Life After Graduate School: What’s Next?

June 22, 2010

Susan E. Minkoff

So you've completed the course work, sweated through the comprehensive exams, and launched a research project that will be yours and only yours. You've immersed yourself in your field, presented your work at technical conferences, and successfully navigated the publishing process---maybe you're about to submit a paper or have even had a paper or two accepted. The journey through graduate school has been both exhilarating and frustrating; unfortunately, it will soon come to an end. Some of you may know exactly what you hope to do with your newly minted degrees, but if you are like me, you will not have spent much time researching what will follow graduate school. Many students are unsure about how to make the transition from school to a successful and satisfying career.

Due in large part to SIAM's hugely successful student chapter program and other free student membership programs, approximately 40% of SIAM members in 2010 are students. Focus-group studies conducted by SIAM staff at meetings and conferences, along with membership surveys, indicate that student members overwhelmingly want more career information and advice. Therefore, we are planning a new feature for SIAM News: a series of career-related articles by members of the SIAM community (as well as a Question & Answer feature). From their experience in widely ranging careers, the rotating team of authors will cover such topics as comparisons of work environments in government labs, academia, and industry, advice on assembling job application packets, information about nontraditional careers, and more. We encourage the SIAM community to suggest topics that they would like to see covered in upcoming issues of SIAM News.

A few words about myself as the column editor: Currently an associate professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, I have also worked elsewhere in academia, as well as in industry and in a government lab. I chair the SIAM Membership Committee and am the faculty adviser of the student chapter at UMBC.

I look forward to attending the 2010 SIAM Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh and encourage you to contact me in person at the meeting with suggestions and ideas for the column; you can reach me any time at

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