Mentors

It is wise to make use of mentors to help guide you throughout your career. Mentoring is when a professional in academia or in another industry gives time, attention, insight, and advice to foster you in your career. Mentors help you develop social capital within an environment where you can then acquire the resources and support to develop technical and intellectual capital. It is not just about providing office space, but introducing you to the inner workings of an organization, providing advice on how to handle various situations, and teaching interpersonal skills. Mentoring involves two-way communication that can benefit both parties. Mentoring relationships can be from afar or in person, can entail regular meetings or even no meetings. 

handshakeBe inclusive to get varied perspectives. Mentors can be inside or outside your field of study, be more or less experienced than you, and can include:

  • Peers
  • Your advisor(s)
  • Professionals within the organization
  • Professionals outside the organization
  • Family and friends, colleagues at your hobbies
  • Maybe even celebrities or famous scholars you have never met

Please contact Careers Beyond Academia staff to discuss how to connect with mentors, and reach out to the mentors who are listed in this LibGuide on the tabs for particular career paths: they are eager to talk with you. Do not ask them for a job; rather, ask them for advice and to tell you about their career and organizations they have worked for.

To learn more about the difference between coaches, mentors and sponsors, connect with the eCornell video for definitions, examples, and tips for finding the right fit for you to get the career support you seek.

Mentoring Resources

The National Research Mentoring Network has loads of tools to connect with and become a mentor, explore how to enhance your mentoring skills, and to maximize your potential.  The National Academies has a wonderful compilation of effective mentoring practices, and CIMER (the Center for the Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research) is dedicated to the development, implementation, and evaluation of good mentoring practices.  There are many Career Development Webinars and videos in conjunction with iBiology provide tips. In addition see the Cornell alumni career support page.

