The GradFUTURES Forum

2023 Theme: Advancing Innovation, Equity, and Inclusion via Professional Development

With dozens of engaging speakers, skill-building workshops, alum panels, and networking sessions, the GradFUTURES Forum prepares you for multiple futures through sessions that have real-time relevance to your success in graduate school and provide a glimpse into a world of possibilities beyond. Attendees share inspirational stories, receive practical advice, and build meaningful connections. The Forum continues to grow each year, with an annual reach of more than 3,600 attendees. 

2023 GradFUTURES Forum Events


Days of engaging workshops, panels, and networking events!


Events with virtual and in-person attendance options!


Speakers, presenters, and facilitators!


Registrants from all over the globe!

Forum 2023 Speakers, Presenters, and Panelists Included:

Ruha Benjamin
Professor, Department of African American Studies
Founding Director, Ida B. Wells Just Data Lab

Ruha Benjamin is an internationally recognized writer, speaker, and professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, where she is the founding director of the Ida B. Wells Just Data Lab. She is the award-winning author of Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code and editor of 

Ali Nouri *06, MOL
Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of the Office of Legislative Affairs

Dr. Ali Nouri is the Deputy Assistant  to the President and Deputy Director of the Office of Legislative Affairs at the White House.

Previously, he led the Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs as an Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Energy. He was previously serving as the Principal Deputy…

Rodney D. Priestley
Dean of the Graduate School
Pomeroy and Betty Perry Smith Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering
Clio Hall Award Recipient

Rodney D. Priestley is the dean of the Graduate School and the Pomeroy and Betty Perry Smith Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering and was named vice dean for innovation in 2020. Since joining Princeton’s faculty in 2009, Priestley has performed groundbreaking fundamental research in materials science, facilitated the development and…

Reshma Saujani
Founder, Girls Who Code
Author of “PAY UP: The Future of Women and Work (And Why It’s Different Than You Think)"

Hosted by the Public Lectures Committee, Reshma Saujani will deliver a talk, "Brave Not Perfect, a lecture that is being co-sponsored by GradFUTURES. 

Reshma Saujani, a first-generation American whose parents were Indian refugees from Uganda, grew up in Illinois and attended the University of Illinois (majoring in political…

Amy Aines
CEO, Damianakes Communications
Author, Championing Science

Amy Aines is a communication strategist, speaker, coach, and trainer who builds career success skills. She teaches graduate students and postdocs at universities and government agencies how to simplify the complex, engage listeners, foster productive relationships, and make a bigger impact…

Roger Aines
Author, Championing Science
Energy Program Chief Scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Lab

Dr. Roger Aines is Energy Program Chief Scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and co-author, Championing Science- Communicating Your Ideas to Decision Makers. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry from Carleton College,…

Scott Alpizar
Director of Venture Commercialization, Foundation Venture Capital Group
Social Impact Fellowship Mentor

Scott is Director of Venture Commercialization with the Foundation Venture Capital Group where he plays a critical role in sourcing and evaluating potential investment opportunities. He also works directly with academic entrepreneurs and management teams of health-related early-stage startup companies to support their commercialization needs, including contributing to research and development plans, intellectual property strategies, and financial modeling.

Craig Arnold
Vice Dean for Innovation, Susan Dod Brown Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Materials Science

Caig B. Arnold is the Vice Dean for Innovation and the Susan Dod Brown Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Materials Science at Princeton University.  Arnold previously was the Director of the Princeton Materials Institute from 2015 through 2022.  His research ranges from basic science to applied technology aimed at…

Ahmet Bayazitoglu *20, GER
English Faculty, The Hun School
GradFUTURES Forum Speaker

After completing my PhD at Princeton, I taught in the PU Writing Program. Returning to school, I received my JD at Yale Law School, and practiced for a while in New York with a focus on international litigation and as in-house counsel for a technology start-up in Princeton. In 2015, I returned to teaching, this time as a member of the English…

Elisabeth Bloom, GS, FIT
University Administrative Fellow

"Beyond the university level, there are so many different settings in which we as Princeton graduate students will be able to thrive post-graduation... As a University Administrative Fellow, I organized a panel for the 2023 GradFUTURES forum that will celebrate independent-school teaching as a post-Ph.D. career option."

