2019 Panelists

Meet our Amazing Panelists!


Government and Public Service

David Blanding ’09 AM, ’14 PhD, Political Science

Senior Social Science Analyst, U.S. Government Accountability Office


David Blanding is a Senior Social Science Analyst at the US Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan agency that conducts research on federal policies and programs on behalf of the US Congress. In this role, he designs, implements, and advises on quantitative and qualitative methods used to support findings, generate recommendations, and identify cost savings to the American taxpayer. He is also currently an adjunct professor at American University’s School of Public Affairs. Previously, David taught political science, public policy, and law at McDaniel College and Brown University. He earned his MA and PhD in political science from Brown University, and was a recipient of a dissertation fellowship from the Ford Foundation/National Research Council. He also received an undergraduate degree in political science from Boston University. Outside of his work in government and academia, David has been active in a number of not-for-profit organizations focused on educational equity, mentoring, and employment opportunity.



What was your first position after graduate school?

Postdoctoral Research Associate at Brown

What skills should graduate students develop for careers in your field?

Strategic communication, relationship management, mixed methods

What advice would you offer graduate students seeking careers in your field?

Talk to me (or another current federal employee) about the application process!


Shruti Majumdar ’12 PhD, Sociology

Gender Based Violence Specialist, United Nations



I am a development professional with 8 years of experience working on women’s economic empowerment, participatory governance and gender-based violence. I have led evaluations, programme implementation and analytical work on these issues in Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Uzbekistan, Serbia, Jordan and Egypt with the World Bank and United Nations.

I am currently working as a Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist at UN Women’s Ending Violence Against Women (EVAW) unit that manages close to 500 EVAW projects in 139 countries. In this role, I provide direct programmatic and M&E support to the Asia and Pacific Islands projects, and projects in conflict-affected areas. I am particularly interested in growing the evidence base for effective and innovative solutions on ending gender-based violence in middle- and low-income countries.


What was your first position after graduate school?

Consultant, World Bank Group

What skills should graduate students develop for careers in your field?



Lisa Opdycke ’15, Masters of Public Policy

Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation



Lisa Opdycke is currently a Social Science Research Analyst for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, based in Woodlawn, MD. She is in the Patient Care Models Group. Lisa previously worked in the US Government Accountability Office on the Health Care Team. She conducted federal audits and program evaluations of executive and legislative branch programs. In her efforts to monitor the effectiveness of public health programs, she collected and analyzed data, developed data-based findings, and communicated this information to Congress members and committees. Previous positions include an Economic Research Fellow at the Federal Reserve Bank, Boston, and a Public Health Consultant for the City of Providence. Lisa has a Master’s in Public Policy from Brown.


What was your first position after graduate school?

Government Accountability Office

What skills should graduate students develop for careers in your field?

Teamwork, writing, research, quantitative skills, SAS, communication, project management, analytic skills, conflict resolution, process improvement, and patience.

What advice would you offer graduate students seeking careers in your field?

Strong written and oral communication is essential. Have an idea how much you want your position to be effected by politics before looking for a job.


 Government and Policy for the Private Sector

Josh Dover ’05 Masters of Public Policy

Manager Government Affairs, Jet Blue



Josh joined JetBlue in 2015 and is based in Washington, D.C. He is responsible for JetBlue’s outreach on Capitol Hill and with state and local governments. Prior to JetBlue, Josh was the Legislative Director for Hawaii Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa where his legislative portfolio included commerce, appropriations, tax and transportation issues. From 2009 – 2011 Josh served in the office of Congressman Dale Kildee from Michigan. Josh received his undergraduate degree from Pepperdine University and his Masters in Public Policy from Brown University. He is originally from Seattle. He now lives in Arlington, Virginia with his wife Erin, and enjoys travel, reading and sports, especially his Seattle Seahawks.

What was your first position after graduate school?

Public affairs consultant

What skills should graduate students develop for careers in your field?

The ability to synthesize ideas and arguments into easily understood summaries as well as the ability to write and speak concisely.

What advice would you offer graduate students seeking careers in your field?

In politics and policy your first job is likely to be at the bottom of the ladder but hard work and the ability to problem solve under pressure will stand out and you can gain responsibility quickly.

Theodore Przybyla ’07 Masters of Public Policy

Policy Program Manager, Brookings Executive Education MA


Theodore Przybyla is the Policy Program Manager for Brookings Executive Education. He is responsible for the planning and execution of seminars on a range of topics, including the policy process in Washington, dealing with Congress, business strategies for government agencies, and foreign policy issues. He is also the Deputy Director of the Brookings Institution’s LEGIS Fellows Program, which enables federal executive branch officials to serve in the House or Senate.


Prior to this position, he helped support learning and development at Google. Within previous roles he incubated a civic engagement strategy at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, brought executives together to catalyze social change at the Clinton Global Initiative, and supported regional infrastructure projects at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. In his free time, he likes to volunteer with a focus on the arts and education.

Theodore received his Master of Public Policy from Brown University and his Bachelor of Science from Northeastern University.

What was your first position after graduate school?

Fellow at Port Authority of NY & NJ


What skills should graduate students develop for careers in your field?

Practiced extroversion. Curiosity. Critical Thinking.


What advice would you offer graduate students seeking careers in your field?

Take risks early in your career.


Cara Camacho ‘07 MPA, Taubman Center for American Politics and Policy

Vice President, Government Affairs, Bank Policy Institute


Cara Camacho is the Vice President of Government Affairs for the Bank Policy Institute. Previously she was a [Vice] President for Government Relations at The Clearing House where developed and implemented strategies to engage members of Congress and the Executive Branch on a range of policy issues.

