Alumni share advice and resources

Speakers at the animal science career panel

The Animal Science Graduate Student Association (ASGSA) organized the second annual alumni panel, featuring five distinguished Cornell Animal Science graduates representing diverse backgrounds and professional trajectories. Drs. Erika Ganda, Sara Place, and Jessica Rothman, who currently serve as faculty members at Penn State University, Colorado State University, and Hunter CUNY, respectively, emphasized the significance of forging one’s unique path.

Dr. Rothman shared her pivotal learning experience, recounting how she almost rejected her current position under external pressure, only to realize that Hunter CUNY would allow her flexibility to pursue her professional aspirations while a “more prestigious” university might not. Dr. Place illustrated the value of her experiences beyond academia, highlighting how a non-linear path can foster critical connections and future opportunities. Dr. Ganda offered practical advice to international graduate students on securing visas and navigating immigration challenges. She also highlighted the importance of good mentors in and out of academia. Dr. David Wilson, an entrepreneur and drug development professional, provided a distinct perspective on initiating entrepreneurship endeavors, advocating for the exploration of ideas beyond the confines of animal science and seeking guidance from individuals with business expertise.

The panelists collectively emphasized the importance of networking beyond one’s immediate industry to access pivotal opportunities. Fiona Fang, a recent graduate and professional at Sanofi Pasteur, advised students to pursue rotational work opportunities to explore diverse roles. Throughout the panel, there was a consistent message urging students to embrace new experiences and pursue unconventional paths tailored to their career aspirations. Additionally, the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance and occasionally disconnecting was underscored.

In summary, the alumni panel provided invaluable guidance to current students as they navigate their academic and professional journeys, emphasizing the benefits of experimentation and fearlessness in pursuing fulfilling career paths.

Parting advice:

  • Don’t make it look too easy-incorporate obstacles and how you overcame them.
  • The world is interdisciplinary, and this is where the most creative ideas emanate, so be emboldened to explore other areas.
  • Volunteer in areas outside your comfort zone in whichever role you have.
  • Do what you want to do in life-pursue your passion-this might involve change along the way.

Beneficial Resources:

For international scholars:  English Language Support Office (ELSO)  and the Office of Global Learning
For career exploration and skill building: Careers Beyond Academia, Future Faculty and Academic Careers, and the Office of Postdoctoral Studies
For connecting with mentors: your advisor, Careers Beyond Academia LibGuide, CUeLINKS, LinkedIn