GrAdvantage GSA Career Nights

Gradvantage Career Nights expose graduate students to individuals that have transitioned to careers outside academia after receiving a graduate degree. The speakers will describe their career paths while offering “pearls of wisdom” to those in the audience that may be considering a career outside of academia.  The presentations will be followed by a networking social hour for local professionals and graduate students to mix, mingle and discuss career options over food and refreshments. See the Gradvantage calendar for the next Career Night! GrAdvantage Career Nights are now recorded; Scroll through the speakers for Videos!

The 2016-2017 academic year features the following speakers:

June 6, 2017

Career Services Center Patio 5-7pm

Lesley Blankenship-Williams

Lesley Blankenship-Williams is a tenured instructor at Palomar College in San Marcos where she teaches lower-division Human Anatomy, Human Physiology, Microbiology and Biology of Marine Mammals courses.  

During Lesley’s Ph.D. program at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Lesley taught as an adjunct instructor or lecturer at multiple colleges in the San Diego area.  These rewarding experiences convinced her to pursue an academic career that focused on teaching rather than research. She is now tenured and happy (or happily tenured) as a full-time instructor at Palomar College. Lesley’s achievements include (1) winning the 2012 Distinguished Faculty of the Year award, (2) co-developing and writing a documentary on sea otter conservation that won five regional Emmys, and (3) writing and self-publishing a book to help unprepared nursing students succeed in their courses. Lesley is excited to discuss the opportunities for teaching in higher education, which range from an moonlighting gig to a full-fledged rewarding career.

May 30, 2017

Career Services Center Patio 5-7pm

Sabine Hadida

Sabine Hadida, Ph.D. - Senior Director and Head of Chemistry at Vertex Pharmaceuticals in San Diego. Since joining in 2002, Sabine has led the chemistry efforts on Cystic Fibrosis that discovered multiple drug candidates including the approved medicines, KALYDECO and ORKAMBI. In 2013, her team was named Heroes of Chemistry by the ACS. Sabine received her PhD in Pharmacy from the University of Barcelona and spent two years conducting postdoctoral research at the University of Pittsburgh.

February 28, 2017

Career Services Center Patio 5-7pm

Jon Gonzales

Jon Gonzales is a Business Consultant for ZS Associates in the San Diego office. He is part of the ZS Medical Affairs Leadership Team, as well as a contributing member to the R&D Excellence Practice Area within ZS. During his time at ZS, Jon has worked exclusively within the Medical Affairs/MSL consulting practice area. Jon has supported these Medical Affairs projects across the Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology industry, deriving insights by leveraging his scientific research background and analytical skills.

Prior to joining ZS, Jon worked as a Medical Writer where he was responsible for crafting the scientific message for educational materials for several pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Jon received a Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry from Colorado State University. He also holds a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from the University of California, San Diego, where he received the 2012-2013 Outstanding Dissertation Award for the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program.

January 23, 2017

Career Services Center Patio 5-7pm

Amber Mace

Amber Mace, PhD is Deputy Director of the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) and is a Policy Fellow with the UC Davis Policy Institute for Energy, Environment and the Economy. Mace devotes her time to building new and revitalizing existing programs and organizations that are dedicated to increasing the impact and value of science-informed decision-making.

Prior to this, Mace served as the Associate Director of the UC Davis Policy Institute for Energy, Environment and the Economy. She also served as the executive director of the California Ocean Protection Council (OPC) and assistant secretary for coastal matters at the California Natural Resources Agency. In this role she applied her background in ocean policy and marine ecology and collaborative leadership skills to guide the state in developing policies that promote the sustainable use of California’s ocean ecosystem. Prior to that, she served in the dual roles of science advisor to the OPC and executive director of the California Ocean Science Trust, a non-profit whose mission is to provide objective, high-quality science to decision makers.

She learned firsthand about the challenges of public policy-making at the federal level as a Knauss Fellow in the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, and at the state level as a California Sea Grant state fellow at the California Natural Resources Agency. Amber was recognized as a Coastal Hero by Sunset magazine in 2011 and her California coastal research experience includes piloting a submersible with the Sustainable Seas Expedition. She earned a bachelor of arts in geography from UC Berkeley and a doctorate in ecology from UC Davis and the Bodega Marine Laboratory.


November 29, 2016

Career Services Center Patio 5-7pm

Ken Lau

Ken Lau is the Technical Marketing Manager at BioLegend, a biotech company that produces antibodies, recombinant proteins, and multiplex reagents for assays like flow cytometry, microscopy, ELISAs, and western blotting. As the Technical Marketing Manager, Ken oversees tech support to ensure customers are both happy and educated on how to use BioLegend’s products. On the marketing side of things, Ken utilizes his scientific background in immunology to generate creative content for brochures, flyers, ads, and webpages. He also trains both local and international teams on the company’s newest product line releases. He received both his B.S. and Ph.D in Microbiology and Cell Science from the University of Florida. His graduate career focused on immunology, specifically the interaction between gut bacteria, Th17 cells, and Type 1 Diabetes onset. 