Prior to joining The Clearing House, Ms. Camacho served a number of roles in the Obama Administration working on financial services and national security policy. She was the Chief of Staff for the policy office of Special Operations and Combating Terrorism at the Department of Defense where she was a recipient of the Exceptional Service Award. She also worked at the White House as Director of Legislative Affairs for the National Security Council. While at the White House, she led engagement with Congress on a number of top national security issues including sanctions and anti- money laundering. She joined the National Security Council after working at the Treasury Department in the Office of Legislative Affairs where she focused on implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act and the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. During her time at Treasury, she also worked with the Office of Foreign Assets Control on sanctions issues.


Earlier in her career, Ms. Camacho worked on Capitol Hill for several years, serving on the staff of Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and Congressman Stephen Lynch (D-MA).


What was your first position after graduate school?

Legislative Assistant, US House of Representatives


What skills should graduate students develop for careers in your field?

Critical thinking, writing, verbal presentation skills, policy analysis skills

Sarah Nguyen ’12, MPH

Vice President of Policy, Strategy, and Gov’t Relations, Steward Health Care System



Sarah Nguyen is currently the ACO Program Development Lead at Steward Health Care, a fully integrated national health care services organization that owns 34 community hospital campuses across nine states. She is responsible for scaling Steward’s Accountable Care Organization model in Massachusetts to its markets in other states. She has also held the role of Vice President of Policy, Strategy, and Government Relations for Steward, where she led the development of policy and legislative priorities to advance Steward’s business objectives. Prior to joining Steward Health Care, Sarah was the Principal Policy Associate at the Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner in Rhode Island. In that role, Sarah managed the Affordability Standards, the Office’s initiative to promote delivery and payment system reform, and rate review, the Office’s annual review process for health insurance premiums. In her first job out of graduate school, Sarah worked for Wakely Consulting Group as an on-site consultant for HealthSource RI, Rhode Island’s health insurance marketplace, in the areas of strategy, analytics and operations. She performed a variety of functions in this role, including writing and managing grant applications, coordinating the design and implementation of consumer notices, and participating in strategic planning for HealthSource RI’s public stakeholder groups.


What was your first position after graduate school?

Analyst, Wakely Consulting Group


What skills should graduate students develop for careers in your field? Oral and written communication, project management, analytics and research capabilities


What advice would you offer graduate students seeking careers in your field? Networking is key to finding the right fit. Often job descriptions don’t quite match the day-to-day duties.


NonTech In Tech

Jessie Cooper ’04, MA, Sociology

Head of Partner Development, Oracle


Jessie Cooper is a 15-year veteran of digital media sales and marketing. As Head of Partner Development at the Oracle Data Cloud, Jessie leads a partnership team that works across some of today’s top social media platforms like Snapchat, Twitter, Pandora, Spotify and Nextdoor. In this capacity she focuses on brokering data solutions that prove out the marketing effectiveness of those consumer platforms. Before that, Jessie was Director of East Coast Sales at ShareThis, where she focused on using sharing data to create original integrated media programs for Fortune 500 advertising partners. She has also held business development roles across small to mid-stage startups such as Recyclebank, Broadband Enterprises (acquired by Specific Media in 2010), and Passenger (acquired by Ipsos in 2012). Cooper was an inaugural participant in Remote Year, where she worked remotely for a year across Europe, Asia and South America from June 2015 – May 2016. She holds a BA in Public & Private Organizations ’03 and a MA in Sociology ‘04 from Brown University. While at Brown she an active member of the Women’s Volleyball team, Meiklejohn Steering Committee, Brown Daily Herald, and a Joslin Award recipient. Cooper resides in NYC with her fiancé.


What was your first position after graduate school?

Business Development, LA Agency


Chelsea Cormier McSwiggin PhD, Anthropology

Researcher, Microsoft



Chelsea Cormier McSwiggin received her PhD in Anthropology in 2017. While at Brown she was also a trainee with PSTC and a fellow at CSREA. After Brown she joined Microsoft as a Researcher of Mixed Reality. This has included researching human needs with the HoloLens, social behaviors in virtual reality, and enterprise uses for augmented reality and data in-context while at work.

What was your first position after graduate school?

Researcher at Microsoft

What skills should graduate students develop for careers in your field?

Research planning and execution; finding clarity in messy data; forming actionable insights from data; creating compelling narratives in written and oral formats; collaboration

What advice would you offer graduate students seeking careers in your field?

Be strategic in taking advantage of opportunities (at Brown, in Providence, in your research field site) to demonstrate your ability to craft solutions to problems if you’re not able to flex those sorts of muscles in your academic department/dissertation. Simple professionalization can also go a long way, too; think about how University or Department service reflects your ability to communicate across audiences, manage programs or events, and lead a group across a finish line.



Tim Squires ’15 PhD, Economics

Economist, Amazon


In 2015, I graduated from Brown University with a PhD in economics. I have been an economist at Amazon for four years. Initially, I worked as part of the central economist organization in the devices division. I am now employed with their new shipping initiative as lead economist. I have worked on a wide range of problems from estimating the impact of different interventions to determining the pricing for new services. Overall, this has involved working with large data sets, billions to trillions of observations, complicated econometrics, DML and synthetic controls. As part of my responsibilities I have collaborated with team members and business partners to ensure the learning insights I discovered were implemented and effective.


