.

Why Beyond Academia?

Due to the narrow representation of careers held by mentors in an academic setting, most physics graduate and undergraduate students are unaware of the many non-academic career pathways open to them and, once made aware, receive little guidance in preparing for and accessing these opportunities. Academia is the most commonly discussed career path for physics students. In 2011 and 2012, 58% of students receiving a bachelor's degree in physics entered graduate school (1). Most PhD students continue on the traditional academic path by taking postdoctoral positions rather than applying to potentially permanent positions outside of academia (e.g., for recent classes of Physics PhDs, 60% held a postdoctoral position as their initial employment (2)). However, only approximately 25% of all those graduating with a PhD in the sciences will remain in academia (3). Because of this low rate, it is imperative that institutions of higher learning provide their students with an understanding of the alternative career pathways available to them. To this end, our career panel will focus on jobs outside of academia. In addition to sharing important career information, this event will provide current students with a network of professionals engaged in careers outside of academia and capable of advising them on the steps needed to bridge from academia to these exciting career opportunities.

Previous Career Panel

We successfully hosted a similar career panel in 2012. Details on the speakers and an audio file of the discussion can be found on our 2012 Career Panel page.

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