This week on Beyond the Thesis With Papa PhD we will be talking about exploring non-traditional roles for young researchers with PhD candidate Wafaa Nasser Aldhafiri.

Wafaa N Aldhafiri

Wafaa Nasser Aldhafifi. Wafaa, a Master’s graduate in Pharmaceutical Sciences and a current Ph.D. candidate at UNMC, stands out for her dynamic career.

She founded ‘The Pharma Weekly Digest’, a popular newsletter spanning LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter, where she curates the latest pharmaceutical news and industry buzz.

With experience as a pharmaceutical scientist in leading pharma companies, Wafaa has expanded her expertise to roles in licensing and patent specialization, showcasing her versatility beyond traditional academia and industry role.

What we covered in the interview:

  • Finding Mentorship and Ventures Beyond Traditional Roles – Wafaa N. Aldhafiri’s positive experiences with mentorship in academia and yoga training – David Mendes’ academic journey and advice on transitioning from master’s to PhD – Encouragement for PhD holders to consider non-traditional roles beyond academia and industry – Assessing interest in research before committing to a PhD
  • Exploring Versatile Career Opportunities – Leveraging STEM skills in various sectors such as policy, municipal systems, industry, and governmental entities – Shifting mindset from scarcity to recognizing the value of PhD skills in various sectors – Venturing beyond academia or industry and the versatility of PhD holders in various roles
  • Overcoming Fear and Criticism – Cautious approach to exploring career opportunities outside academia – Addressing fear of not being taken seriously and handling criticism and judgment – Weighing options and building a safety net when pursuing career paths beyond academia
  • Entrepreneurial Ventures and Career Exploration – Starting the Pharma Weekly Digest to fill a knowledge gap in the pharmaceutical world – Choosing a newsletter format for the digest and the process of compiling and reviewing content – Experimenting with various professional preferences and experiences
  • The importance of Mentorship and Networking – Finding supportive mentors in academia, extracurricular activities, and hobbies – Importance of having multiple mentors in various aspects of life – Being open to learning, feedback, and networking opportunities
  • Personal Development and Well-being – Balancing studies, work, and extracurricular activities during a PhD program – The significance of extracurricular activities for developing confidence, time management, soft skills, and networking – Encouragement to focus on personal happiness and well-being


This episode’s resources:

Thank you, Wafaa N. Aldhafiri!

If you enjoyed this conversation with Wafaa, let her know by clicking the links below and leaving her a message on Linkedin:

Send Wafaa N. Aldhafiri a thank you message on Linkedin!

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

You might also like the following episodes:

Sheena Howard – How to Leverage Academic Branding

Amal Abuzeinab – Flourishing in Your PhD and Beyond

Merle van den Akker – Debunking PhD Misconceptions

Emma Brodzinski – Supporting and inspiring graduate students

As always, if you find value in Papa PhD and in the content I bring you every week, click on one of the buttons below and send some of that value back to me by becoming a supporter on Patreon or by buying me a coffee 🙂

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