Graduate Alums

Forging connections among and between graduate alums and current graduate students is a central priority in helping graduate students hone highly transferable skills, build a professional network, and explore pathways within and beyond the academy. Since its inception, hundreds of graduate alums have joined the GradFUTURES initiative serving as mentors, role models, and advocates for current graduate students by sharing their stories, expertise, advice, and connections. Below are just a few of the many ways you can make a difference.

Join the GradFUTURES Initiative!

  • Register to mentor current graduate students in our GradFUTURES Graduate Alum Mentorship Program and provide ongoing advice and support. 
  • Arrange an experiential opportunity at your institution or organization, such as a part time fellowship or micro internship for current graduate students
  • Host graduate students at your organization for a site visit as part of our Industry and Non Profit Exploration Days and Humanities Expeditions 
  • Serve as a panelist, guest speaker, or facilitator at one of our speaker or panelist for our professional development programs
  • Become an Alum-in-Residence at the Graduate School to meet one-on-one with graduate students as well as have group discussions, in person or online.
  • Join our GradFUTURES LinkedIn group to connect with current graduate students, fellow graduate alums, and the broader graduate community.
  • Attend the GradFUTURES Forum, a campus-wide professional development conference for graduate students, alums, faculty and staff.
  • Volunteer to share your career journey and advice as a guest on the GradFUTURES Podcast


Graduate alum mentors in the GradFUTURES mentorship program


Graduate alum volunteer judges at Princeton Research Day 2023


Graduate alum speakers, panelists, and participants at professional development events in 2023

Ann Kirschner
“It’s time to redefine success for Ph.Ds. In this moment of great transformation around careers and graduate education, GradFUTURES is providing graduate students with the skills, opportunities and mentors they need to diversify their professional prospects. I wish the programs and support provided by GradFUTURES  existed when I was a graduate student."

Ann Kirschner *78 (ENG)

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Graduate Alum Profiles

Diya Abdeljabbar *12, CBE
Director of Technical Operations, Merck

Diya Abdeljabbar is the Director of Technical Operations at the Merck & Company vaccine manufacturing site in Durham, NC. The scope of his current role includes technology transfer, validation, and commercialization of a manufacturing process to produce Merck’s nonavalent human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine. This role involves building a…

B. Ben Baldanza *86, SPIA
Chief Executive Officer, Diemacher, LLC
Star Lessons in Leadership Keynote Speaker

The inaugural keynote speaker for the GradFUTURES Star Lessons in Leadership series, B. Ben Baldanza *86, a Princeton School of Public and International Affairs alumnus, was the CEO of Spirit Airlines from 2005-2016. He is currently is Chief Executive Officer of Diemacher, LLC.


Alana Ballantyne *13, GER
Planning Director, VCCP

"Stepping outside my comfort zone as an academic was really scary at first, but I'm really pleased that I pushed myself."

Carol Barash *89, ENG
Author, Educator, and Entrepreneur
Alum-in-Residence (Spring 2022)
Clio Hall Award Recipient

Award-winning author, educator, and entrepreneur Carol Barash holds degrees from Yale (BA, summa cum laude), UVA (MA), and Princeton (Ph.D.) and has spent 20+ years innovating EdTech.

Udit Batra *96, CBE
President and CEO, Waters Corporation
Clio Hall Award Recipient

Dr. Udit Batra is a strong champion for graduate student professional development and of experiential programs. He recognized the importance of internship experience for Ph.D.s, but noted that the demands of doctoral training often make it challenging for graduate students to take part in these experiences. In 2020, while serving as CEO of…

Dan Berbecel *19, POL
Assistant Professor of Political Science, York College
Community College Teaching Fellow Alum

"I would recommend this program to any Princeton graduate student, and they will gain a lot by participating in it."

Natalie Berkman *18, FIT
Responsable Ingénierie Pédagogique (Instructional Design Manager), ESSEC Business School
Mentor, GradFUTURES Graduate Alum Mentorship Program
Alum-in-Residence (Summer 2023)

"Organizing the first Grad Student Career Meetup helped me to start picturing myself doing other things, and now I am happily managing academics at a creative media school in Paris."

Kristin Bietsch *15, POP
Senior Demographer, Avenir Health
GradFUTURES Virtual Meetup Speaker

Kristin Bietsch finished her PhD in Demography at Princeton’s Office of Population Research in 2015.  She moved to Washington D.C. where she spent 2 years working as a Research Associate at the Population Reference Bureau.  She has worked at Avenir Health for the last 3 years conducting research on fertility and family planning in developing countries.  Prior to COVID-19 she travelled extensively conducting trainings at Ministries of Health in Asia and Africa.   She lives in Connecticut with her spouse (who she met while in graduate school), their 9-month-old daughter, and dog.  

We empower graduate students to create their future(s) -- on their terms.


Established by the Graduate School in fall of 2019, GradFUTURES® serves as Princeton’s professional development hub for empowering graduate student futures through a broad spectrum of skills training, mentorship, bespoke experiential opportunities and interdisciplinary learning programs. 

Learn more about our approach.