Students, Faculty and Alumni/ae Stories

Student, Faculty and Alumni/ae Perspectives on GradFUTURES

These stories and commentaries illuminate the journeys of graduate students who have participated in GradFUTURES programming, and render visible the campus-wide community of support available for graduate students-- from faculty, staff, and alumni as well as industry partners. 

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…

Avery Agles, GS, CBE
University Administrative Fellow

"My experience has totally transformed my idea of academia into a place where meaningful change and empowerment can happen."

Genevieve Allotey-Pappoe, GS, MUS
University Administrative Fellow
"The GradFutures program is a great initiative for the professional development of graduate students at Princeton."
Emilia Arguello, GS, CHM
Community College Teaching Fellow

"I am excited to participate in this fellowship to experience the personal connections – both as a mentee and as a mentor – that only a genuine teaching setting can offer.”

Alana Ballantyne *13 (GER)
"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)
GradFUTURES Forum Speaker

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

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…

Wendy Laura Belcher
Professor of Comparative Literature and African American Studies
"Fortunately, the graduate student professional development program at Princeton University provides training in just these types of skills and thus is an essential part of graduate student success now and in the future."
André Benhaïm
Associate Professor

"The leadership and opportunities promoted by GradFutures provide students with invaluable practical tools that will help them magnify their professional potential."

Natalie Berkman, *18 (FIT)
University Administrative Fellow

"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."

Marshall Brown
Director, Princeton Urban Imagination Center

Marshall Brown is an architect, urbanist, and scholar. Among other accomplishments, he has represented the United States at the prestigious Venice Architecture Biennale. His work is in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Crystal Bridges Museum. Brown is a MacDowell Fellow, and a Graham…

Alfonso Cebreros, *15 (ECO)
Manager of Real Sector Research, Banco de México

I received my Ph.D. in Economics from Princeton University in 2015. Since then I have been at the General Directorate of Economic Research at Banco de México. Initially I started my tenure as a researcher, but more recently have taken on more responsibilities as Manager of Real Sector Research. My current position implies that I need to manage…

Flora Champy
Assistant Professor

Flora Champy joined the Department of French and Italian as an Assistant Professor of French in September 2018. She holds a dual PhD in French Literature from the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon and Rutgers University. Her research focuses on eighteenth-century French political literature and philosophy, with special interests in classical…

Caitlin Charos, *19, ENG
University Administrative Fellow
"As a UAF, I found the structure, skill-building, and community I was looking for to make my graduate school experience more intentional. I highly recommend the program not only to those seeking to acquire job skills but also for those on campus searching for a greater sense of purpose and voice in the university."
Dane Christie, *19, CBE
"If you cannot convince people of the merit of your ideas in language they can understand, you are not going anywhere, since it is impossible to solve any meaningful problems by yourself."
Maayan Dauber, *15, ENG

I received my PhD in English from Princeton in 2015 after which I started working in the arts. I'm currently the Executive Director of the Eastern Region at American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic, where I spend my time raising money for the Orchestra. I live in Brooklyn with my husband and two children. 

"Princeton is at…

Julian Dierkes, *03, SOC
Associate Dean, University of British Columbia

After Princeton and a Post-Doc, I've been teaching at the University of British Columbia since 2002. From a theory-driven focus on sociology, I migrated to a more policy-focused regional studies concentration on Japan and now, for the past 10 years in particular, Mongolia. I've been an associate dean since 2018.

"In 30 years since…

Clarissa Ding, GS, CHE
Professional Development Working Group Member

Clarissa Ding is a PhD candidate in Chemistry, where she studies the structure and dynamics of catalytic materials using computational methods and neural network. In addition to research, she enjoys reading, painting and working on data science projects.

