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Our Guests

Season Two

Dr. Kim Rapp, Assistant Vice President for International Relations, joins us in our third episode, Structuring Your Job Search. Through our conversation, Dr. Rapp shares how she managed career decisions as an advanced degree candidate throughout her professional path. She shares insight, having been on both sides of the hiring process, and offers advice for candidates on how to take control over the search, targeting positions based on fit, skills, and personal goals.

Kim has worked in international programs in higher education for over 20 years. Before coming to Northwestern in 2014, Kim was Executive Director of Stanford University’s Global Studies Division. Kim has lived and worked in several countries including England, Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Mali and Senegal. Originally from the East Coast, Kim completed her undergraduate degree in Communications and International Studies at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, and her graduate degrees in African Languages and Literature (MA), Educational Administration (MS) and Higher Education Leadership and Policy Analysis (PhD) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her publications have focused on graduate education in the U.S., and her teaching experience has ranged from African literature to international research methods, but Kim remains most passionate about facilitating the international interests and research goals of others.


In our two part second season opening, PhD candidate Scott Cambo speaks to his experience as a non-traditional student. In part one,  he shares his approach to integrating work and life as a grad student, partner, and parent, all while navigating the search process. Allowing us to follow him on his job search, part two of our conversation dives deeper into Scott’s approach to the search itself, and how he implements boundaries to ensure opportunities he explores are the right fit.

As a Design Research Fellow alumnus and a PhD student in the Technology and Social Behavior program, Scott Cambo studies the architectural, algorithmic, and interface design of intelligent systems, particularly those used for context-awareness and mHealth. He is currently working with his PhD advisor, Darren Gergle, and Stephen Schueller of the Center for Behavioral Intervention Technology to design semi-supervised intelligent systems for managing and tracking mental health from the algorithm to the interface.

Season One

During Navigating the Job Search as an International Candidate, Dr. Zhang joins us to talk about balancing her full-time job search as a PhD, incorporating personal and professional priorities, and her status as an international student. She shares invaluable insight on her experience developing professional relationships throughout the process. Xiaomi is a recent Northwestern alumna, and former VPD group member in Materials Science. Prior to accepting a full time position with Apple, Dr. Zhang’s research focused on characterization of energy materials, especially thermoelectric and battery materials using S/TEM.

In Advocating for Culture Change as a Grad Student, Alvita Akiboh discusses her experience on the job market, in addition to her former role as Professional Development Coordinator in the History Department. We talk about her efforts to normalize open conversations around professional development, and wellness and mental health in particular, among graduate students and faculty in the History Department. A recent PhD alumna, her research focuses on the history of U.S. overseas colonies in the Caribbean and Pacific.  Dr. Akiboh is currently a member of University of Michigan’s Society of Fellows.


In Cracking Consulting as an ADC (Advanced Degree Candidate), we chat with Rebecca Menssen, recent PhD alumna and current AD Consultant with BCG based in Minneapolis. Rebecca Menssen recently received her PhD in the Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics program at Northwestern University. Her research focused on developing new methods to analyze biological image data and extract relevant physical parameters underlying the system. 


In Postdoc Leapfrog, we spoke with Lauren Woods about her past postdoctoral fellowship appointments and how she managed the transition from graduate student, to trainee, to administrator. Lauren Woods is Assistant Director of CIRTL at Northwestern. She helps develop, run, and evaluate CIRTL at Northwestern programming including the Searle Teaching-As-Research (STAR) program and Mentored Discussions of Teaching (MDT).   Prior to joining the Searle Center, Lauren was a postdoctoral researcher at Davidson College.  She holds a B.A. in Zoology from Ohio Wesleyan University and a Ph.D. in Evolution, Ecology, and Population Biology from Washington University in St. Louis.  CIRTL, or the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning, is an NSF center that seeks to train STEM graduate students in order to develop a national STEM faculty committed to advancing effective teaching practices for diverse student audiences.


During WorkWell: Navigating the Academic Job Search, we were joined by Marlon Twymon, PhD. Dr. Twymon is a recent alum from Northwestern University’s Technology and Social Behavior program. He discussed his experience with the academic job search, interview and decision making process. His current research interests include studying the emergence of new collaborations through team assembly. Marlon merges perspectives from social networks, organizational behavior, and computational social science to understand this phenomenon.

Marlon recently began a tenure track position at the University of Southern California.


In our inaugural episode, we were joined by Counseling and Psychological Services staff Psychologist Olivia Woods for a conversation around maintaining well-being during the search as a doctoral student. Olivia shared stories from her job search processes after graduate school, tips for maintaining balance through the search, and resources on campus to help manage stress throughout graduate school and the job search process. Her training background is cognitive behavioral in its approach. However, she has supported supervisees from a variety of clinical backgrounds and theoretical perspectives. Her special interests include Black/African-American mental health issues and concerns; identity development; internalized stereotypes and stereotype threat; anxiety; relationship issues and concerns.