Hi! This week I have the pleasure of bringing you someone whose mission is to help graduate students and postdocs with their career development. As Director of UC Irvine’s GPS-STEM Program, Harinder Singh achieves this transition support through different approaches, including training, mentoring, and networking. During our conversation, we talked about how he got interested and involved in  conversations and organizations around the post-PhD career question and about his view on what the landscape is looking like today.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • What Harinder did when he asked himself “Where do PhDs go?”
  • The power of being part of graduate student and postdoc associations
  • How Harinder busted the myth that getting involved in projects outside the lab hinders your productivity
  • How pairing academic training with career training increased faculty adhesion to the GPS-STEM Program
  • Why taking part student-led initiatives is an extremely enriching experience and how it brought Harinder to his current position
  • How to fund your student-led symposia and other projects from your bench
Harinder Singh

Harinder Singh is Program Director, Graduate Professional Success in S.T.E.M. at UC Irvine. Previously, Harinder served as the Associate Director for the NIH-BEST funded program, GPS-BIOMED from 2018 2019. He earned his Doctorate in Cardiovascular biology  from the Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia in 2014 and conducted Postdoctoral training in Neurosciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago from 2014 to 2018. Harinder served many executive roles in a Chicago based Scientist organization, CHIentist, dedicated to providing a networking platform for junior researchers & industry professionals. He was appointed to the Board of Directors of the science advocacy organization, Future of Research, with a mission to engage & empower early career scientists with evidence-based resources in improving the scientific research endeavor. As the leader of UC Irvine’s GPS-STEM program, Harinder is dedicated to finding solutions that broaden research training, foster relationships between academia and the private sector, and raise awareness on how academic discoveries advance society.

Thank you, Harinder Singh!

If you enjoyed this interview with Mark, let him know by clicking the link below and leaving him a message on Twitter:

Click here to thank Harinder Singh on Twitter!

Click here to share your key take-away from this interview with David!

Harinder's pearls of wisdom:

“When you listen to this podcast and listen to me and David, you try to connect with me, do not just connect – write something in the brief note, short note. “Hello Harinder! It was wonderful listening to you for the Papa PhD podcast with David”. If you liked the podcast, say that you liked it and you would like to keep in touch. There you go – my connection with you. In the future if you’re applying to some job and you see that this is the company, had these other people who work in company, which you can actually see on LinkedIn, and then it will also tell you those people who are working, who they are connected to. You see that they are connected to me, now this is your gateway to getting into that company. Write a message – “Harinder, I saw that you are connected with this person, I’m applying to this position – would you be ok connecting me to them?” And when I see that you had written me a message in the past where you heard the podcast, and we connected, 99% of times, I’m going to respond to you. If I do not see a message or a history of past messages as to why you’re connecting, I am not going to respond.”

“If you don’t have it, ask for it. If they are not doing it, you do it. You’re scientists – you’re entrepreneurial. You sit, read a paper, identify the void – it’s almost like doing a market research. And now, what do you do? You go and plan an experiment, design an experiment, you go and look for reagents. You don’t have them you go ask for them. Your PI is not agreeing with which experiments you want to do? Convince them with the data. And then go ahead and do an experiment. And we are very entrepreneurial by nature, scientists. And as I said, just try to manifest, and then you’ll translate that into this form, and build it! And if you need help, I’m happy to help you out. There’s a lot of examples out there how to organize your own symposium, how to raise money for these graduate student and postdoctoral association programming.”

This episode’s resources:

Do you enjoy Papa PhD? Leave me a comment here – one short sentence is enough! And be sure to include your Twitter handle – that way, I can thank you personally! Or if you prefer, fuel my long audio editing and notes page writing nights by buying me a coffee! Just click on the button below and voilà! An espresso, a cappucino, a latte – you decide. I’ll be immensely grateful.

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