Jennifer Polk

Jennifer Polk

Founder and Principal, From PhD to Life (Toronto, ON)

Jennifer Polk, PhD, is an entrepreneur, career coach, and expert on PhD careers. Her work has focussed on graduate students, postdocs, and other PhDs, and on professional development and career development more specifically.

Since 2013, Jen’s worked one-on-one and in groups with graduate students and doctoral degree holders based in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and elsewhere. She’s spoken and delivered workshops on university campuses and at academic and professional conferences throughout North America on issues related to graduate education and career outcomes for PhDs.

Jen’s writing has appeared in the Globe and Mail, University Affairs, Inside Higher Ed, the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Vitae portal, and Academic Matters. Her University Affairs blog, From PhD to Life, won three gold awards at the Canadian Online Publishing Awards. She’s also contributed essays to three books: Moving On: Essays on the Aftermath of Leaving Academia; Reflections on Academic Lives: Identities, Struggles, and Triumphs in Graduate School and Beyond; and the forthcoming How to Get Your PhD.

She co-founded Beyond the Professoriate, a business she left in January 2020. Between 2014 and 2019 she co-produced and -hosted several online conferences attended by hundreds of graduate students, PhDs, and career education professionals. Jen also created and hosted Self-Employed PhD, an online network of freelancers, independent consultants, entrepreneurs, and small business owners for over three years.

Jen is actively engaged in online conversations about careers for PhDs, especially on Twitter (@FromPhDtoLife). For three years Jen hosted #withaPhD chat, a twice-monthly Twitter discussion.

Jen earned her PhD in history from the University of Toronto in 2012, and an MA and BA from Carleton University.

Role: Panel Member
Report: Degrees of Success (January 2021)