Career Panel

“What should I do with my scientific life? Exciting Career Options for Ph.D. Recipients”

There is much more to being a scientist than working in a lab. In this fun and informative session, hear from scientists who have carved out cutting edge careers that unite many skill sets. This panel will explore the exciting and rewarding science careers in industry, teaching, and academia. Workshop participants will learn practical strategies for pursuing these career opportunities. Panelists will be present at the Minority Postdoc Summit on Thursday Oct 21. Thus, attendees should try to meet with panelists during the Summit networking lunch.

Click on the title following speaker’s name to download a PDF-version of their presentation.

Date and Location

Saturday October 23, 2004 from 4-6pm at the 31st annual SACNAS conference in Austin, TX.


Claudina A. Stevenson, Ph.D.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Jabbar R. Bennett, Ph.D., Moderator
Harvard Medical School


Howard Adams

Howard G. Adams, Ph.D.
H.G. Adams & Associates, Inc.
“Mentoring: An Enabling Relationship”

Dr. Adams is Founder and President of H.G. Adams & Associates, Inc., a Marietta, GA based consulting firm. Adams is a leading expert on mentoring and mentorship program development, having spoken at over 500 colleges and universities and numerous national conferences, and conducted training for a number of fortune 500 companies. He has written, lectured, and consulted extensively on mentoring as an effective strategy for professional, educational, and personal development. He has also been recognized by former Presidents Reagan and Clinton, and is one of the first recipients of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Mentoring. Dr. Adams’s book “Get up with something on your mind!” will be available at the Postdoc booth (#704) in the SACNAS Exhibition Hall.

Related links:
“Have Career Advice, Will Travel” Science 299: 509 (Jan. 24, 2003) Howard Adams is “a one-man visiting scientist program” (login required).


Renne Commerford

Renne Commerford, Ph.D.
Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research
“Scientists in Pharmaceutical Research”

Dr. Commerford completed her graduate work (1997, Exercise physiology; 1998, Nutrition) at Colorado State University where she explored the relationship between substrate utilization/diet composition and body weight. As a fellow at Arizona State University (1999-2000), she used high fat/sucrose diets to study nutrient effects on hepatic glucose metabolism in a pre-diabetic model. While at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (2000-2003), she used nutrients to explore the regulation of metabolic gene expression in liver and skeletal muscle. Dr. Commerford presently works at Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research (November, 2003) in Discovery Pharmacology in the Division of Diabetes and Metabolism.

Roberto Frontera-Suau

Roberto Frontera-Suau, Ph.D.
Elizabeth City State University
“Tenure-Track Positions at Teaching Institutions”

Dr. Frontera-Suau attended the University of Puerto Rico, obtaining a M.S. in Microbiology (1991), followed by a Ph.D. at the Medical University of South Carolina studying the microbial ecology of hydrocarbon degraders. He continued this work as a postdoctoral fellow under the Seeding Postdoctoral Innovators in Research and Education (SPIRE) program at UNC-Chapel Hill. Currently Dr. Frontera-Suau is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at Elizabeth City State University.

Related links:
Dr. Frontera-Suau’s experience as a SPIRE postdoc
“Love of Science and Teaching Developed by MORE” Profile of Roberto Frontera-Suau

Claudina Stevenson

Claudina A. Stevenson, Ph.D.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
“Academic Research”

Dr. Stevenson is an Instructor in Medicine in the Department of Cancer Biology and Director of the Office for Postdoctoral Training and Career Development (OPTCD) at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Her research focuses on elucidating the role of ABC transporter drug pumps in multidrug resistance. As Director of OPTCD, her responsibilities include creating an environment to support and prepare postdoc for successful careers. Dr. Stevenson obtained her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Louisiana State University. She did her postdoctoral fellowship in the NCI Center for Cancer Research. Dr. Stevenson is a founding member of the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) and Chair of the NPA Outreach Committee.

Michael Stevenson

Michael Stevenson, Ph.D.
“Medical Liaisons in Industry”

Dr. Stevenson is a Regional Director of Scientific Affairs for AstraZeneca pharmaceuticals. His current responsibilities include leading a team of 12 advanced-degreed Scientific Liaisons dispersed across the eastern part of the United States. Dr. Stevenson graduated Magna cum laude from Duquesne University with a B.S. in Pharmacy, and received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the Louisiana State University. During his four-year tenure with AstraZeneca, Dr. Stevenson has been the recipient of numerous awards for performance, including the Rising Star Award, and the prestigious President’s Circle of Excellence award.

Jabbar Bennett

Jabbar R. Bennett, Ph.D., Moderator
Harvard Medical School
“The Road to Success”

Dr. Bennett is Research and Science Specialist in the Office for Diversity and Community Partnership at Harvard Medical School, and Adjunct Professor in the School of Education at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA and at Roxbury Community College in Boston, MA. He received his B.S. in biology and minor in Spanish from North Carolina A&T State University and his Ph.D. in biomedical sciences from Meharry Medical College. His research focused on gene expression ablation in Leishmania. Dr. Bennett has been teaching and promoting biomedical science and health professions education for more than 10 years through interactions with underrepresented minority students.

Related links:
“The Passion of the Science: A Nontraditional Pathway” Science Nextwave (Apr. 2 2004)
“It is important for you to remember while you are in the developmental stages of your career that no stop is the final destination. You should constantly strive to learn more, be open to diversity in learning, and be open-minded to different types of options.” J. Bennett


Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS)
National Postdoctoral Association (NPA), Diversity Committee


Alfred P. Sloan Foundation We thank Novartis for covering the travel expenses of Dr. Commerford.

Who Should Attend

Postdocs and advanced graduate students who want to learn about career options with a Ph.D. degree.

last updated 6-Nov-04