Thie post was contributed by guest blogger Melanie Fox, founder and executive director of Central Indiana Science Outreach and a Postdoc at Indiana University School of Medicine.
It’s not always easy to figure out what you want to do after graduate school, at least not while you’re still in the thick of it. About three or four years into my PhD in Molecular Biology, I realized I wanted a career in science outreach: engaging the public to promote an awareness and understanding of science. Like most science PhD programs, mine was geared toward careers in academia or industry. Luckily, I discovered that there are many ways to get a taste of a variety of careers while still working towards your degree. For me, experimenting with the career and networking opportunities available to me as a graduate student culminated in my founding a nonprofit called Central Indiana Science Outreach, or CINSO. We organize fun science events for adults and professional development opportunities for researchers interested in connecting with the public. My experiences in grad school, though often called “nontraditional,” helped prepare me to start CINSO. Here, I share some of the tips I learned along the way and hope they’ll help you make the most of the opportunities you’re provided throughout your PhD program.