Alumni return with career advice

Baylor College of Medicine’s inaugural Career Symposium and Employer Fair, sponsored by the Career Development Center, took place this November with a variety of opportunities for learners to network and receive career advice.

A main focus of the day’s events included a session on “Networking for Scientists,” with Dr. Dorit Donoviel, associate professor of the Center for Space Medicine and interim director of the Translational Research Institute for Space Health at Baylor, and Dr. Imran Alibhai, senior vice president of business development at DNAtrix, Inc.

They emphasized that networking was a vital skill for graduate students to learn early and practice often, with both citing various employment opportunities they’ve received as a result of networking. “Every one of my jobs I got through networking,” Alibhai said.

The talk included a chance for the attendees to practice their networking skills by finding someone in the room to whom to introduce themselves.

“A personal connection may lead to a professional connection,” Donoviel said.

Some networking tips and tricks that both offered include:

  • Make eye contact.
  • When you are networking with someone, they are the most important person in the room.
  • Don’t directly ask them for a job.
  • Tell them to take a picture of your business card since business cards are sometimes lost.
  • If you receive a business card from someone, write down the date you met them and something you talked about so you can reference it when you reach out to them again.
  • Send a follow-up email and do it soon. Keep your email short.
  • Follow up on the email.
  • If they connected you with someone, give them an update on the connection.

The symposium also included a career panel featuring Baylor alumni who showcased careers in academia and private and public sectors. Students were advised to take advantage of all of their opportunities, be personable, network and sell themselves when applying for jobs.

The panel included:

  • Zana Muhaxhiri, Ph.D.
  • Olga Cabello Henry, Ph.D.
  • Sunandan Saha, Ph.D.
  • Jose Flores, M.D.
  • Valerie Bomben, Ph.D.

Derek Haseltine, director of the Career and Development Center at Baylor, said all events helped bridge the knowledge gap that students might possess with regards to their careers.

“By sharing their experiences and lessons learned, alumni can be instrumental in providing information to students that they may not otherwise be privy during their graduate training,” he said.


-by Jeannette Jimenez Sanchez and Dipali Pathak