Princeton Graduate School will host Civic Science Fellow to explore diverse Ph.D. career paths

Dec. 1, 2023

Postdocs are encouraged to apply by December 15 for fellowship with GradFUTURES team

Aligned with Princeton University’s mission to serve the nation and the world, the Princeton Graduate School will be a host partner for the Civic Science Fellows program, a pioneering initiative designed to strengthen the role of science in public life.

Clio Hall

Through the program, a postdoctoral fellow will work with the Graduate School’s GradFUTURES professional development team to advance equitable paths to a range of career opportunities for Ph.D. students. This full-time, 18-month position commencing in spring 2024 will focus on special projects and analysis to better understand the impact of holistic professional development, developing insights to inform efforts at Princeton and other graduate institutions. Recent Ph.D. recipients should apply by December 15th.

Rodney Priestley, dean of the Graduate School and the Pomeroy and Betty Perry Smith Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, said, “We’re delighted to join the impressive Civic Science Fellows host community. Through this fellowship on our GradFUTURES team, we hope to advance interdisciplinary conversations and innovative research that will support the professional aspirations of graduate students and their impact on society.”

Starting with its first cohort of Fellows in 2020, the Civic Science Fellows program has been building a network of leaders committed to ensuring that all people shape and benefit from science, technology, and innovation. The program brings together scientists, scholars, community leaders, journalists, educators, media producers, public-interest organizations, and funders to seed new collaborations between science, diverse communities, and civil society. Envisioned as a Civic Science Lab, Fellows and the organizations that host them carry out pioneering work to co-create pilots, partnerships, knowledge, models, and new ways of working. Fellows and partners engage as part of a network of learning and action that spans organizations, disciplines, and communities—a growing effort to catalyze civic science culture change. Along with Civic Science Fellows at other host organizations nationwide, the Princeton-based Fellow will participate in weekly online professional development and community-building activities facilitated by the Rita Allen Foundation.

A network of philanthropic, academic, and nonprofit partners, organized by the Science in Society Funder Collaborative and the Rita Allen Foundation, led the creation of the Fellows program to foster a culture of civic science in which broad engagement with science and evidence helps to inform solutions to society’s most pressing problems. Inherent in the program’s goals is support for professional development that involves collaboration between disciplines and organizations.

“As wicked challenges grow more complex, the world urgently needs new generations of leaders ready to connect science and diverse communities, across career stages and sectors, drawing on evidence and civic dialogue,” said Elizabeth Good Christopherson, president and chief executive officer of the Rita Allen Foundation. “We have a deeply supportive community ready to develop new knowledge in partnership with Princeton, where a Fellow will be ideally situated to catalyze new approaches to prepare the scholars and leaders of the future.”

Reporting to Eva Kubu, the associate dean for professional development and director of GradFUTURES at the Graduate School, the Princeton-based Fellow will research systems and structures that create equitable opportunities for Ph.D. students. “Now more than ever, delivering on the transformative promise of graduate education is integrally linked to reimagining professional development as an inclusion, equity, and innovation driver,” said Kubu. She sees the special projects in which the Fellow will be involved as part of the national conversation around the shifting paradigm of graduate student professional development. According to Kubu, “There is no longer a singular focus on the path to the professoriate. In professional development, we are embracing career diversity in ways that support the unique and evolving interests, aptitudes, identities, and aspirations of Ph.D. students today.”

Kubu said she hopes that the studies and analyses generated through the work of the Civic Science Fellow will add to the body of knowledge in the relatively new field of graduate student professional development. “We are very excited by this partnership with the Civic Science Fellows program,” said Kubu. “Our goal is to provide insights that advance professional development at Princeton and other graduate institutions around the country and the world.”