"GradFUTURES professional development newsletters always have a wealth of…

Sophal Ear, *97, SPIA
Associate Professor of Diplomacy and World Affairs, Occidental College

Re-elected to the Crescenta Valley Town Council in November 2018 to a second 3-year term, encompassing more than 22,000 residents in unincorporated Los Angeles County, California, Sophal Ear, PhD, is a tenured Associate Professor of Diplomacy & World Affairs at Occidental College…

Anna Eddelbuettel Hancock, GS, CBE

I graduated in May 2020 with my B.S. in biomedical engineering from Washington University in St. Louis. I spent the summer after my graduation interning with the cell therapy team at MilliporeSigma before starting graduate school here at Princeton.

"As an incoming first year student with limited prior industry experience, this…

Alicia M. Ejsmond-Frey, *19, CLA
GradFUTURES Summer Fellow, Open Innovation Team, Cabinet Office (London, UK)
"My department was surprised but delighted to find out that I was going to pursue a career in government, and in his introduction to my FPO the director of graduate studies said I was a good example of the various doors that a PhD opens other than the obvious one into academia."
Saadia El Karfi, GS, FIT
University Administrative 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."

Ma. Florevel (Floe) Fusin-Wischusen
“Partnering with the Graduate School in promoting our Education, Training and Outreach program has significantly raised awareness and increased participation from graduate students across campus.”
William A. Gleason
Hughes-Rogers Professor of English and American Studies;
"It's exciting to see how many new initiatives and opportunities for graduate student professional development are emerging here on campus, in communication, teaching, leadership, wellness, career management, and other crucial areas."
Jenny Greene
Professor of Astrophysical Sciences

"PTI supports our students not only by creating a strong community of like-minded people across the University, but also by providing a substantive teaching experience for our students."

Lindsay Griffiths, GS, ENG
University Administrative Fellow
"So far, my experience with GradFUTURES has been nothing short of lovely, and I look forward to future engagement."
Hasan Hameed, GS, HIS
University Administrative Fellow
"I've gotten to interact with people in departments as diverse as Professional Development and the Office of Undergraduate Student Life, giving me a much more nuanced sense of the complexity of the University and the range of different departments involved in serving the student community"
Drew Harker, *81, SPIA
Mentor, GradFUTURES Mentorship Program

After graduating from SPIA in 1981, I served on the professional staff of the Senate Armed Services Committee. I handled foreign policy and international security issues for the Committee from 1981 to 1986. One of my mentors from three summer internships at the State Department opened the door for me with the Committee. After leaving the…

Jiayue (Jenny) He, *08, ELE
"Emotional resilience is essential for a founder. One of my undergrad professors told me, “Once you are in a Ph.D. program, it is all about the emotional resilience to fail many times before you succeed.” His words rang very true in my Ph.D. career, and the same is true of being a founder — a role that requires persistence and resilience in the face of endless challenges."
Jake Herb, *17, CHE
University Administrative Fellow Alumni/ae

Jake Herb is a Principal Scientist in the Materials and Energy Technology Group at Physical Sciences, Inc. (PSI). PSI specializes in developing and transitioning advanced technology from the laboratory to commercial and government use. Jake contributes to product development in the areas of advanced lithium-ion anode and cathode materials…

Julio Herrera Estrada, *17, CEE
Applied Scientist, Descartes Labs

I am an Applied Scientist at Descartes Labs, a startup that develops software for geospatial data analyses and related solutions for businesses and government. As an Applied Scientist, I help teams advance their progress towards their sustainability goals and understand the impacts of climate variability by using statistical and machine…

Ken Igarza, GS, NEU

Ken Igarza is an NSF-GRFP fellow in Dr. Annegret Falkner's laboratory at the Princeton Neuroscience Institute (PNI), having previously studied and conducted research at Emory and Columbia University. At PNI, Ken studies how the brain generates drives that lead animals to seek social interactions and hopes to discover how these mechanisms go…

Nicole Jacoberger
Mentor, Community College Teaching Fellowship Program

Nicole Jacoberger is a mentor in the Community College Teaching Fellowship Program. Dr. Jacoberger is Assistant Professor of History at Camden County College. Dr. Jacoberger earned her Doctorate in Modern World history from St. John’s University, specializing in…