What was your first position after graduate school?

Amazon Economist


Anna Hartley ’13 PhD, Psychology (Cognitive, Linguistic, & Psychological Sciences)

Senior Research Scientist, Amazon


I am a psychology PhD with over ten years of experience in research, survey design, and statistics. Trained as a social-personality psychologist, my background includes research leadership, advanced statistical methods, data science, user experience, and running experimental and field research. After receiving my PhD at Brown, I worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Wake Forest. I then moved on to Amazon where I currently work as a Senior Research Scientist in Alexa, where I run the Customer Sentiment Research Program. My research program focuses on human-AI interaction, customer engagement, and the perception and assessment of Alexa’s personality. My job day-to-day includes setting research goals for my team, running studies and analyses, writing research reports, and attending meetings to share my findings to the business.


What was your first position after graduate school?

Postdoctoral Research Associate at Wake Forest University


What skills should graduate students develop for careers in your field?

R, Python, Statistics, Data Science, Experimental Research, AB Testing, Hypothesis- testing, Behavioral Research, Surveys, Human-AI research, Machine Learning


What advice would you offer graduate students seeking careers in your field?

Reach out to researchers in tech to learn about their experiences and career paths; Talk to people with a variety of titles (e.g., research scientist, UX researcher, data scientist, behavioral researcher). Gain statistical programming and data manipulation skills in R or Python. Gain strong communication skills in conveying complex research findings to non-technical audiences—do this by taking opportunities to teach, give talks, and write for blogs.

 K-12: Teaching & Policy

Stephen Zins ’15 PhD, Pathobiology

Science Department Head, Portsmouth Abbey School


Dr. Steve Zins GS ’15 is the Science Department Head at Portsmouth Abbey School in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. In addition to administrative responsibilities, Steve teaches Advanced Placement Biology, regular Biology, and regular Chemistry. Portsmouth Abbey School is a boarding school, and full-time faculty reside on campus and also serve as coaches and house-parents. Steve is the head coach for the girls’ varsity soccer team, assistant coach for the boys’ varsity basketball team, and he and his wife are house-parents in one of the dorms on campus. Steve started at Portsmouth Abbey School immediately after graduating from Brown. At Brown, Steve earned his PhD in the Pathobiology graduate program under Dr. Walter Atwood. He studied the human polyomavirus JC and how human immune peptides called defensins control the infection in human cells. He published his thesis research in the Journal of Virology, was invited to present his research at international conferences in Birmingham, England and Montreal, and won a pre-doctoral fellowship from the National Institute of Health. Steve was also president of Brown’s Graduate Student Council in 2014, and presented his research at Brown’s inaugural Research Matters! event.

What was your first position after graduate school?

Science Teacher, Portsmouth Abbey School

What skills should graduate students develop for careers in your field?

Teaching, Advising, Coaching, Mentoring, Writing, Communicating


What advice would you offer graduate students seeking careers in your field?

Do your best to acquire as many “soft” skills as possible. Research is a fantastic background, but prep schools need to see that you know how to relate to both students and colleagues in order to successfully coexist in a boarding-school environment.


Maria Salciccioli ’13 MA, Urban Education Policy

Senior Research Associate, WestEd


Maria is a Senior Research Associate at WestEd in San Francisco, a research and development nonprofit where she focuses on K-12 and higher education projects at the intersection of research and policy. Before she started at WestEd, she worked in state and federal education policy for the DC State Board of Education and US Department of Education, taught and coached math at elementary schools, and worked at another research nonprofit. She is eager to connect with Brown students who are interested in any of these career paths. Outside of work, she serves on the YEP-Bay Area executive board and volunteers as a reading tutor. Maria holds an AB in History from Princeton University and an AM in Urban Education Policy from Brown University, where she was a recipient of the Ruth J. Simmons fellowship.


What was your first position after graduate school?

Research Analyst at SRI International


What skills should graduate students develop for careers in your field?

Research experience is helpful, and hands-on experience in the community is really beneficial for getting education jobs. Demonstrating your ability to write concisely is great for writing samples, and any experience writing grant applications or proposals can be really useful.


What advice would you offer graduate students seeking careers in your field? Emphasize how universal the skills are that you developed at Brown – your ability to write well, think critically, and work hard, as well as your passion for improving the world, are in many ways more important than content knowledge, which you can develop through your work.


Naomi Jacobs ’12 MA, Urban Education Policy

Researcher, American Institutes for Research (AIR)


Naomi Jacobs, a Researcher at AIR, specializes in project management and mixed- method evaluations of education initiatives. She has subject matter expertise in out-of- school time (OST) systems building, social and emotional development, higher education, and informal/formal educator collaborations. Currently Ms. Jacobs serves as the Project Manager for multiple technical assistance contracts with New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD and a multi-year study for the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences on a nationally funded literacy program. Previously she was the Project Director of a fidelity evaluation for the AARP Foundation’s national literacy program and manager of best practice publications in higher education for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Ms. Jacobs has conducted cross-sector analyses on the definitions of social emotional competencies for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, designed OST standards and educator user manuals, created interview and survey protocols, and trained educators nationally on the behavioral and socio-emotional learning strategy, Good Behavior Game. She also served on the Frontiers in Urban Science Exploration (FUSE) workgroup funded by the Noyce Foundation to build capacity of informal science educators to integrate the Next Generation Science Standards and social and emotional learning. Ms. Jacobs is a credentialed Project Management Professional (PMP) and earned her M.A. in Urban Education Policy from Brown University and a dual B.A. from the University of Virginia in psychology and African-American studies.


