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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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Biography

Jennifer Polk, PhD, is an entrepreneur, career coach, and expert on PhD careers. Since 2013, she’s worked 1-on-1 and in groups with graduate students and doctoral degree holders based in Canada, the United States, the UK, Australia, and elsewhere.

Jen has spoken on university campuses and at academic and professional conferences throughout North America on issues related to graduate education and career outcomes for PhDs. Most recently, she was a keynote speaker at the University of California, Berkeley’s Beyond Academia conference, in late February 2020. Jen regularly facilitates professional development workshops (now online) and delivers presentations for graduate students and postdocs.

Her writing has appeared in University Affairs, Inside Higher Ed, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Globe and Mail, and Academic Matters. Her University Affairs blog (2013–), “From PhD to Life,” won three gold awards at the Canadian Online Publishing Awards. She’s also contributed essays to three books: Moving On: Essays on the Aftermath of Leaving Academia (2014), Reflections on Academic Lives: Identities, Struggles, and Triumphs in Graduate School and Beyond (2017), and the forthcoming How to Get Your PhD.

Jen co-founded Beyond the Professoriate (2014-20) and in that capacity (among many other activities) produced online conferences attended by hundreds of graduate students, PhDs, and career education professionals. For several years she ran Self-Employed PhD, an online network of freelancers, independent consultants, entrepreneurs, and small business owners. She hosted #withaPhD chat, a twice-monthly Twitter discussion, for three years.

Jen is actively engaged in online conversations about careers for PhDs, especially on Twitter. Follow her there @FromPhDtoLife, or interact with her on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Jen earned her PhD in history from the University of Toronto in 2012, and an MA and BA from Carleton University.

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 (3)

Best Blog or Column (professional)

2017-11-14

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

Best Blog or Column (professional)

2016-11-07

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

Best Blog or Column (professional)

2015-11-19

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

2017-01-07

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

2017-02-01

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

2016-10-13

Ep. 37: From PhD to Life

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Help for Academics Thinking Beyond the Professoriate

Camels with Hammers blog  online

2016-05-04

Interview with Daniel Fincke.

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Laying the groundwork for multiple career paths before you graduate

ScholarStudio  online

2016-01-13

Video interview with Daveena Tauber.

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Articles (8)

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

2013-11-20

Commissioned op-ed.

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Life beyond the PhD Academic MattersF

2013-11-29

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 AcademiaF

2014-01-01

Chapter in an ebook.

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

2014-02-12

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 VitaeF

2014-06-08

Second essay in 3-part series.

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

2014-09-09

Third essay in 3-part series.

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What career coaches can do for PhD holders University AffairsF

2015-04-07

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)F

2015-04-14

Contribution to HEQCO's blog.

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