November 2, 2016

Career Services Center Patio 5-7pm

Katrina Oko-Odoi

Katrina Oko-Odoi is the Founder and Chief Editor of EditingWorm, a writing and editing company that works with entrepreneurs, businesses, and scholars. After years immersed in academia, Katrina channeled her passion for words into entrepreneurship, launching EditingWorm in 2012. Based on Katrina’s own experience navigating the chasm between the higher ed. and business worlds, one of her company’s primary goals is to bridge that gap through high-level research, analysis, and content development strategies. An avid writer and researcher, Katrina has published numerous journal articles, poems, and cultural and literary essays and is a regular guest blogger for several higher education and business websites.

Katrina received her B.A. in Spanish Literature and International Studies and her PhD in Literature from the University of California, San Diego. She is passionate about supporting graduate students to achieve success in their fields, and offers a monthly webinar series that provides guidance on different stages of the doctoral process. She is also committed to educating graduate students regarding the reality of the academic job market and the many alternative careers available to PhDs. She strives to spark a deeper discussion surrounding how graduate programs can better prepare their students for diverse professional opportunities post graduation, including cultivating transferable job skills that are applicable for employment in the private sector.

August 18, 2016

Career Services Center Patio 5-7pm

Elizabeth Vu


Elizabeth Vu is a Co-Founder and Implementations Lead for Learning Equality, a start-up non-profit organization dedicated to enabling universal access to high quality open educational resources by creating tools optimized to work in areas where Internet access is lacking or costly. As Implementations Lead, she supports the use of KA Lite, an offline version of Khan Academy, in over 160 countries. She uses her research background to understand how students and teachers use educational software in varied formal and non-formal educational contexts. Dr. Vu has a B.S. in Environmental Science from UC Berkeley and a Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. 



Professor Fred J. Galloway joined the School of Leadership and Education Sciences in 1999, where he has also served as Associate Dean and Director of Strategic programs. Prior to joining the university faculty, he was project director for the national Direct Student Loan Evaluation project at Macro International, as well as the director of federal policy analysis at the American Council on Education in Washington DC, where he represented the interests of the higher education community before the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of the federal government. Dr. Galloway received his bachelor's and master’s degrees in economics from the University of California, San Diego, and his master’s and doctoral degrees in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Dr. Galloway’s research interests include the economics of education, econometrics, and higher education policy, and he currently serves as a senior research associate at both the Center for Education Policy and Law and the Caster Family Center for Nonprofit and Philanthropic Research. He has published more than 50 journal articles, policy reports, and book chapters; for example, within the last several years he has published articles in Education Administration Quarterly, the Journal of Research on Leadership Education, the Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, and Asia Pacific Education Review; he has also recently published book chapters in Governing America: Major Policy Decisions of Federal, State, and Local Governments and The Business of Higher Education. Dr. Galloway has also led several large-scale evaluations for the United States Department of Education, PEW Charitable Trusts, the Lumina Foundation, and the Ball Foundation; he has also testified before the United States House of Representatives and has been quoted in the New York Times, London Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Rolling Stone.

In addition to his scholarly work, Dr. Galloway is a passionate and award-winning teacher, having taught 11 different graduate courses ranging from the economics of education to special topics in advanced quantitative methods. He has also chaired 53 dissertations and served as methodologist on 47 others, and has been recognized with several faculty of the year awards. He and his wife, Lori, however, are most proud of their two accomplished children – Jasmin (13) and James (11) – who accompanied them on their Fall 2014 Semester at Sea voyage to 16 countries on four continents.

Jon Guice has three decades of global experience in clean technology, corporate sustainability, professional services, information technology and academic research. He has served as an advisor, board member, consultant, executive and investor in product and service companies.

Recently Dr. Guice served as Chief Executive Officer and as Chief Business Officer of two innovative solar thermal energy equipment manufacturers. Earlier Jon Guice was the co-founder of AltaTerra Research, a sustainable business consultancy with Fortune 100 clientele, and a principal of the first nationwide cleantech product development firm, GreenMountain Engineering. His earlier career included working as a research scientist and technology commercialization strategist at the Computational Sciences Division of NASA Ames, and before that, a research and product manager at Stanford University and Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology.

Jon Guice earned his doctorate as a Regents Fellow in the Sociology Department and in the Science Studies Program at the University of California, San Diego. He served as the founding Co-Chair of the American Bar Association's Cleantech and Climate Change Committee.

Lecture Video: Primm's Lecture

Camille Primm is a leading career and performance strategist who works with organizations as a motivational team coach and training facilitator, and with individuals as a career strategist.


Camille’s book, Learning the Ropes, serves as a guide to professionals at all levels in honing the skills they need to thrive in the changing world of work.


Camille earned a BA in Education from Longwood University in Virginia with majors in German and Communications. She is a Certified as a Career Advisor, and a Myers Briggs and DISC facilitator. She has worked in myriad industries including academia, international trade, hospitality and organizational consulting.