What was your first position after graduate school?

AfterZone Summer Scholars Coordinator at the Providence After School Alliance


What skills should graduate students develop for careers in your field?

Basic project management acumen and working with others will take you far in consulting, even if your original goals are not people or project management.

Understanding how to conceptualize the work ahead, map out timelines and tasks, and delegate the work helps maintain the balance in a fast-paced environment.


What advice would you offer graduate students seeking careers in your field? Research and technical assistance (TA) consulting often means a mix of team based and independent work, which means developing comfort with both types of working environments and constant communication about progress and needs. Be prepared to engage in multiple projects at once. Consulting offers the opportunity to either focus in on a specific area of interest or explore a mix of content. When applying for a position, showcase your research experience but don’t forget the myriad of skills you have and the variety of roles you would be able to play on a research or TA project.


Jennifer Berlinda Thompson, ’82, Creative Writing (Literary Arts)

College Success Program Manager, LINK Unlimited Scholars

As the College Success Program Manager, she provides strategic leadership in initiating and sustaining long-term relationships with a range of individuals, communities and campuses in order to provide LINK collegiate scholars in the College and Career Success Tracks with the resources required as they advance into, through and beyond college. The College Success Track provides connections to on-campus networks and resources; reunion activities; career and professional development workshops; access to summer enrichment program database of employment/research opportunities; graduate/professional school planning and assistance; and individualized academic, personal and career support. The Career Success track combines a college education with career readiness workshops and immersion experiences within local and national organizations.

Dragonfly/Dissertation and Academic Writing Services is her side hustle. She is the principal consultant and strategist but works with a team of partners. Jennifer started the business after working as a Dissertation Support Coach at National Louis University and realizing how many graduate students are stuck in candidacy purgatory with little or no support from their committees and or institutions. In addition to her A.M. in Creative Writing (Literary Arts), Dr. Thompson earned a M.Div. from Yale and a PhD from Emory University’s ILA. She has taught at Valparaiso University, Swarthmore College and Columbia College Chicago among others. She draws on all of her education and experience in her present position.

What was your first position after graduate school?

Development Assistant for the Chicago Children’s Choir


What skills should graduate students develop for careers in your field?

communications (oral and written), networking, soft skills, management software


What advice would you offer graduate students seeking careers in your field?

Network and familiarize yourself with higher education history and trends 

Krystafer Redden ’16 A.M., Urban Education Policy

Transformation Specialist, Rhode Island Department of Education


Krystafer Redden (A.M. Urban Education Policy, 2016) currently serves as a Transformation Specialist in the Division of the Deputy Commissioner at the Rhode Island Department of Education. In this role, Krystafer provides broad assistance to a cohort of districts and schools identified for improvement; in particular, he supports the allocation, implementation, and monitoring of federal school improvement funds, develops teacher and leader talent management and professional learning strategies in turnaround contexts, and shepherds the emergence of new governance models.

Previously, he served the students of Rhode Island as a classroom teacher, teacher leader, and district administrator in Providence Public Schools, as well as an education fellow to Gov. Gina M. Raimondo. Prior to moving to Rhode Island, Krystafer worked in the Texas Legislature and served a gubernatorial appointment at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. A fifth-generation Texan from a family of public educators, and raised by his single mother and sister, he currently lives in Providence, RI and enjoys all the history, shoreline, and proximity that New England has to offer.


What was your first position after graduate school?

Assessment Coordinator, Providence Public School Department


Higher Education Leadership

Hilliary Creely ’05 PhD, MCB/Neuroscience

Associate Dean for Research, Indiana University of Pennsylvania



Dr. Creely received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors in biology (The George Washington University), a J.D. and Certificate of Specialization in Law and Technology (University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law), and a PhD in molecular biology (Brown University). Prior to joining IUP, Dr. Creely was an American Association for the Advancement of Science Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She was also a California Institute for Regenerative Medicine Stem Cell Fellow in Law, a recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship to Germany, a Max- Planck-Institute Postdoctoral Research Fellow, and an NIH pre-doctoral institutional training grant funding recipient.

What was your first position after graduate school?

Fulbright Scholar/post-doc at the Max-Planc-Institute in Leipzig, Germany


What skills should graduate students develop for careers in your field?

team-building, leadership, clear communication, identifying and nurturing talent, interpersonal skills, creative problem solving


What advice would you offer graduate students seeking careers in your field?

Be open to diverse experiences/opportunities that seem off the beaten path–these experiences are often the ones that teach you the most and open the most doors. The path to careers in academic administration is not always linear.

Wally Pansing ’04 PhD, English

Associate Director for Advising, University of Pennsylvania


Wally Pansing received his PhD in English from Brown in 2004. He is currently an Assistant Dean/Associate Director for Advising in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. He coordinates the Casenet group in the College Office, a group of advisors dedicated to case managing students in academic difficulty due to personal, medical, and financial challenges. He has additional responsibilities in the fields of international education, academic standing, academic advising, student discipline, and admissions.


What was your first position after graduate school?

Lecturer, History and Literature, Harvard University


What skills should graduate students develop for careers in your field?

Advising, listening, administration, patience.


What advice would you offer graduate students seeking careers in your field?

Find opportunities to build advising experience now to be sure you like the field and want to pursue it. Academic administration increasingly requires experience to get increasingly competitive jobs.

