Life After Graduation

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Preparing for the Job Market

The program at Penn State Chemistry offers numerous opportunities for students to acquire the skills needed to compete in the job market. In addition to technical skills, many employers look at "soft skills" such as public speaking, writing, interpersonal skills and the ability to work on a team. Students have the opportunity to enhance their skills through formal workshops and informal talks sponsored by the Department.

Graduate students also have opportunities to participate in the governance of the Department by serving on standing committees. Graduate students work on the Safety, Colloquium and Climate & Diversity committees. Committee service presents opportunities to develop leadership skills and opportunities for networking with colleagues.

Senior Graduate Advisor

John Dodd, Senior Graduate Advisor, obtained his PhD in Chemistry at Penn State in 1981 and has been working in the pharmaceutical industry ever since. During his career he supervised over 100 scientists and helped them achieve their career goals. Recently, John joined the Department helping graduate students in Chemistry focus on the job search process. Below are some of the ways that John assists our graduate students:

    • Mock interviews
    • Resume critique
    • Inventory of behavior and scientific skills
    • Identify areas for development
    • Discuss your real interview
    • Discuss career/family life balance


Sponsors Days, our signature recruiting event, occurs each fall. Sponsors Days is a forty year tradition that offers a unique opportunity for our students to meet with representatives from industry, many of whom are Penn State graduates. Representatives of the sponsoring corporations are brought up to date on the research activities within the Department and given an opportunity to interact with graduate students in informal meetings, luncheons and formal employment interviews. Almost all of our third and fourth year graduate students participate in the program, which has been enormously successful in placing them in industrial positions.

Job Placement

Academic PlacementIndustrial Placement
Albert University Air Products
Georgetown University Pfizer
Vanderbilt University DuPont
Rowan University P&G
Florida State University DOW Chemical
Texas A&M Intel
Neumann University Merck
Amherst College Bristol Myers Squibb
Randolph Macon College Bayer Pharmaceuticals

Alumni LinkedIn Group

The Graduate Office maintains a LinkedIn Alumni Group page to connect students and alumni. Graduate students can network with alumni, ask questions about a field or career path and learn from other people's experiences. By sharing insights, alumni can be a valuable resource for a student's professional development. Simply request to join the "Penn State Chemistry Alumni Group" via LinkedIn.