Leonard Cassuto
American Higher Education Learning Cohort Convener
Inaugural GRADitude Award for Advancing Graduate Professional Development Recipient

"I've been concerned with graduate education and graduate student professional development for more than a decade, and have seen it tried at many campuses nationwide. Princeton is doing it right. I'm impressed with what I see here, and grateful to do my part to help. GradFUTURES is a terrific program, the state of the art."

Pilar Castro-Kiltz '10
Founder, Princeton Arts Alumni
CEO and Founder, More Canvas Consulting
Social Impact Fellowship Partner

Pilar Castro-Kiltz '10 is the CEO and founder of More Canvas Consulting. Launched in 2014, the firm offers services in strategic planning, operations improvement, and communications management to a portfolio of clients across industries, with special expertise in higher education, healthcare, social impact, and the arts. Pilar’s approach, which connects strategy with storytelling, draws both from her professional experience and her training at The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she earned an MBA and MFA, respectively.

Jim Cohen '86
Managing Director of Fitz Gate Ventures
GradFUTURES Learning Cohort Facilitator & Forum Facilitator
Clio Hall Award Recipient

Jim is Co-Founder and Managing Director of Fitz Gate Ventures. Jim and Mark Poag lead the Venture Capital & Startup Learning Cohort for the Graduate School. In collaboration with the Keller Center and the Princeton Entrepreneur Council, the learning cohort introduces graduate students to the world of venture capital and start-ups and…

Saadia El Karfi, GS, FIT
University Administrative Fellow
Social Impact Fellow

As a UAF "I get to work on issues and topics that are meaningful to me as an international student, as a woman, and as an academic."

Julia Freeland Fisher '07
Director of Education Research at the Clayton Christensen Institute

Julia Freeland Fisher is the director of education research at the Clayton Christensen Institute. She leads a team that educates policymakers and community leaders on the power of disruptive innovation in the K-12 and higher education spheres through its research. Her team aims to transform monolithic, factory-model education systems into…

Rose Guingrich, GS, PSY
Professional Development Associate 2022-23
Social Impact Fellow
GradFUTURES Learning Cohort Participant

Rose Guingrich is a graduate student in the Department of Psychology. She studies human-AI interaction through the lens of social psychology and social policy. Specifically, she is conncerned with the ethical implications of conversational AI on human relationships. 

"I've always had a variety of interests and wondered how I…

Joann Halpern
Director, Hasso Plattner Institute
Social Impact Fellowship Mentor

Dr. Joann Halpern is the Director of the Hasso Plattner Institute, New York (HPI) and an adjunct professor in the Department of Applied Statistics, Social Science, and Humanities at New York University. Prior to joining HPI, she was founding director of the German Center for Research and Innovation (GCRI), which was created as a cornerstone of the German government’s initiative to internationalize science and research.

Shannon Hoffman, GS, CBE
Professional Development Associate 2022

Shannon is a graduate student in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. Her research lies at the intersection of sustainability and biology, with a key focus on producing proteins that we typically source from animals using engineered yeast instead. She's originally from Ohio and earned her Bachelors of Chemical Engineering from…

Matt Johnson *13, PSY
Author, Branding That Means Business

Matt Johnson, PhD is a speaker, writer, and researcher, specializing in the application of psychology and neuroscience to branding. Following his Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from Princeton University, his work has probed the science of brand storytelling, experiential marketing, and consumer decision-making. He is the author of the top…

Colette Johnson *18, ENG
Chief Program Officer and Director of Operations, Freedom Reads
Clio Hall Award Recipient

"The programming that GradFUTURES offers is needed by graduate students, who are recognizing the broad value of their training, and want to find careers that allow them to engaged with values and career paths within and beyond the academy."

