March 15, 2001
Vol. 20 No. 12

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    University offers second annual Science Career Forum March 30

    Steve Koppes
    News Office

    Patent law offices, biotechnology firms and consulting companies are among the organizations that will scout the University for prospective employees during the second annual Chicago Science Career Forum from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., Friday, March 30, at Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th St.

    Open to all Chicago-area Ph.D. candidates and postdoctoral fellows in the sciences, the forum is being presented by the University, Northwestern University and Science magazine. While Science magazine sponsors five career forums annually, the event held here on Chicago’s campus is the only one of its kind in the Midwest.

    Nineteen employers have signed up so far to participate in this year’s activities, just three less than during last year’s more robust economy. Thirteen of the employers will recruit on both Chicago campuses, while three organizations visiting the University will not visit Northwestern’s campus, and vice versa.

    Two firms returning to participate this year are McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff and Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione, both of which are looking for prospective patent agents.

    Robin Wagner, Associate Director for Graduate Services in Career & Placement Services, summed up the driving force behind careers for scientists in patent law. “It’s the biotechnology. It’s the entire nature of new business built on new technology. There’s a huge need for specialists.”

    Malaina Brown, Graduate Career Counselor in CAPS, said, “It’s much easier to teach scientists the law than it is to teach a lawyer the science. The students are quite interested, too.”

    Wagner added that scientists who are hired by patent law firms can expect to earn between $70,000 and $100,000 a year.

    Wagner noted that postdoctoral fellowship opportunities as well as permanent employment are available to doctoral students. “Postdoctoral fellowships are available in a few industrial research settings, and they allow fellows to return to academic science if they choose to do so,” she said.

    Chicago-based MediChem, a fast-growing drug-discovery and development company, also will return to the career forum this year. The company already employs several Chicago Ph.D.s in chemistry, Brown said.

    Last year’s forum, which took place only on the Chicago campus, attracted more than 350 Ph.D. candidates and postdoctoral fellows. Approximately 100 of those participants came from other area universities.

    The Science Career Forum will begin with a research exposition from 9 until 10:30 a.m., at which doctoral candidates and postdoctoral fellows will make poster presentations of their research. Last year, 74 scientists presented posters at the research exposition, and half of those who were surveyed reported further contact from prospective employers during the six weeks that followed the event, Wagner said.

    The employer exposition will follow from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. At least 16 employers will participate, including Argonne National Laboratory, Chicago Technology Park, Goldman Sachs and Teach for America.

    To help graduate students and postdoctoral fellows prepare for the event, CAPS will hold an informational session titled “How to Work the Science Career Forum” at 4 p.m. Monday, March 26, at Ida Noyes Hall, West Lounge. A resume workshop is scheduled at 4 p.m., Wednesday, March 28, in the same location.

    Participants actively seeking employment should bring copies of their curriculum vitae to the March 30 event. Recommended attire is business casual.

    No advance registration is needed to attend. For more information, visit http://www.caps.uchicago.edu/science.html, or call (773) 834-1033.