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Jennifer Polk  - From PhD to Life / Beyond the Professoriate / Self-Employed PhD. Toronto , ON, CA

Jennifer Polk Jennifer Polk

Coach & Entrepreneur | From PhD to Life / Beyond the Professoriate / Self-Employed PhD

Toronto , ON, CANADA

Life and Career Coaching for Graduate Students and PhDs / Professional Development for Nonfaculty Careers / Online Community Builder





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Jennifer Polk works as an academic, career, and life coach. Her clients — graduate students and PhDs — are a diverse group of individuals based all around the world, from Canada, the US, the UK, Europe, Australia, and elsewhere. Jen speaks on campuses and at conferences throughout North America on issues related to graduate education and career outcomes for PhDs, and her writing has appeared in the Globe and Mail, University Affairs, Vitae, and Academic Matters. Find Jen online at, which features resources for PhD career changers, and at her award-winning University Affairs blog. Check out Beyond the Professoriate for professional development programming for PhDs seeking nonfaculty careers, and Self-Employed PhD, a new online community for freelancers, consultants, and entrepreneurs. For three years, Jen hosted #withaPhD chat, a twice-monthly discussion on Twitter. Dr. Polk earned her PhD in history from the University of Toronto in 2012.

Industry Expertise (2)

Professional Training and Coaching Writing and Editing

Areas of Expertise (12)

Phd Careers Graduate Education Career Transition Self-Employment Life Coaching Professional Development Career Coaching Academic Coaching Entrepreneurship Coaching & Training Online Community-Building Social Media for Academics

Accomplishments (2)

Best Blog or Column (professional)


Gold winner in the B2B/Academic category for my University Affairs blog, From PhD to Life

Best Blog or Column (professional)


Gold winner in the B2B category for my University Affairs blog, From PhD to Life

Education (3)

University of Toronto: PhD, History 2012

Carleton University: MA, History 2004

Carleton University: BA, European and Russian Studies 2002

Highest Honours; Minor in Russian language

Languages (1)

  • English

Media Appearances (5)

Hope for PhDs who want to leave the profession

History News Network  online


Video interview with Rick Shenkman. Recorded at the American Historical Association Annual Meeting in Denver, CO

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Finding your dream psychology career

Monitor on Psychology  online


Interviewed/mentioned by Laura Zimmerman in her article for the American Psychological Association's Monitor on Psychology. Print edition Feb 2017, vol. 48, no. 2, p. 54.

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Interview with Dan Otter and Scott Dauenhauser

Teach and Retire Rich podcast  online


Ep. 37: From PhD to Life

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Help for Academics Thinking Beyond the Professoriate

Camels with Hammers blog  online


Interview with Daniel Fincke.

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Laying the groundwork for multiple career paths before you graduate

ScholarStudio  online


Video interview with Daveena Tauber.

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Articles (8)

Yes, PhD grad, there is life outside the Ivory Tower The Globe & Mail


Commissioned op-ed.

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Life beyond the PhD Academic Matters


My own journey thus far.

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From PhD to Life: My Post-Ac Transition So Far Moving On: Essays on the Aftermath of Leaving Academia


Chapter in an ebook.

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A Ph.D.’s Path to Entrepreneurship Chronicle Vitae


First essay in a 3-part series for the Chronicle of Higher Education's new Vitae website.

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My Patchwork Post-Academic Community Chronicle Vitae


Second essay in 3-part series.

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From History Ph.D. to Life Coach? Chronicle Vitae


Third essay in 3-part series.

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What career coaches can do for PhD holders University Affairs


May 2015 print edition, p. 52.

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PhD and then what? Life beyond the professoriate It's Not Academic (Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario)


Contribution to HEQCO's blog.

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