Mentors in Industry and Entrepreneurship

  • Scott Allen, R&D Director, Aramco Performance Materials, previously Co-Founder and Vice President for Catalyst Development, Novomer (Cornell PhD '04)
  • Bob Balk, previously at Boeing, Pier 70 Ventures, Entrepreneur-in-Residence at High Tech Rochester and paraolympian medalist
  • Jaime Benitez, Staff Scientist, Pacific Biosciences (Cornell PhD '10)
  • Cameron Bardliving, Director, Pilot Plant Facility, Jefferson Institute for Bioprocessing (NSF I-CORPS, Agave BioSystems; Cornell alumnus)
  • Craig Beil, Project Manager, Nature Source Improved Plants (NSIP)
  • Mindy Bickel, Associate Commissioner for Innovation Development, United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
  • Hayden Brainard, Partner, Miller Meyer Attorneys at Law
  • Cherié Butts, Associate Director, Immunology, Biogen
  • Amelia Cine, Regulatory Affairs Manager, Applied Molecular Transport
  • Randolph Clower, Patent/IP Attorney
  • Madeleine (Bee) DiGregorio, GC-MS Product Specialist at Shimadzu Scientific Instruments (PhD'19 Food Science)
  • Al Di Rienzo, President, Co-founder, CIO, One Health Group
  • Matthew Einsohn, entrepreneur, finder of funding, and coach for telling your story
  • Nicole Fay, Consultant; previously Research Scientist, Applied Molecular Transport
  • Adam Fisher, Chemical Engineer (Science & Research staff), Office of Pharmaceutical Quality, FDA (Co-Founder, Glycobia; Cornell alumnus)
  • Dan Frank, Senior Sales Representative, VWR International
  • Greg Galvin, CEO & Chairman, Rheonix (Cornell alumnus)
  • Yue Geng, Head of Asia Pacific at Berkeley Lights, Inc., previously at ThermoFisher, STEMCELL Technologies, InSphero, BioDuro (Cornell alumna)
  • Elysa Goldberg, Associate Director/Patent Attorney, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Cornell alumna)
  • Kent Goklen, Glaxo Smith Kline
  • William Greener, Partner, Klintworth & Rozenblat IP
  • George Grills, Director of Core Laboratories and Shared Research Resources at Augusta University
  • Michelle Haven, Senior Vice President, Business Development, Zoetis
  • Ronda Hamm, Global Academic Relations, Dow AgroSciences
  • Bethany Hills, Partner, Chair FDA Practice at Mintz Levin
  • Nicholas Horton, Scientist at Exponent in Menlo Park, CA, a consulting firm (Cornell PhD '17)
  • Andrea Katherine Ippolito, Executive Director, Engineering Management Program, Cornell (Cornell MENG '07) 
  • John Jaquette, retired, former Director of Entrepreneurship@Cornell
  • Colin Jermain, Lead Data Scientist at Vectra AI (PhD'17 Physics)
  • Rami Katz, Chief Operations Officer, Excell Partners, Inc.
  • Karen Kindle, Science Communication Consultant, self-employed, formerly VP Research BTI (BS'73 Biochem)
  • Fernando F. Migone, Head of Customer Success, DefinedCrowd Corp (PhD'15 BME)
  • Debra Moesch, Program Director, Entrepreneurship@Cornell Internship Program Director (Cornell alumna)
  • John Nesheim, Founder, Nesheim Online (MBA'67)
  • Bobby Nijjar, Life Sciences Consultant, Accenture (MS BME)
  • John Parker, Director, Cornell Leadership Program for Veterinary Students, Associate Professor of Virology, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Michael Roach, J. Thomas and Nancy W. Clark Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship, Cornell University Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management
  • Gabriel Rodríguez-Calero, CEO, Ecolectro (PhD'14 Chem)
  • Kirk Samaroo, President & Founder, Dynamic Boundaries, Inc. (PhD'15 MechE)
  • Anne Schneiderman, Partner, Harris Beach PLLC (retired 2019)
  • Zach Shulman, Director, Entrepreneurship@Cornell and VC (BS'90)
  • Wes Sine, Faculty Director, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute, Associate Professor of Management and Organizations, Johnson School of Management, Cornell University (PhD'00 ILR)
  • Rajni Singh, Consumer Safety Officer at FDA (PhD'12, Molecular and Integrative Physiology)
  • Erin Stephens, Director of Tissue Engineering at Prellis Biologics, Inc. (PhD'18 BMCB)
  • Mingchee Tan, Formulation Scientist at GenEdit (PhD'15 BME)
  • Oded Spindel, Senior Vice President Investment Banking at Rodman & Renshaw (a unit of H.C. Wainwright & Co. LLC) in NYC
  • Richard von Stein, Director, Product Safety, L'Oréal (PhD'11 ETox)
  • Patrick Sturges, CCRP, Medical Advisor Researcher, Sanofi (MS'08 BMCB)
  • Amanda Weyerbacher, Senior Principal, inThought Research (PhD '09 Pharmacology)
  • Kenneth Yancey, Director, Downstream Purification, University of Pennsylvania (PhD '17 BEE)
  • Jingwen Zhang, Associate Principal Scientist, AstraZeneca (PhD'13 Pharmacology)
  • Nikolay Zhelev, Senior Research Scientist, Corning Incorporated (PhD '16 Physics)
  • X. Sheryl Zhou, Founder, M Square Investment (PhD '09 Biomedical Sciences, MBA '13)

Cornell doctoral career outcomes

To find the names of employers and salary ranges for Cornell doctoral alumni, as well as survey results of their satisfaction at their job, consult the Graduate School Doctoral Alumni Career Outcomes interactive dashboard. There you can select for your own field, and others closely related, to see where people have ended up. The bottom line? There are many paths to success in a wide variety of careers for PhDs from all disciplines!

Questions to ask of alumni

Informational interviews can help you imagine what is involved in a particular job or career path to help you determine whether it fits your values, personality, and interests. Consider attending a few career panels and researching online stories to hear in general what individuals find most rewarding about their career choices and advice they wish they had received while a graduate student. Before reaching out for more information, do as much research as you can to find out information about the organization and the person you plan to contact. This way you can ask more specific questions. handshake

At a career panel you might ask:

  • Share your career progression from your PhD to today. What decisions along the way influenced the outcome? What resources were helpful?
  • Describe your typical week-how much are you traveling, on the phone, writing, meeting with people?
  • What do you wish you knew when you were in graduate school? What should others do to prepare for success in your field?
  • What challenges are you trying to solve and what do you love most about your work?

