In this treasure from the Papa PhD vault, I bring you my Season 1 conversation with Fiona Robinson. During our conversation, Fiona shares her insights on pushing through in graduate school and in life, and on her take on finding a fulfilling professional life outside of academia.

Fiona Robinson

Following a PhD in RNA Biochemistry at Cambridge University and a post-doc in developmental neurobiology/oncology at the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children, Fiona moved to Montréal and shifted careers into science communication/medical education. Currently she is a freelance medical editor, a lead volunteer in the local women’s hockey community, and half an IronMan! As medical editor, Fiona is responsible for the creation, editing, production, and publication of educational materials for different organizations in the global bleeding disorders community. She conducts needs assessments to understand what resources are most needed and then works with volunteer subject matter experts from around the world and local freelancers to create the content, which she then edits and sees through production. Managing budgets and timelines, volunteers and contractors, and diverse cultural and socioeconomic contexts requires many of the “soft skills” that she developed working in research and, just as importantly, exploring non-research interests during her time in academia.

What we covered in the interview:

  • The value of finding your passion to instruct your career search
  • How nurturing a rich life outside research can open doors for you later on
  • Dealing with the uncertainty of the non-academic job market
  • Defusing the socially awkward/standoffish academic stereotype
  • The importance of tailoring your CV and of tailor-writing your cover letters to each potential employer and position
  • Looking around and keeping a job posting scrap-book as a way of identifying potentially fulfilling careers

You might also like the following episodes:

Sheena Howard – How to Leverage Academic Branding

Amal Abuzeinab – Flourishing in Your PhD and Beyond

Melissa Gismondi – The Power of Graduate Internships

Wafaa Aldhafiri –Venturing Beyond Traditional Roles

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