Anna Jacobson, GS, QCB
President, Princeton Citizen Scientists

I am a third-year graduate student in the department of Quantitative and Computational Biology. Most of my work is done in collaboration with the ZERO Lab in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. I do optimization of energy systems models; currently, I aim to make these models faster and more accurate through mathematical…

Patrice Jean, *99, MOL
Star Lessons in Leadership Keynote Speaker
During graduate school, I honed my skills as a scientist, but I also learned how important it was to engage with all people from different disciplines, places, lifestyles and cultures.
Sophie Jiang, GS, ARC
Professional Development Associate
The "UAF experience has deepened my understanding of multidisciplinary and multicultural communication."
Stanley N. Katz
Professor of Public and International Affairs;
"The Higher Education Workshop has been a boon for me as a scholar-teacher with a long commitment to the study of higher education policy."
Don Kirsch, *78, MOL
Facilitator, Drug Discovery GradFUTURES Learning Cohort
"The Dean’s office is supportive and helpful to those who want to pursue diverse careers in industry.  In fact, Princeton invited me back to lead a learning cohort of Princeton graduate students on the topic of drug discovery!"
Ann Kirschner, *78, ENG
GradFUTURES Forum Keynote Speaker

Dr. Kirschner is a national and global voice for higher education. An educator, author, entrepreneur, and veteran of four start-ups, Ann is an ardent champion of career diversity and supporter of making professional development intrinsic to graduate education. She is currently a University Professor at The City University of New York (CUNY),…

Josh Kotin
Associate Professor, Department of English
"The workshop is an important forum for exploring graduate student professional development in the twenty-first century."
Robbie LeDesma, GS, MOL
Research on the Road Participant
“Research on the Road” is a fantastic science communication/public speaking event that taught me a lot about how to think about my own work when presenting to a broad audience."
Victoria Luu, GS, GEO
University Administrative Fellow Alumni/ae
"This experience in creating bridges across different stakeholders and developing systematic solutions helped me to secure a prestigious marine policy fellowship in D.C., where I can continue building upon the skills I started developing in my UAF!"
Elena M'Bouroukounda, GS, ARC
University Administrative Fellow
"Through this fellowship, I have gained a new perspective on how administrators can be mediators between academics and segmented academic departments and progressive pedagogical practice."
Christos Maravelias

Christos Maravelias is the Anderson Family Professor in the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment and the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. His research interests lie in the general area of process and energy systems engineering and optimization. Specifically, he is studying production planning and scheduling, supply…

Elizabeth Margulis

Elizabeth Margulis studies music using a combination of humanistic and scientific methods. Her book On Repeat: How Music Plays the Mind (Oxford University Press) received the Wallace Berry Award from the Society for Music Theory, and the ASCAP Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Award. Her latest book The Psychology of Music: A Very Short…

Meredith Martin
Faculty Director, Center for Digital Humanities

Meredith Martin is Associate Professor of English and the Faculty Director for the Center for Digital Humanities. She works on the history of poetic forms, educational and disciplinary history, historical poetics, and historical prosody.

She is also a mentor in the University Administrative Fellowship Program.

Erika Milam
Professor of History
"The Graduate School's Professional Development Program provides guidance to help students develop the skills and competencies crucial for success in completing their degrees and across the range of possible careers."
Mallory Monaco Caterine, *13 (CLA)

Mallory Monaco Caterine *13, Classics, Co-Founder and Executive Director at Kallion Leadership, Inc., Senior Professor of Practice in Classical Studies & Greenberg Family Professor of Social Entrepreneurship & Cole Fellow, Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking, Tulane University.

Christin Monroe, *18, CHM
University Administrative Fellow
"I was able to gain so much practical experience and learn about career paths that I was unfamiliar with, which led to my first job after graduate school as the science specialist for an Upward Bound program."
Andrea Morris, *99, MOL
Mentor, GradFUTURES Mentorship Program
"GradFUTURES has been a great way to build stronger connections to Princeton's Graduate School and also to current graduate students..."