Benjamin Kahan
Robert Penn Warren Professor of English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Louisiana State University

Benjamin Kahan is the Robert Penn Warren Professor of English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Louisiana State University. He has held fellowships from Washington University in St. Louis, Emory University, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Sydney, the National Humanities Center, the Reed Foundation, and the John Simon…

David Korfhage *00, POL
History Teacher, Montclair Kimberley Academy

After obtaining my graduate degree in Politics (focus on political theory) from Princeton, I elected to move into secondary school teaching.  I taught seven years at the Pingry School, and since 2007 have been a history teacher at Montclair Kimberley Academy, in Montclair, NJ.  Over my career, I have taught a variety of courses,…

Evangeline "Eva" Kubu
Associate Dean & Director of Professional Development

As the inaugural Associate Dean and Director, Eva provides strategic vision and leads the Graduate School's priority to make professional development an intrinsic and transformative part of graduate education at Princeton. She and her team spearheaded the GradFUTURES® campus-wide initiative to provide a comprehensive model of…

Erica Machulak
Founder and Lead Facilitator of Hikma

Erica Machulak (she/her), PhD, is the Founder and Lead Facilitator of Hikma, a social impact startup with a mission to mobilize scholarship for the public good through consulting, capacity building, and storytelling. Over the past two years, Hikma clients have secured $6M+ in research…

Sonali Majumdar
Assistant Dean for Professional Development

Sonali Majumdar is the liaison for the Natural Sciences & Engineering. She develops programs including orientations, first-year and third-year initiatives; co-leads the alum mentorship program and other alum engagement initiatives; and develops experiential programs with industry partners.

Ian McLaughlin
Vice President of Government Affairs, BioNJ
Social Impact Fellowship Mentor

Ian McLaughlin, Ph.D., is the Vice President of Government Affairs at BioNJ, which is the trade organization that represents approximately 400 companies and organizations in the life sciences throughout New Jersey—from large biopharmaceutical companies to biotech start-ups. A life scientist by training, Ian completed his Ph.D. in neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania where his research focused on characterizing a neuronal circuit that regulates addiction and mood-related psychiatric conditions. Prior to joining the team at BioNJ, Ian worked as a Policy Analyst in the New Jersey Assembly Majority Office, focusing on Health policy. 

Andrea Morris *99, MOL
Assistant Dean and Director, Career & Professional Development, Rockefeller University
GradFUTURES Mentor & Alum-in-Residence (Summer 2022, Spring/Summer 2023)
Clio Hall Award Recipient

"GradFUTURES has been a great way to build stronger connections to Princeton's Graduate School and also to current graduate students..."

Laura Murray
Assistant Director, Learning Programs, The McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning
University Administrative Fellowship Mentor
Clio Hall Award Recipient

Laura is the Assistant Director, Learning Programs in The McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning, where she creates initiatives and programming to support graduate students across the university. Laura leads a program to support graduate student and postdoctoral scholar learning and thriving across the university. Her favorite part of this role is engaging directly with emerging scholars to help them identify and work toward authentic goals while cultivating a sense of purpose and meaning both within the academy and beyond it.

Mark Poag '93
Co-Founder and Managing Director, Fitz Gate Ventures
Learning Cohort Facilitator & GradFUTURES Forum Speaker
Clio Hall Award Recipient

“Leading this venture capital cohort is so much fun since we’re teaching these grad students who are brilliant experts in their respective fields of study a topic with which most of them are not very familiar.  I’ve enjoyed getting to know many of them better and am excited about their innovative startup ideas.  Hopefully, once they are ready to raise outside capital, they’ll be a little better prepared after taking this class.” 

