Why I left academia (and why I’m coming back)

2014 was, professionally (and personally), an exciting year for me. I had my Ph.D. in hand, published a few studies, received my first non-graduate student grant, and most substantial, was awarded a postdoc in science policy. I’ve spoken about this process previously (here and here), mainly about the build up to the decision of (temporarily) “leaving” academia and actually taking that leap, but now that my postdoc has ended, I thought it would be a good time for some reflection. Over the next week or two, I will address various facets of my experience in three posts:

1) My experiences as a Knauss Fellow: the pros, the cons, the advice.

2) Next steps: Position with the National Academy of Sciences.

3) Did I make a mistake: Will academia accept me back?

There is an increasingly urgent discussion going on in academia about the graduate student : postdoc : faculty positions ratio and how non-academic jobs need to be part of the “acceptable” career paths for scientists. This series is meant to illuminate some of the mystery surrounding some non-academic options, science policy, and what it really feels like to stop being a researcher.

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