In an informational interview you can go into more specifics for the particular industry. But do not ask for proprietary information. Careers Beyond Academia is happy to set up a consultation to help you connect with the right people and approaches to get the information you seek! Contact us.

Mentors in Innovation and Intellectual Property

Reaching out to people for informational interviews can help you decide where you want to go after your PhD or postdoctoral training at Cornell. Contact us at gradcareers@cornell.edu for an introduction, or feel free to reach out to them directly! Many are Cornell alumni, and all are eager to help give advice.

  • Omotunde Babalola, Associate Director Quality Assurance & Disposition, Bristol Myers Squibb (Cornell alumna)
  • Jeff Ballyns, FDA Regulator
  • Mindy Bickel, NYC Engagement Manager, United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
  • Diane Bovenkamp, Vice President, Scientific Affairs, oversees all of BrightFocus Foundation’s research programs
  • Alexis Brubaker, Biosafety Officer for Cornell University
  • Randolph Clower, Patent/IP Attorney
  • Eldora Ellison, Director in the Biotech/Chemical and Litigation Practice Groups at Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein, Fox (and Cornell alumna)
  • Patrick Emmerling, PhD, MBA, Senior Licensing Manager, Roswell Park Cancer Institute
  • Adam Fisher, Chemical Engineer (Science & Research staff), Office of Pharmaceutical Quality, FDA (also co-founded Glycobia; Cornell alumnus)
  • Natalie Galley, Associate at Fish & Richardson PC, PhD'11, Cornell Mechanical Engineering, JD Harvard Law School
  • Roshni Ghosh, Patent Agent at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. PhD Developmental Genetics, JD Fordham 
  • Abby Goldman, PhD'18, IDA Science and Technology Policy Institute
  • Meera Govindaraghavan, Patent Agent
  • Michelle Haven, Senior Vice President, Business Development, Zoetis
  • Natalie Henkhaus, Executive Coordinator, American Society of Plant Biology (Cornell alumna) 
  • Bethany Hills, Life Sciences Partner, Morrison & Foerster
  • Stephen Johnson, Federal and Community Relations, Cornell University (retired)
  • Charles Kruzansky, State Government Relations, Cornell University
  • Susan Licker, Senior Director R&D, Global Platform Lead for Innovation – Snacks Category, PepsiCo, Inc.
  • Oskar Liivak, Cornell Intellectual Property Professor PhD'00 Cornell Physics, JD Yale
  • Lydia McClure, National Science Foundation Division of Industrial Innovation & Partnerships Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Program Director
  • Jason Mercer, Regulatory Affairs Manager at Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals
  • Raymond Parker III, Senior Patent Counsel at Johnson Matthey, PhD'87, Chemistry, JD NYU
  • Philip Pellett, Professor, Department of Immunology and Microbiology, Wayne State University School of Medicine (and formerly at the Centers for Disease Control)
  • Shilpa Prem, Counsel, Director, Office of the General Counsel at Merk & Co., Inc.
  • Steve Rabinowitz, Institute for Defense Analysis
  • Dan Rice, Director, NY State Food Laboratory, NY Ag & Markets
  • Jack Rudnick, Visiting Professor of Practice, Syracuse Law School; Director, Technology Commercialization Law Program; Director, New York State Science & Technology Law Center
  • Rajni Singh, Consumer Safety Officer at FDA (Cornell alumna)
  • Anne Schneiderman, Patent Attorney, Biologist, Harris Beach PLLC
  • Alfonso Torres, Researcher Plum Island Animal Disease Center, Associate Dean for Public Policy, Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Karen Tountas, Scientific Program Manager, Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH)
  • David White, Chief Science Officer, Research Director, Office of Foods and Veterinary Medicine, FDA
  • William R. Zimmerli. Esq., Chief Intellectual Property Counsel
  • Ulysses Williams III, Junior Intellectual Property Attorney at IBM, JD Howard University.
  • Molly Zimmerman, Associate Director, New York State Science & Technology Law Center, CONMED.

