Alumni return to speak about post-PhD career paths

During Autumn Quarter, the Department of Iberian and Latin American Cultures invited back six graduate alumni to give brief talks over Zoom about their career paths after earning a Ph.D. from the Department.
For our first of a two-part series of panel discussions, we heard from three ILAC alumni who pursued careers in academia.
Anna Castillo, who is currently Andrew W. Mellon Assistant Professor of Spanish at Vanderbilt University, emphasized her passion for teaching, and she shared examples of how she took advantage of teaching opportunities at Stanford and communicated her teaching interests to hiring committees. María Helena Rueda, Associate Professor of Spanish at Smith College, was a helpful source of knowledge to all those curious about the benefits of working at a liberal arts college. William Viestenz, Associate Professor of Spanish at the University of Minnesota, shared his thoughts on balancing teaching and service commitments at a larger research university. In the Q&A that followed these presentations, our alumni speakers continued to share insights and advice in response to current graduate students’ questions and concerns about navigating the academic job market in an especially difficult year.
In our second event, we heard from three ILAC alumni who pursued careers outside of academia. This discussion focused on strategies for developing new skills as well as highlighting skills that are transferable to a variety of career paths.
Chris Kark, Senior Product Designer at ThrivePass, kicked off the discussion with a well-illustrated presentation of his own journey from humanities research to product design. He suggested that current graduate students think about what kind of problems they would like to solve and to keep these questions in mind as they explore career options. Cuauhtémoc García-García, CEO of Imaging Allergy Testing, spoke of combining his interests, following his passion, and staying true to himself. Marcela Junguito, who is currently Principal at Gimnasio Femenino, a girls’ school in Bogotá, spoke of her passion for education. She pointed out that in much of her current work, she has crafted narratives and carefully considered their impact. All three of our speakers acknowledged such continuities or overlaps as they reminded graduate students that careers outside of academia allow one to pursue academic passions and interests in different ways.
Professor Héctor Hoyos shared this article from the MLA about translating your academic training into non-academic job skills: Resource: Transferable Skills and How to Talk about Them
The current graduate students who attended these events are grateful to these ILAC alumni who took the time to share their insights and advice and to speak candidly about their own experiences!