Primm and Partners, Camille’s training and consulting practice has been based in San Diego since 1996. She can frequently be seen on the freeway or in the airport traveling to work with her clients not only throughout Southern California but anywhere in the world where there is a need for learning.


Contact Camille at her home base in San Diego, CA (619.298.1965);  or via website

Jon Miyake PhD

Senior. Manager and Technical Support


B.S. Biology and Biochemistry - University of Colorado, Boulder

Lab technician -  University of Colorado Medical Center

Ph.D.  - UCSD and SDSU Joint doctoral program. Molecular Biology

Postdoc - San Diego State University - Cholesterol metabolism and Liver specific gene expression

Field Application Scientist - Bio-Rad

National Field Application Scientist Manager - Bio- Rad

Sr Technical Support Manager - Illumina

Heather Buschman, PhD

Senior Communications and Media Relations Manager

UC San Diego Health Sciences

Heather Buschman earned her PhD in Molecular Pathology at the UC San Diego School of Medicine. She also completed a health communications internship in the National Cancer Institute’s press office and spent her first years away from the bench as a science writer at The Scripps Research Institute. Heather then served as the Scientific Communications Manager at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute. Last year, after a brief time learning marketing communications in the medical device industry, Heather returned to academia as Senior Communications and Media Relations Manager for UC San Diego Health Sciences. There she handles media relations and covers research in the School of Medicine and Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in press releases, newsletter articles, magazine pieces and more.

Sandra Dijstra, Ph.D

Founder and Owner of Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency

SANDRA DIJKSTRA is agent to authors in the arenas of both fiction (literary and commercial) and nonfiction (including history, politics, current affairs, business, science, and religion). Over the years, Newsweek dubbed her "the best agent in the West," Esquire chose her as one of the nation's "top five literary agents," and the Los Angeles Times proclaimed her an "über-agent" and "the most powerful literary agent on the West Coast." Her hallmark is an eye for quality fiction that sells well, and on the literary fiction side, her roster of authors includes authors such as Amy Tan (The Joy Luck Club and, most recently, The Valley of Amazement), Lisa See (Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and, recently, China Dolls), Chitra Divakaruni (Mistress of Spices and Oleander Girl), Maxine Hong Kingston (Woman Warrior), Anchee Min (Red Azalea and Cooked Seed), and Adrienne Sharp (The True Memoirs of Little K), among others. On the mystery/thriller side, she champions bestsellers Diane Mott Davidson (the Queen of the Culinary Mystery), and Cosmopolitan editor Kate White. And, on the children's front, she is Stellaluna author/illustrator Janell Cannon's proud agent.

Chris White, Ph.D.  Founder, President and CEO, White Labs

Chris White lives in San Diego, Calif., USA, where he serves as President and CEO of White Labs Inc. Chris founded White Labs in 1995 to manufacture yeast cultures and provide fermentation services to the brewing, wine, and distilling industries. Chris has a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of California, San Diego and a B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of California, Davis. While at Davis, Chris interned at Genentech Inc., the world's first biotechnology company. White is coauthor of Yeast: The Practical Guide To Beer Fermentation, co-designer of BrewMaster: The Craft Beer Game, and has published numerous articles on yeast, beer, and fermentation. Chris White was a lecturer in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department at U.C. San Diego from 1999-2007, and is currently teaching in the Brewing Certificate Program at U.C. San Diego Extension. Chris was awarded the 2013 Recognition Award from the American Homebrewers

Tyler Moore, Head of Talent Acquisition, Sciences Solutions Group (LSG), Thermo Fisher Scientific.  

Prior to joining Thermo Fisher Tyler spent 12 years at Qualcomm, where he was most recently a Staffing Director leading Global University Relations and Recruiting.  Tyler possesses over 20 years of international TA and HR expertise including expatriate assignments in Europe and Asia and leading a successful team in India. He also brings specialist knowledge in international recruitment, university relations, internal mobility, strategic sourcing, vendor management and executive search.  

Micah Parzen Ph.D., JD, Chief Executive Officer, San Diego Museum of Man.

Dr. Parzen joined the San Diego Museum of Man (SDMoM) as its Chief Executive Officer in August 2010.  He holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Case Western Reserve University, a J.D. from UC Davis School of Law, and a B.A. in Anthropology from UC Berkeley.  Prior to joining SDMoM, Dr. Parzen was a Partner in the Labor and Employment Practice Group at Luce, Forward, Hamilton and Scripps, LLP, where he served as the firm's Pro Bono Program Coordinator.

Rich Mayhew, Founder, Mayhew Group

Rich founded The Mayhew Group in 1991 after an extensive business career as a banker, internal consultant and learning and development leader.  His vision for TMG was to create development experiences for leaders that would significantly improve their ability to succeed in a complex and global environment.  Rich built his leadership experience through ten years as an operating manager in retail and corporate banking where he was responsible for financial control, risk management and relationship banking.  He then spent another ten years leading organizational development and training functions at Bank of America.  During this period he managed the development of matrix and distance leadership skills for international banking offices.