Robyn Schroeder ’10 MA, Public Humanities, ’15 PhD, American Studies

Humanities for the Public Good Initiative Director, UNC Chapel Hill


Robyn Schroeder is the director of the Humanities for the Public Good Initiative at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. With support from the Andrew W. Mellon foundation, she manages graduate, faculty, and community grants and fellowships, working to build capacity and recognition for public scholarship in the humanities at the nation’s oldest public university. Through an adjunct teaching appointment, she teaches graduate seminars on writing for the public, and community-engaged teaching and research. This work builds on a past post-doctoral fellowship at the John Nicholas Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage, where she also received an M.A. in Public Humanities en route to her PhD in American Studies.

What was your first position after graduate school?

Post-doctoral Researcher, John Nicholas Brown Center for the Public Humanities & Cultural Heritage


What skills should graduate students develop for careers in your field?

Curiosity; democratic understanding of knowledge acquisition; cultural organizing and relationship-building; project management and capacity to switch between vastly different tasks; writing, editing; ability to read and use a budget


What advice would you offer graduate students seeking careers in your field?

Get the grad certificate in Public Humanities; or otherwise, do a serious graduate internship. Develop a thick conception of the public dimension and potential social impact of your work and the work of people around you. Go to local arts and cultural events. Begin to work on understanding how money, hierarchy, and opportunity in the university are practically organized.

Chloe Poston ’13 PhD, Chemistry

Executive Director, The Leadership Alliance


Dr. Chloe N. Poston is a proud graduate of Clark Atlanta University, where she earned a B.S. in Chemistry. Dr. Poston earned both her Masters and Doctoral degrees in Chemistry from Brown University. Her thesis research was focused on mass spectrometry-based proteomic analysis of the mitochondrial-associated endoplasmic reticulum (MAM). Her work highlighted the connections between the role of calcium trafficking from the ER to the mitochondria and neurodegenerative disease. During her studies at Brown, Chloe served as the President of the Nabrit Black Graduate Student Association, the Chair of the Graduate Students of Color Conference, and a member of the University Diversity Advisory Board. During her Post-Doc at Eli Lilly and Company in the biological mass spectrometry group, Dr. Poston explored her interests in science policy, diversity, and education through her blog, The Poston Collective. Dr. Poston continued to pursue this interest as an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the National Science Foundation where she focused on projects related to scientific communication and broadening participation in science, serving as the executive secretary for the Federal Coordination in STEM Education Broadening Participation Subcommittee. In this role, Dr. Poston worked with 13 government agencies to identify opportunities to encourage individuals from underrepresented groups to pursue and remain in STEM careers. Dr. Poston leveraged the government knowledge she gained in her fellowship as a science policy consultant where she focused on issues related to diversity in the biomedical research workforce.


What was your first position after graduate school?

Postdoc at Eli Lilly & Co


What skills should graduate students develop for careers in your field?

Writing, Public Speaking, Project management


What advice would you offer graduate students seeking careers in your field?

Seek experiences beyond your department

Lara Couturier ’11 PhD, History

Principal, HCM Strategists



Raised surrounded by educators, Dr. Lara Couturier developed an early belief in the potential of higher education to transform lives. In her own experience, she saw a dramatic shift in the opportunities available to her as a result of earning a postsecondary credential, and is now committed to helping students reach their goals. As a director with HCM Strategists’ higher education policy team, Lara provides strategic advice and counsel to multiple clients including Lumina Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Campaign for College Opportunity. A nationally recognized expert in postsecondary research, practice and policy, Lara previously directed research and publications for Jobs for the Future’s (JFF) Postsecondary State Policy Network, and provided technical assistance to policy teams in 13 states in support of various student success initiatives. Prior to her work at JFF, Lara served as an independent research consultant for the Institute for Higher Education Policy, American Council on Education, the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, and other higher education initiatives and organizations. She also served as the interim principal investigator and director of research for the Futures Project: Policy for Higher Education in a Changing World, a higher education think tank based at Brown University. Dr. Couturier has written extensively on postsecondary policy, including such notable works as: The Future of Higher Education; Checks and Balances at Work; and “Balancing State Control with Society’s Needs” for the Chronicle of Higher Education. Dr. Couturier holds a PhD in history from Brown University. She also holds a master’s degree in history from Brown University, a master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Richmond.


What was your first position after graduate school?

Program Director, Jobs for the Future


What skills should graduate students develop for careers in your field?

Analytical, writing, communications


What advice would you offer graduate students seeking careers in your field? Education policy is fun and rewarding! Graduate school offers significant training in areas that are sorely needed, in particular, analyzing, researching and writing. When looking at positions, consider how your training makes you different and offers a solution to your employers.


Science, Technology, and Data Science

Mark L Homer ’14 PhD, Biomedical Engineering

Director of Artificial Intelligence & Health Informatics, CVS


Dr. Mark L. Homer is the Director of Artificial Intelligence & Health Informatics at Aetna. He earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees from an accelerated program at MIT and a PhD at Brown University in biomedical engineering. Most recently, he was awarded a fellowship by the National Library of Medicine, achieving a Masters in Medical Science at Harvard Medical School in biomedical informatics. Dr. Homer has led projects in the biotech, aerospace, and healthcare startup space. Examples include software control for bioreactors, obstacle avoidance for Mars landers, and brain computer interfaces for those with paralysis.

What was your first position after graduate school?

Co-founder of a startup in healthcare

What skills should graduate students develop for careers in your field?

Statistics, machine learning, communication, project management


What advice would you offer graduate students seeking careers in your field?