Mentors for Policy-Related Careers

Reaching out to people for informational interviews can help you decide where you want to go after your PhD or postdoctoral training at Cornell. Contact us at gradcareers@cornell.edu for an introduction, or feel free to reach out to them directly! Many are Cornell alumni, and all are eager to help give advice. Most have either spoken at or participated in our programming over the years and are aware and supportive of helping doctoral students and postdoctoral scholars learn more about policy careers and skills needed for success in this sector.

  • Mark Bayer, Bayer Strategic
  • Holly Falk-Krzesinski, Vice President, Research Intelligence, Global Strategic Networks at Elsevier
  • Cristina Fernandez-Baca PhD'18, US Department of State AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow
  • Portia Flowers, Science Policy Analyst at the National Science Foundation
  • Bill Foster, Physicist and Congressman, IL
  • Michal Freedhoff, Minority Director of Oversight & Investigations, U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
  • Abby Goldman PhD'18, IDA Science Technology Policy
  • Dan Gordon, Research Scientist at the New York State Department of Health
  • Chelsea Gregg PhD'16 Medtronic, Principal Research and Development Engineer, former AIMBE FDA Scholar
  • Don Hartill, Mayor of Lansing, NY and Emeritus Professor of Physics at Cornell
  • Rush Holt, CEO of AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science)
  • Kristen Hook PhD'16, AAAS  Legislative Science & Technology Policy Fellow sponsored by the American Statistical Association
  • Terrance Horner, Senior Science Analyst at U.S. Government Accountability Office
  • Stephen Johnson, Vice President Emeritus, Federal and Community Relations, Cornell University
  • Adna Karabegovic, Project Coordinator, Research Tools And Economics Team, World Resources Institute
  • Judy Keen, Oncology Medical Training Leader, AstraZeneca; Director of Scientific Affairs, American Society for Radiation Oncology
  • Charles Kruzansky, Assistant Vice President, Office of State Government Relations, Cornell University
  • Charlotte Levy PhD'19 DOE AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow, former Vice-President of ASAP
  • Joseph Long, National Science Policy Network Sci-Pol Scholars in Residence internship program
  • Anne Maglia, Associate Vice Chancellor-Research Compliance, UMass Lowell, former Science Advisor, NSF
  • Joel Malina, Vice President University Relations at Cornell University
  • Rachel Malloy, Director, Bureau of Sexual Health and Epidemiology, AIDS Institute, New York State Dept. of Health (NYSDOH)
  • Sarah Mandell, Director of Public Policy & Strategic Partnerships, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE)
  • Dianne L. Miller, Senior Director, Federal Government Relations at Cornell University
  • Fanuel Muindi, Assistant Director of Graduate Studies at Harvard University and Co-Founder of STEM Advocacy
  • Marika Nell PhD'20 California Council on Science & Technology (CCST) Policy Fellow
  • Zoe Nelson, Associate Director, Office of State Government Relations, Cornell University
  • Julie (Hammons) Nevins PhD'15 Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion
  • Jimmy O'Dea, Union of Concerned Scientists, former AAAS Congressional Science Policy Fellow
  • Abraham Parker, Staff Scientist at Environmental Management Support, Inc.
  • Helen Petach, Senior MCH Science Advisor, USAID
  • Kris Poduska, Director, Science Policy with the Canadian Association of Physicists, Professor of Physics and Physical Oceanography
  • Joe Regenstein, Professor of Food Science and Director of Cornell Kosher and Halal Food Initiative
  • Cynthia Robinson, President, Robertson Fdn. for Government, formerly at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • Andrew Ruttinger PhD'21 Policy Analyst, Natural Resources Canada
  • Andy Sanchez, Journal of Science Policy and Governance (JSPG) Assistant Editor-in-Chief, President ASAP
  • Chris Schaffer, Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Cornell University
  • Jeff Sharp, Media Strategist and Entrepreneur at Manitou Media
  • Catherine Spirito, PhD'17 Asst. Clinical Professor, Univ. MD
  • Scott Steele, FDA Office of Medical Policy Initiatives
  • Gary Stewart, Associate Vice President for Community Relations at Cornell 
  • Julie Suarez, Associate Dean of Governmental and Community Relations in CALS at Cornell
  • James Tierney, Assistant Commissioner of Water Resources at the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
  • Sri Vedachalam, Water Policy Specialist
  • Liz Wayne PhD'15 shares how to get involved in policy work in her When Science Speaks video
  • Marissa Weiss, Program Coordinator for the Harvard Forest Science Policy Exchange, AAAS Mass Media Fellow, Mirzayan Fellow
  • Carrie Wolinetz, Associate Director for Science Policy, Director of the Office of Science Policy (OSP) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • Jodi Yellin, Science Policy at AAMC (Assoc. of American Medical Colleges)
  • Catharine (Clark) Young, Co-Founder Blueprint International, TED Fellow & Senior Science and Innovation Policy Advisor, Head of DC Team at British Embassy