Mika Provata-Carlone *02, COL
Independent Scholar, Translator, Editorial Consultant and Illustrator, Contributing Editor at Bookanista
Mentor, GradFUTURES Graduate Alum Mentorship Program

Mika has been a mentor with the GradFutures Graduate Alum Mentorship Program at Princeton since its creation in 2019, working with graduate students in several departments in the Humanities. She is an independent scholar, translator, editorial consultant and illustrator, and a contributing editor for the literary journal Bookanista. At…

Matt Rohal
Associate Editor of Skills for Scholars, Princeton University Press

Matt J. M. Rohal is Associate Editor of Skills for Scholars at Princeton University Press.

He began his career in 2013 as an Editorial Assistant and later an Assistant Editor of Politics at Oxford University Press in New York City, before moving on to Princeton University Press in 2016, as Assistant Editor and later Associate…

Gabriella Rosen Kellerman
Author, TomorrowMind

Gabriella Rosen Kellerman is an author, entrepreneur, start-up executive, and Harvard-trained physician with expertise in behavioral and organizational, change, digital health, wellbeing, and AI. Her first book, Tomorrowmind, co-authored with

Rob Tempio
Publisher, Princeton University Press
University Administrative Fellowship Mentor
GradFUTURES Forum Speaker

Rob Tempio acquires and edits books for PUP in the areas of philosophy, political theory, and the ancient world (classics, ancient history, and archaeology).

Sandra Toussaint-Burgher
President and CEO of United Way of Greater Mercer County
Social Impact Fellowship Mentor

Sandra Toussaint-Burgher serves as the President and CEO of United Way of Greater Mercer County. She provides executive leadership and vision to the organization. Prior to that Sandra held the position of Vice President of Resource Development & Strategic Partnerships. Sandra has more than twenty years experience in fund development, strategic partnerships, and marketing. She’s held senior positions at local and national organizations including Youth Communication, Inc., Special Olympics, and Twenty-First Century Foundation.

Joe Tylka *19, MAE
Research Scientist, Siemens Corporate Technology
Learning Cohort Speaker, GradFUTURES Mentor & Alum-in-Residence (Spring/Summer 2023)
Clio Hall Award Recipient

Dr. Joe Tylka is a research scientist at Siemens Corporate Technology whose expertise lies in multichannel signal processing, intelligent control, and machine learning. He received his Ph.D. in 2019 from Princeton University, where his dissertation research focused on virtual navigation of measured 3D sound fields.

James M. Van Wyck
Assistant Dean for Professional Development

James M. Van Wyck is the liaison for the Humanities & Social Sciences. He manages graduate student professional development programs, strategic communications, the GradFUTURES Fellows program, including the University Administrative Fellows Program, and the Community College Teaching Initiative.

Raghuveer Vinukollu *11, CEE
Head - Climate Insights & Advisory, Munich Re US
Mentor, GradFUTURES Graduate Alum Mentorship Program

Raghuveer Vinukollu is the Head of Climate Insights and Advisory at Munich Reinsurance America, Inc., based in Princeton, New Jersey. He has a PhD in land surface hydrology from the Civil and Environmental Engineering department; he is also one of the Advisory Council members for the department. He is a passionate advocate for climate…

Raghuveer photo
“The GradFUTURES program is an excellent framework to connect Ph.D. students and candidates to research and industry leaders. I would like to emphasize the GradFUTURES Forum, which not only gets Princeton graduate alumni and graduate students together but also highlights excellence in terms of how Princeton alumni are contributing on important topics and also the really amazing work of graduate students at Princeton.” 

Raghuveer Vinukollu *11, CEE, Head - Climate Insights & Advisory, Munich Re US

Ali Nouri
“I want to thank gradFUTURES for pulling together this event because there are so many issues right now in public policy that have a nexus with science and technology. We really need more students, postdocs, and faculty members to bring their advice to policymakers on these issues. Not only that, but this event is helpful for students to pursue a career path from academia to public policy. GradFUTURES has done a terrific job of building that ecosystem and community here at Princeton in order to help support those efforts.” 

––Ali Nouri, *06 (MOL), Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Energy

Past GradFUTURES Forum Speakers & Presenters