Master statistics

Erica Kahn ’16, ScM, Biomedical Engineering

R&D Engineer II, Ocular Therapeutix



I am a biomedical engineer with over three years of experience bringing hydrogel drug delivery systems from bench top to Phase I clinical trials as a member of a fast paced Research and Discovery team at Ocular Therpaeutix and as a Graduate Co-Op at Genzyme (bought by Sanofi). I use my hydrogel formulation tool kit to fabricate drug loaded implants that meet target specifications for therapy dose, duration, and dimensions. In order to push new discovery projects forward into development, I have micronized APIs, re-formulated and casted hydrogel implants, cut and loaded implants into needles for in vivo injection, sterilized preclinical material, performed in vitro characterization, and collaborated with preclinical contract research organizations to initiate studies to evaluate in vivo product performance.


As a biomedical engineer I also enjoy using SolidWorks to design novel fixtures to add efficiency to the fabrication, characterization, and injection of our hydrogel implants. I have created custom parts using sterolithography (SLA) and fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D printing techniques in house and have worked with outside vendors for CNC machining and injection molding. I love working at a small biotech company and creating products that will one day help patients.


What was your first position after graduate school?

R&D Engineer I


What skills should graduate students develop for careers in your field?

Laboratory skills, research skills, creativity, and problem solving


What advice would you offer graduate students seeking careers in your field?

Try to stay up to date and read relevant literature/journal articles in your field. Also I recommend working at a smaller company if you want a more dynamic and less defined role.


Kenny Chowdhary ’12 PhD, Applied Mathematics

Senior Researcher, Sandia National Laboratories



Kenny Chowdhary is currently a senior staff scientist in the Extreme-scale Data Sciences and Analytics Department at Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, CA, which is a federally funded research laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy. Kenny received a B.A. in mathematics from New York University in 2004 and a PhD in Applied Mathematics from Brown University in 2012. From 2012 through 2015 he was a postdoc at Sandia Labs and converted to staff in 2015. Broadly speaking, Kenny’s work involves building predictive models for complex physical systems using tools from probability, statistics, machine learning and scientific computing.


What was your first position after graduate school?

Postdoctoral Research at Sandia Labs in CA

Business & Consulting

Mateus Bruno Silva Baptista ’15, Urban Education Policy

Deputy Director, Strategy, Panasonic


Mateus Baptista is currently Deputy Director of Strategy at Panasonic North America in the Office of Corporate Social Responsibility that oversees corporate engagement, philanthropic initiatives, and external affairs. Prior to joining Panasonic, Mateus was a Program Officer with Victoria Foundation. At Victoria, Mateus led the foundation’s education, civic engagement, and neighborhood development portfolios overseeing $4M in funds.

A native of Newark, NJ, he previously served as Policy Advisor to Mayor Ras J. Baraka. At City Hall, Mateus advised the mayor on public policy and strategic initiatives, particularly the transition of Newark’s public schools from state to local control, and the direction of The Children’s Cabinet, Newark’s multi-agency initiative focusing on cross-sector alignment. Prior to returning home, Mateus worked in the United States Senate for Senator Tammy Baldwin, advising her on the student debt crisis. In the Senate, Mateus wrote legislation that would expand bankruptcy discharge for student loan borrowers.

He graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. from The Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University. He also completed his Master’s degree in urban education policy at Brown. Mateus is advisory board chair of New Leaders Council – NJ and is a member on the board of: Newark Thrives!, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, The Youth Policy Board, and Brown University’s First-Generation Alumni Council. He is a former graduate fellow with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and a current PLACES fellow with the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth.


What was your first position after graduate school?

Legislative Fellow


What skills should graduate students develop for careers in your field?

Clear and concise writing in both informal and formal settings is a must, particularly for reports and proposals.


What advice would you offer graduate students seeking careers in your field?

Get your foot in the door, first. Take a job that places you in the field and then work your way to your “perfect” role.



Keith Fairbank ’18 PhD, Ancient History (Classics)

Consultant, Boston Consulting Group



Keith is a consultant with Boston Consulting Group, a top global management consulting firm. Within consulting, I focus on business strategy. This is his first position post-graduation. He received his PhD in Ancient History from Brown University in May, 2018. His research focused on economic and social networks in the Adriatic Sea in the 3rd-1st centuries BC. While at Brown, Keith co-organized a Mellon workshop on colonial entanglements and published an appendix on Caesar’s view of himself in his war commentaries. Prior to Brown, Keith received an MA and BA in Classics from Brigham Young University. He lives in Cumberland, RI with his wife and three daughters.


What was your first position after graduate school?

Consultant, Boston Consulting Group


What skills should graduate students develop for careers in your field?

If you are interested in leading future research projects, having a background knowledge of quantitative and qualitative evaluation methodology is critical, otherwise it is just a useful foundation.


What advice would you offer graduate students seeking careers in your field?

Seek out informational interviews and practice cases


Desi Byanova ’16 PhD, Economics

Senior Associate, CRA International



Desislava received a PhD in economics at Brown University in 2016. After completing her graduate studies, she joined Charles River Associates as a Senior Associated in the firm’s Antitrust and Competition practice. Charles River Associates, also known as CRA, is an international economic and strategy consulting firm. Since joining CRA, Desislava has worked on mergers and antitrust litigation matters in a variety of industries, with a special focus on the health care and health insurance sectors. In her role at CRA, she conducts research, prepares reports, manages team efforts, and provides thought leadership in developing economic and econometric approaches to address questions related to antitrust and competition law and policy. Prior to graduate school, she studied economics at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY. She was born and raised in Ruse, Bulgaria, but has spent the last twelve years in the U.S and is now based in Washington, DC.