We are happy to help you identify additional mentors in your field. Make an appointment today!

Mentors in Communication

Join the Friends of Cornell SciComm (FOCUS) LinkedIn group

Listen to the podcast on communicating effectively by Jeff Niederdeppe through TeachBetter.

Look at the LinkedIn profiles and reach out to Careers Beyond Academia mentors about how they use communication skills in their career to: 

  • Write and speak effectively for a range of purposes, audiences, and contexts
  • Identify, assess, and use reliable and valid information sources
  • Communicate with visual and digital tools effectively
  • Use their communication skills to advocate for policy

James Alaro
Sibby Anderson-Thompkins
Mark Bayer
Tisha Bohr
Brandon Borde
Lauren Chambliss
Denise DiRienzo
Nadia Drake
Sarah Davidson Evanega
Kitty Gifford
Ronda Hamm
Allison Jack
Len Johnson
Karen Kindle
Mark Lawrence
Bruce Lewenstein 
Tiffany Lohwater
Linda Mikula
Barbara Mink
Julia Nolte
Melissa Osgood
Ana Maria Porras
Andrew Quagliata
Colleen Kearns
Lyza Maron
Jennifer Miller
Fanuel Muindi
Vandana Raghavan
Beth Rhoades
Bob Riter
Robert Ross
Andy Sanchez
Mark Sarvary
Luisa Torres
Sharon Tregaskis
Liz Wayne
Lesley Yorke
Adele Zhou

Mentors with relevant experience

handshake with mentorCareers Beyond Academia has a number of mentors eager to speak with PhD students and postdocs. Please contact our office at gradcareers@cornell.edu to connect with the mentor that aligns with your interests! We especially encourage alumni to engage with our office to share career experiences and opportunities with current graduate students and postdocs at Cornell.

Careers Beyond Academia Mentors in Data Science

David Drummond, now at Evidation Helath; spoke at Cornell Oct. 12, 2016 and Jan. 20 2017 to give an overview of the Insight Fellows Program.

Brian Schaefer, Cornell PhD'21 Physics, participated in the Data Incubator program

Cornell alumni who have been awarded the Data Insight Fellowship, who are eager for you to reach out to them:

Lena Bartell Cornell PhD '18 Applied Engineering Physics, minor in Biomedical Engineering is an alumna of the  2018 Health Data Science program

Eric Epstein, Cornell PhD '17 Philosophy started January 2020

Poornima Gadamsetty, Cornell PhD '16 Biomedical Engineering-did the program in fall 2018

Avani Gowardhan, Cornell PhD '19 Astronomy, participated summer 2019

Zhen Han, Cornell PhD '16 Ecology is a Data Science Fellow from 2019

Keegan Kelsey, Cornell PhD '15 Genetics, Genomics and Development, is an alumnus from the 2015 program

Natalie Morse, Cornell PhD'18 Environmental Engineering, alumna of the 2018 program

Riccardo Pavesi Cornell PhD '19 Astronomy, did the program spring 2019 (spoke at Cornell May 8, 2019)

Luna (Juan) Wang, Cornell PhD Biophysics participated spring 2019-see her Microsoft credentials as examples