How an Advanced Degree Can Help You Reach

How an Advanced Degree Can
Help You Reach Your Career
Marcella K. Vaicik
Ph.D. Candidate in Biomedical Engineering
Illinois Institute of Technology
My Background
Bachelor of Science
in Chemical
•Purdue University (2004)
Full-time Chemical
Industry Employment
Master of Science in
Vaicik M et al. (2014).
Vascularization in Engineered
Adipose Tissue. In Vascularization:
Regenerative Medicine and Tissue
Engineering (325-341). CRC Press
Doctor of Philosophy
in Biomedical
•University of Illinois at
Chicago (2009)
•Thesis: Tooth Enamel
Development with
Consideration for Enamel
•Illinois Institute of
Technology (expected
•Thesis: Cell-Matrix
Interactions in Adipose
Tissue Function
• Advanced Degree Types
• Research Options
• Length of Programs
• How/What you Learn in Graduate School
• Transferable Skills Developed in Graduate School
• Career Paths
• Logistics of attending school
• Funding Graduate Degree
• Additional Resources
Advanced Degree Types
PhD Level
• Master of Science (Thesis or non-thesis)
• Master of Engineering
• Master of Science in (Project) Management
• Master of Business Administration (MBA)
• Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
• Doctor of Engineering
Research Options at Degree Level
Non-Research Based
• Masters without Thesis
• Course work based Masters
Research Based
• Masters
• Smaller 1-2 year Research
• Encouraged for students
interested in future PhD
• Useful to experience Research
• PhD
• Larger 2-5 year Research Project
• Typically publish thesis work
Estimated Time Spent to get Degree
• 1-2 years full-time
• 2-4 years part-time
• 4-6 years full-time
• 6-8 years part-time
Graduate School is about Learning
• Formal Course Work Learning
• Masters & PhD Typically Require 6-10 Courses
• Advanced Level Courses
• Self Directed Learning
• Topics for focus
• Unique Perspective
• Experiential Learning
• Research
• Projects
• Graduate School is an Opportunity to explore topics and develop your
Skill Development in Graduate School
• Critical Reading
• Experimental design
• Communicating complex
problems to people with various
levels of education/expertise
• Inquisitiveness
• Follow Through
• Network
• Collaboration
• Mentoring skills
• Creativity
• Resourcefulness
Career Paths
• Academia
• Tenure track Professor
• Community College/Adjunct Professor
• Engineering Technical Leader
• Research
• Laboratory Technician
• Laboratory Manager
• Principal Investigator
• Entrepreneurship
• Management
• Specific Role  Structural Engineer, Financial Analyst, etc.
Logistics of Attending Graduate School
• On-campus
• Online Degrees
• Combination
• Company Focused/Sponsored
• Interdisciplinary Graduate
• Certifications
Funding Options
Masters Degree in
Engineering (M.S.)
Employer-paid Tuition
Scholarships (limited)
Personal Savings
Student Loans
Research Assistantships
Teaching Assistantships
Graduate Assistantships
Employer-paid Tuition
Doctoral Degree in
Engineering (Ph.D)
Employer-paid Tuition
Scholarships (limited)
Personal Savings
Student Loans
Research Assistantships
Teaching Assistantships
Graduate Assistantships
Employer-paid Tuition
Employer-paid Tuition
Personal Savings
Student Loans
Personal Savings
Student Loans
Employer-paid Tuition
• An Advanced Degree provides you with increased Opportunities
• The experience is what you make of it
• Select a program that fits your interest and needs
Additional Resources
• SWE Webinar Oct 2012: Returning to Graduate School with Industry
• Available for Replay to SWE members
• WE14 ask other attendees many have advanced degrees!
• Contact Graduate Programs (Several will be at the WE14 Career Fair)
• Ask where their recent graduates are employed and in what type of roles
• My contact info:
• [email protected]
• Please fill out session evaluation
• SWE Graduate Community Blog:
SWE Graduate Student WE14 Selected Events
Thursday Sessions
Graduate School Networking, 11am, LACC Concourse
How an Advance Degree Can Help You Reach Your
Career Goals , 1:30 pm, LACC502A
Fostering an Inclusive Environment for Graduate
Students in a Growing Department – Lightening Talk
1:30 pm, LACC 502A
Funding Your Graduate Education – Lightening Talk,
1:30 pm LACC, 502B
Science, Technology, & Public Policy – How policy
intersects with engineering and how to get involved –
Lightening Talk, 1:30 pm LACC, 502A
Career Planning with MyIDP – Lightening Talk, 1:30
pm LACC, 502B
Tips on Finding and Being a Mentor in Graduate
School, 4pm, LACC 511A
Networking in Academic Settings, 4pm LACC 505
SWE Graduate Community Blog:
Friday Sessions
Fellowship Opportunities for Academic and
Research Projects in Engineering outside of the US,
1:30pm, LACC 505
Graduate Rapid Fire Session 1, 2:45pm, LACC 505
Engineers in Informal STEM Education: From
Casual Contributions to Careers 4pm, LACC 501C
Preparing Powerful Application Essays, 4pm, LACC
Graduate Networking Reception – hosted by Owens
Corning, 5pm, LACC 405
Saturday Sessions
Effective Writing for Graduate Funding, 10am,
LACC 514
Strategies for Obtaining Your First Academic
Position, 10am, LACC504
Graduate Rapid Fire Session 2, 10am, LACC 502
Tips for Teaching in STEM, 1:30pm, LACC 505
Building Support Networks in Graduate School and
Beyond, 1:30pm, LACC 503
Industry and Academia – You Can Do Both,
1:30pm, LACC 405
Women in Academia & Grad Student Reception –
2:45pm-4pm, LACC 503

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