Zoë Buonaiuto is Portfolio Manager & Director of Operations, Black Swan Capital. She earned a Ph.D. in History in 2018, and was a University Administrative Fellow (UAF) in the Office of the Dean of the College in the Fall of 2016. She later worked for the Princeton University Investment Company before moving away from Princeton, and now volunteers much of her time with the GradFUTURES initiative and Princeton's Graduate Alumni Giving campaign.
"Traditionally, academia has not fostered many opportunities to discuss alternative career paths. GradFUTURES is filling this gap, offering a supportive environment for students to share their concerns, get mentorship, and seek new, meaningful positions with their graduate degrees.
My UAF position was with the Office of the Dean of the College in the Fall of 2016. With my mentor Dean Rebekah Massengill and fellow UAF Jessie Schwab, I poured over Princeton’s undergraduate course catalog and syllabi to identify which existing classes explored the intersections of culture, identity, and power. The thought was that the University could “tag” these courses so students could more easily find educational opportunities that broadened their understanding of cultural difference. The results of our work were included in the Report of the Task Force on General Education.
Participating in the UAF program was one of the most formative experiences I had at Princeton. The program provided me important mentorship, a supportive community, and lasting connections that expanded my vision of what I could do post-PhD."
What advice do you have for current graduate students regarding their professional development?
In everything you do, be authentic. And never underestimate the power of a handwritten thank you note.