What was your first position after graduate school?

Senior Associate, CRA International


What skills should graduate students develop for careers in your field?

Quantitative tools (including statistical programming), economic modeling is a plus, ability to manage research projects, ability to communicate complicated analyses to non-technical audiences


What advice would you offer graduate students seeking careers in your field?

Seek opportunities to manage (e.g., a group of RAs, or TA large classes) while in graduate school. Talk to former Brown alums working in the field prior to interviewing to get a sense of the day-to-day and whether it would be a good fit for you.


Julia Minitti ’07 PhD, Chemistry

Associate, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati



Julia is an associate in the Palo Alto, CA office of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, where she is a member of the patent and innovation strategies practice. Julia counsels clients in the biotechnology, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries on a wide range of intellectual property issues, including patent portfolio development and management, Orange Book listing, patentability, non-infringement, and freedom to operate. She also advises clients in connection with various transactions, such as mergers and acquisitions, licenses, and venture financings.

Julia obtained her B.S. in chemistry from Union College in Schenectady, NY and her PhD in organic chemistry from Brown University. Julia earned her J.D. at Santa Clara School of Law in Santa Clara, CA. At Brown, Julia worked on synthetic methodology for creating heterocycles and catalyzing conjugate additions. Prior to graduate school, she worked as a medicinal chemist at Albany Molecular Research. Julia has worked in the legal profession at general practice law firms for twelve years, first as a scientific advisor and patent agent and currently as a senior patent attorney.

What was your first position after graduate school?

Scientific Advisor at Ropes & Gray LLP


Lea McDonald ‘14, MPH

Associate, Booz Allen Hamilton


I joined COPE Health Solutions as a Senior Consultant in February 2017. I am currently supporting the implementation of Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) projects as part of the 1115 Medicaid Waiver for clients in upstate New York. Prior to joining the team, I served as a Senior Analyst at Analysis Group, an economic consulting firm, where she evaluated treatment outcomes, resource utilization, and health care costs for various patient populations. In this role, I partnered with client leads and thought leaders to design and implement studies that answered intricate research questions and developed strong expertise in various modeling methodologies including regression analyses and trend forecasting. Much of my work focused on building complex models to estimate the cost of emerging oncology therapies over time to demonstrate the value of targeted therapies. Findings from these projects were published in conferences hosted by the American College of Rheumatology, American Society of Nephrology, the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy, and other nationally recognized organizations. When I’m not analyzing large datasets, I enjoy being outdoors, cycling class, and brunching with friends.


What was your first position after graduate school?

Analyst – Analysis Group


What skills should graduate students develop for careers in your field?

Communication and analytic skills


Media and Communication

Rachel Gostenhofer ’11 MA, ’16 PhD, History

Ghostwriter, Editor, Providence Word & Thought


Rachel Gostenhofer is a ghostwriter and editor at Providence Word & Thought. Prior to graduation, she honed her writing and editing skills by working at Brown’s writing center for five years. She also served as a writing consultant and coach in Brown’s departments of pre-professional advising and fellowships and taught freshman composition and other writing-based courses for the school of professional studies. She ended her career at Brown as visiting assistant professor in the history department, teaching an advanced seminar on intellectual property, her academic research specialty. Rachel planned on continuing her career in academia until she attended GradCon 2015. That day the stars aligned. After hearing a presentation from Seth Schulman, an acclaimed writer and fellow alumnus of the history department, she turned her attention to writing once again. Since April of 2016, she has worked full-time at Seth’s company, where she has focused on voice-driven narrative non-fiction books and is developing a specialty in memoir, science, lifestyle, business, and books written by and for women. In addition to books, she collaborates on op-eds, blog posts, magazine articles, and book proposals, and provides research and editorial assistance for Seth.

What was your first position after graduate school?

Ghostwriter and editor at Providence Word & Thought Co.


What skills should graduate students develop for careers in your field?

Writing, editing, research


What advice would you offer graduate students seeking careers in your field?

Write a lot!


Elda Stanco Downey ’01 AM, ’05 PhD, Hispanic Studies

Founder & CEO, Roanoke Spanish


Dr. Elda Stanco Downey is the Founder + CEO of Roanoke Spanish, a cultural intelligence services firm. Languages and communication are at her core – she was born in Venezuela and grew up trilingual, speaking Spanish and Italian at home, and English at the International school she began attending at age 4. Dr. Stanco Downey earned an Honors Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and in Romance Languages & Literatures at The University of Chicago. She holds an M.A. and a PhD in Hispanic Studies from Brown University, and has been a visiting scholar at the Universidad de Salamanca in Spain and at Harvard University.


Dr. Stanco Downey has over 25 years of experience working, living and traveling in domestic and international settings. She has been on the Faculty at Roanoke College, Hollins University and Brown University, and is currently on the Faculty of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. She is also the Executive Director of the Virginia Latino Higher Education Network (VALHEN). Dr. Stanco Downey has served on multiple Boards of Directors, including the Roanoke Chamber of Commerce, the United Way of Roanoke Valley, Local Colors, and the Roanoke City Market Foundation. She was appointed by Governor Terry McAuliffe to the Board of Trustees of the Roanoke Higher Education Authority in 2017, and serves as Treasurer on the Executive Committee. In 2018 she was appointed by the Governor to the Virginia Complete Count Commission. Dr. Stanco Downey’s TEDxRVA talk on resilience can be seen here.


