Academic, government, industry, and nonprofit leaders to headline Graduate School's 4th annual professional development conference

March 22, 2023

GradFUTURES Forum 2023 offers opportunities for graduate students to explore professional pathways, discover internships, and connect with mentors. The event will be held on campus March 27- April 1, with virtual options also available.

With engaging keynote speakers, skill-building workshops, and networking sessions, the GradFUTURES Forum will highlight diverse career options within and beyond the academy. Twenty-one sessions over six days will give graduate students the opportunity to think about life after the degree, whether their interests lie in science and technology, arts and humanities, entrepreneurship, education or social impact. Now in its fourth year, this unique event brings together graduate students, alumni, faculty, staff, and industry partners to empower graduate students as they consider their next steps. 

Schedule and Registration 

  • Princeton-affiliated graduate students, faculty, staff, and alumni are welcome to join us in person or online Monday, March 27-Saturday, April 1: Plan your schedule and register for sessions.
  • Virtual sessions are open to the public; the event is free of charge. Register for virtual sessions.
  • Don't miss...
    • Princeton's first-ever Internship and Fellowship Fair (exclusive for Princeton graduate students) will feature nonprofit, public, and private sector organizations, as well as campus offices, that have partnered with the Graduate School to offer opportunities designed to fit graduate students’ busy schedules. Most of these opportunities are fully funded by the Graduate School and do not require work authorization. Free professional LinkedIn headshot photos and LinkedIn profile critiques will also be offered. The first 100 graduate students to attend the fair will receive a copy of the book Linked: Conquer LinkedIn. Own Your Future.
    • Several alumni panels and a networking lunch on Saturday, April 1st -- a great chance to build connections and community among and between graduate students and alumni mentors.

Session Highlights

Students will get practical advice, hear inspirational stories and build connections on campus and beyond in 21 unique sessions with dozens of speakers and panelists. Visit to view the full schedule and to register. 

Ali Nouri

Championing Science to Policymakers: Fireside Chat with Ali Nouri *06 (MOL), Assistant Secretary at the Department of Energy 

When it comes to informing new policies or changes to society, having solid science is only the first step. In this fireside chat with Ali Nouri *06 (Assistant Secretary at the Department of Energy) and Roger Aines (Energy Program Chief Scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Lab), we will discuss communicating science to decision-makers and the public through the lens of climate and energy, particularly in an age of rampant misinformation. The chat will be moderated by Shannon Hoffman, GS, CBE. Networking Reception to follow. 


Ruja Benjamin: Photo by Cyndi Shattuck

Inclusive Leadership: Ruha Benjamin Viral Justice Book Talk and Fireside Chat with Graduate School Dean Rodney Priestley

Ruha Benjamin, internationally recognized writer, speaker, professor of African American Studies and founding director of the Ida B. Wells Just Data Lab, will talk about her new book, Viral Justice, and discuss with Graduate School dean Rodney D. Priestley the relationship between innovation and inequity and ways to prepare the next generation of Ph.D. s to be inclusive and socially responsible leaders. Lunch will be served immediately after the talk. All in-person graduate student attendees will receive a complimentary copy of Professor Benjamin's book.


Matt Johnson

 Harnessing Neuroscience for Effective & Memorable Communication: Matt Johnson *13 (PSY)

Alumnus Matt Johnson will share how to ensure your communications are effective and memorable. His work probes the science of brand storytelling, experiential marketing, and consumer decision-making. He is the author of the top-selling consumer psychology book, Blindsight: The (mostly) hidden ways marketing reshapes our brains (BenBella, 2020), and most recently, Branding That Means Business (Economist Books, Fall 2022). In 2023, Johnson was inducted into Thinkers50 Radar as one of 30 “business thinkers with ideas most likely to shape the future." Moderated by Rose Guingrich, GS, PSY. 


Gabriella Rosen Kellerman

Building Resilience & Cultivating Creativity: Gabriella Rosen Kellerman, Chief Innovation Officer, Betterup and Co-Author of Tomorrowmind

In their book Tomorrowmind, Gabriella Rosen Kellerman and co-author Princeton Ph.D. alumnus, Martin Seligman, a founder of the field of positive behavioral psychology, offer a combination of skills that produce resilient outcomes: cognitive agility, emotional regulation, optimism, self-efficacy, and self-compassion. Kellerman will discuss how to cultivate creativity and an innovation mindset as an individual and when leading a team. Princeton graduate students who register and attend will receive a complimentary copy of Tomorrowmind. Moderated by Laura Murray, McGraw Center.

Leonard Cassuto
Julia Freeland Fisher

Ways to Advance Innovation, Equity, and Inclusion via Professional Development: Leonard Cassuto and Julia Freeland Fisher ’07

Leonard Cassuto and Julia Freeland Fisher ’07 will join Associate Dean Eva Kubu to discuss the interconnected priorities of increasing access to graduate education and ensuring equitable access to opportunity. Cassuto is a professor of English at Fordham University, the author of The New PhD: How to Build a Better Graduate Education, a columnist for The Chronicle of Higher Education --and a long-time advocate for student-centric approaches to graduate student success. Fisher is the director of education research at the Clayton Christensen Institute and the author of Who You Know: Unlocking Innovations That Expand Students’ Networks which focuses on ways to enhance students’ access to and ability to navigate new peer, mentor, and professional networks.

Amy Aines

Giving a Great Talk, How to Engage Listeners When You Are the Only Expert in the Room: Amy Aines

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 with their work. Aines is CEO of Damianakes Communications, a consulting firm she founded in 1999, and co-author of Championing Science – Communicating Your Ideas to Decision Makers, a ‘how to’ book based on her four decades of work with scientists and engineers in the wireless, tech, and biotech industries. A former telecommunications executive, her industry roles have run the gamut from corporate spokesperson for a $10B company, to culture and brand builder, technical writer, employee motivator, change manager, media trainer, workshop designer, speech writer, and speaker coach.


For more information, visit to view the full schedule and register.