There are dozens of diverse career trajectories available to astronomers inside and outside academia. The following interviews share advice and lessons learned from individuals on various paths.

Contact

To recommend additional participants, please email the person's name, email address, and field of work to:

Diane Frendak
Diane Frendak
Director of Membership Services
202-328-2010 x109

Academia

Andria Schwortz

Andria Schwortz

“My job is not in the traditional academic track. What led me to community college teaching while completing the PhD is that I enjoyed teaching much more than I did performing science research.”

Andria Schwortz

“My job is not in the traditional academic track. What led me to community college teaching while completing the PhD is that I enjoyed teaching much more than I did performing science research.”

Education

PhD (2019-2020)
University of Wyoming

Current Position

Professor of Integrated Science
Quinsigamond Community College

Skill Set

Science Education
Physics Curriculum Development

Data Science

Dr. Alicia Oshlack

Dr. Alicia Oshlack

“A PhD in Astronomy gives you many skills required for general research and often many skills for data analysis. These skill can be applied in many different settings.”

Dr. Alicia Oshlack

“A PhD in Astronomy gives you many skills required for general research and often many skills for data analysis. These skill can be applied in many different settings.”

Education

PhD
University of Melbourne

Current Position

Head of Bioinformatics
Murdoch Children's Research Inst.

Skill Set

Statistics
Computer Science
Genetics
Jessica Kirkpatrick

Jessica Kirkpatrick

“Understandably faculty advisors know a lot more about the academic path than other paths. However, advisors/departments have a network of former students that they can leverage to help students who are considering alternative paths.”

Jessica Kirkpatrick

“Understandably faculty advisors know a lot more about the academic path than other paths. However, advisors/departments have a network of former students that they can leverage to help students who are considering alternative paths.”

Education

PhD
UC Berkeley

Current Position

Director of Data Science and Digital Exploration
KoBold Metals

Skill Set

Data Analysis and Management
Programming (Python, R, C)
Communication

Government

Dr. Joseph Pesce

Dr. Joseph Pesce

“A connection to a local university (even to teach a course a year) is useful.”

Dr. Joseph Pesce

“A connection to a local university (even to teach a course a year) is useful.”

Education

PhD
Cambridge

Current Position

Program Director
National Science Foundation

Current Position

Professor
George Mason University

Industry

Andre Wong

Andre Wong

“Don't let the pressure to volunteer for every project all the time overwhelm the need for personal time and time with family.”

Andre Wong

“Don't let the pressure to volunteer for every project all the time overwhelm the need for personal time and time with family.”

Education

MA
University of Virginia

Former Position

ASIC Design Engineer
Teledyne Technologies

Skill Set

Data Analysis
IR Detectors
Technical Writing

Museums

astronomer_isabel-hawkins

Isabel Hawkins

“I love working with people and explaining astronomy in accessible terms.”

Isabel Hawkins

“I love working with people and explaining astronomy in accessible terms.”

Education

PhD
UCLA

Current Position

Project Director
Exploratorium

Skill Set

Community Outreach
Grant Writing
Program Development