What was your first position after graduate school?

Assistant Professor


What skills should graduate students develop for careers in your field?

Networking, public speaking, negotiation skills.


What advice would you offer graduate students seeking careers in your field? Consider what you love to do, translate that into practical skills, define how these skills are an asset you can sell.


Stephen Chambers ’13 PhD, History

Director, The Winthrop Group


Stephen Chambers is a Director of The Winthrop Group, the world’s leading history and archival consulting firm. He has worked closely with Fortune 500 companies, leading nonprofits and educational institutions, and high-net-worth families and individuals across industries. Prior to joining Winthrop, he served as the Senior Writer/Editor with Analysis Group, the largest economic and financial consultancy in the United States, where he oversaw all thought leadership, content marketing, and communications strategies. He has worked as a consultant with Monitor Group and as a senior advisor with the merchant banking and advisory services firm, Rosc Global LLC. Stephen writes and consults on strategic management, and is an expert in U.S. business history, generational change and leadership, and reputational strategy. An experienced editor, Stephen worked at Random House and is the author of diverse works of fiction, business, and history, including, most recently, No God But Gain: The Untold Story of Cuban Slavery, the Monroe Doctrine, and the Making of the United States (New York: Verso Books, 2015).


What was your first position after graduate school?

Consultant with Monitor Group

What skills should graduate students develop for careers in your field?

The ability to translate research and strong writing into actionable recommendations is important. It’s also important to develop professional interpersonal skills and a facility with managing and collaborating with other people, including people who may have deep business experience but no first-hand knowledge of your field.

What advice would you offer graduate students seeking careers in your field? Network and develop a strong, genuine understanding of what you bring to the table. Be clear about your ability and interest in learning new things that may be outside your comfort zone. Embrace the fact that you are an expert.

Katie Pratt ’12 PhD, BioMed/MCB

DCO Communications Director, University of Rhode Island/Deep Carbon Observatory


Katie Pratt is a science writer, editor, and community manager. As Communications Director for the Deep Carbon Observatory she creates and curates content for deepcarbon.net and a monthly newsletter in close collaboration with DCO scientists, curates field studies activities, and drafts, posts, and manages social media activity. She is also the primary media contact for DCO, having developed an extensive network of press and PIO contacts. Pratt brings additional skills to DCO including copywriting, video production, photography, and SketchNoting. Over the last six years in this position she has developed important professional relationships with many members of the international Earth Sciences community, including leaders of DCO’s field studies and members of the Executive and Scientific Steering Committees. She has also positioned herself as a key instigator of the DCO Early Career Scientist Network, having served as co-organizer and instructor at five early career scientist workshops and summer schools.


What was your first position after graduate school?

This was my first full-time position after graduate school. I freelanced for about 8 months before I got the job, though.


What skills should graduate students develop for careers in your field?

Written and oral communication, networking, social media management, program management, and community management. Additional useful skills include web design, photography, and a general enthusiasm for meeting new people and attending conferences.


What advice would you offer graduate students seeking careers in your field? Develop your CV before you defend. Finding an entry-level position in this field is almost impossible, so it’s important to show some kind of experience (e.g. writing for a student publication or running community events). Alternatively, make the most of fellowship opportunities during or soon after grad school (e.g. through COMPASS or AAAS).


Rebecca Wojciechowicz ’15 Sc.M. Biotechnology

Brand Strategist, precisioneffect


Rebecca Wojciechowicz is a brand strategist at precisioneffect, an advertising agency in Boston. She works with healthcare brands, ranging from local biotech startups to global pharmaceutical companies, helping build their go-to-market strategies and enabling her clients to change the standard of care.

As a strategist focused on healthcare, Rebecca has the unique opportunity to merge her love of problem-solving with the science underlying her clients’ products. Each day brings different challenges: interviewing doctors and patients to understand their perspectives, analyzing that research to identify insights, and developing brand strategies that inform and inspire the creative campaigns, all while maintaining a persistent drive to learn and stay curious.

Prior to joining precisioneffect, Rebecca was an associate in marketing and press relations at Novarica, a research and advisory firm focused on insurance technology. Rebecca also has experience as a project consultant for Davol Inc., a subsidiary of Becton Dickinson. Her work at Davol began as part of the Biotechnology Sc.M. Co-op program where she worked in the hernia mesh division as part of a team for new product development. Among her projects, she designed and executed a marketing study comparing hernia mesh to a competitor product.

During her time at Brown, Rebecca was a research assistant for Dr. James Simmons, Neuroscience, and she was also a teaching assistant for two biology courses. Rebecca completed her Sc.M. in Biotechnology in 2015, and also holds an A.B. magna cum laude in Biology and Visual Arts from Brown.


What was your first position after graduate school?

R&D Project Consultant, C.R. Bard


What skills should graduate students develop for careers in your field?

A strong interest in and aptitude for problem-solving, along with a healthy balance between 1) the ability to quickly and deeply get smart on a certain topic and 2) the ability to trust intuition when it comes time to put insights into practice


What advice would you offer graduate students seeking careers in your field?

The world of healthcare advertising isn’t just for those who studied marketing/advertising/communications! Working in this field, and especially in the role of a strategist in this field, is truly multidisciplinary. As each team member comes from a different background, we all approach problems differently, allowing us to come up with collaborative and creative ways to solve each problem.