Jen's Farewell to FUTURE

Dear FUTURE Community,

Nearly six years ago we started the FUTURE program with twelve participants and a goal of helping graduate students and postdocs explore and pursue the full spectrum of careers available to them both within and outside academia. Since then, we have grown in enrollment nearly every year, established a PhD Partner Network with 130 members, and added a host of workshops, presentations and discussions to provide career exposures and skills, and to explore how our careers intersect with other aspects of our lives. Our one-cohort, one-quarter per year program now consists of 6 cohorts over 3 quarters per year with 123 participants in 2020 alone! Much of that growth and development is owed to you by virtue of the feedback you’ve shared with us over the years that has led to changes and enhancements, by the generosity of our partners in sharing their own career journeys and advice, and most importantly by the way in which you’ve championed the program and recommended it to others. Since our humble beginnings, 334 grad students and postdocs have enrolled in the program, more than 100 participants have transitioned to a diverse array of careers, and many program alumni have become members of our partner network. If we keep moving in this direction, amplifying the value of PhD training to every sector of the economy through a broad range of careers, and promoting the need for programs like FUTURE, together we can help shift the culture of graduate and postdoctoral training toward a holistic approach to career preparation and not just acceptance, but celebration, of the many ways that PhD training and experience can benefit society through faculty and non-faculty careers alike.

Nurturing this program, watching it grow and develop into this wonderfully talented, giving and supportive community of career seekers, mentors and advisors has been the most gratifying part of my career and has made it hard for me to make the decision to step away from the privilege of leading FUTURE and working with the FUTURE team to support this program and community. This week I’ll be undergoing my own career transition, embarking on a new role in life science workforce development, and while I’m sad to leave FUTURE, I’m overjoyed to be leaving it in the capable hands of our FUTURE team - Rachel Reeves, Daniel Moglen, Millie Copara, and Stacy Hayashi. This team has been the heart and soul of FUTURE in recent years - the program implementors, the positive changemakers, the creative thinkers, the companions in your career journeys, the community builders. FUTURE would not be what it is without the dedication, creativity and hard work of this team and I could not be prouder of them, or more confident in the “future” of FUTURE with the four of them at the helm. With my departure, a leadership change is in order, and I am very happy to announce that Dr. Rachel Reeves will assume the role of FUTURE program director, leading this team and program with her own vision and deep belief in the power and the right of grad students and postdocs to forge fulfilling careers of their choosing.

Thank you to all of you, our partners and our participants, for your participation in FUTURE and your contributions to this program and community. The success of FUTURE is ours to share.  I hope that you will stay in touch with me through LinkedIn and email, keeping me posted on your career transitions, and maybe even contacting me about life science workforce development in my new role. Best wishes to all of you for fulfilling careers and joyful lives!

With Gratitude,