Our Mission

UChicagoGRAD’s career development team is a dedicated group of advisors and relationship builders. With academic and professional backgrounds that align with those of the populations we serve, we understand the graduate and postdoctoral experience and the distinct value that rigorous advanced-degree training brings to the wider world.

We support graduate students and postdocs by providing individualized advising, skill-building workshops, career exploration events, and connections to employers and alumni. Our nationally recognized resources and programs equip those we serve to become the next generation of leaders in academia, industry, nonprofits, and government. We encourage graduate students and postdocs to bring their passion for inquiry and innovation to the career development process, empowering them to define and achieve their own visions of professional success.


Career Development Team


HeadshotMichael Tessel, Senior Director, GRAD Career Development & Employer Relations
(773) 834-9153

Michael oversees career development resources for all graduate students and postdocs including advising, events, employer relations, and the GRADTalk program. He also advises Ph.D. scientists. He received his Ph.D. in cancer biology from Northwestern University and has an A.B. from the University of Chicago.
headshotDeborah Blumenthal, Associate Director, Employer Relations & Experiential Education
(773) 702-6093

Deborah works with employers to facilitate career connections for graduate students and postdocs. Deborah also coordinates the GRAD Global Impact internship program and manages the GRAD Gargoyle job and internship board. Deborah graduated from the University of Chicago with a Master’s in Humanities.
headshotJosephine Cai, Senior Assistant Director, Graduate Career Development
(773) 702-8767

Jo is the dedicated career advisor for graduate students and alumni at both the Graham School and M.S. students in the Physical Sciences Division. She also manages career related programming for international graduate students. Originally from Singapore, Jo has an M.A from University College London and is a certified career development practitioner with the Career Industry Council of Australia.
headshotCeleste Cruz-Carandang, PATHS Coordinator
(773) 834-5002

Celeste is the coordinator for the PATHS program. In her role, she works with on and off-campus partners to support the professional advancement of Ph.D. students in the Humanities Division, Social Sciences Division, and Divinity School. A Chicago-area native, Celeste graduated from the MAPH program in 2017 and worked at University of Chicago Press and the Art Institute of Chicago prior to joining UChicagoGRAD.
Briana Konnick Briana Konnick, Associate Director, Graduate Career Development
(773) 834-7933

Briana is the dedicated career advisor for all Ph.D. students and postdocs within three divisions: BSD, PSD, and PME. Prior to joining UChicagoGRAD, Briana served as Program Coordinator for the Career & Postdoc Services Office at The Scripps Research Institute. She received her Ph.D. in virology from The Scripps Research Institute, where she also conducted a short postdoc.
headshotKathrin Kranz, Senior Assistant Director, Graduate Career Development
(773) 834-2962

Kathrin is the dedicated career advisor for graduate students and postdocs in the Social Sciences Division. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science and Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame, and an LL.M. in Public International Law from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Prior to joining UChicagoGRAD, Kathrin worked as an Assistant Professor at a liberal arts college.
headshotMichael O’Toole, Senior Assistant Director, GRADTalk
(773) 702-9422

Michael is the coordinator of GRADTalk, helping graduate students and postdocs to build their public speaking skills and prepare for interviews, presentations, and job talks. Michael graduated from the University of Chicago with a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology.
headshotCourtney Wiersema, Associate Director, Graduate Career Development
(773) 702-3999

Courtney is the dedicated career advisor for students in the Humanities Division, the Divinity School, and the History Department. She also directs the Mellon-funded PATHS program at UChicagoGRAD. She received her Ph.D. in American History from the University of Notre Dame and has also worked as a director of undergraduate studies and an instructor of history and writing.


2020-21 Career Development Fellows


Laura TurnerLaura Turner, PATHS Fellow

Laura is a researcher, writer, and educator who organizes career development programs in support of UChicagoGRAD's Mellon-funded PATHS (Professional Advancement and Training for Humanists and Humanistic Social Scientists) initiative. Prior to her current role, she worked for two years as a communication and programming intern at UChicagoGRAD. Laura holds a PhD in Ethnomusicology from the University of Chicago.


2020-21 Career Development Interns


HeadshotEufemia Baldassarre, Career Advising Intern

Eufemia is a 5th-year PhD candidate in Italian Studies researching the phenomenon of exile in Renaissance Italy and how it both affected and informed the literary production of authors who suffered from it. At UChicagoGRAD, she supports humanities MA students with PhD program applications, job document preparation, and career exploration. She is particularly interested in translating academic skills into professional competences that can be applied to career paths in academia and beyond.
Nathan Hardy HeadshotNathan Hardy, Career Advising Intern

Nathan is a 7th-year PhD candidate in History of Christianity researching how religious groups cultivate their identities through stories about special objects—and the destruction of those belonging to others. As a career advising intern, Nathan helps MA students and recent alumni of the Divinity School and the Social Sciences Division analyze their skills and experiences so they can narrate compelling reasons for employers and PhD programs to invest in their potential.
Peddycoart HeadshotMichael Peddycoart, Career Advising Intern

Michael Peddycoart is a 5th-year PhD candidate in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations researching the development of Palestinian revolutionary leftist thought in the second half of the twentieth century. As an intern at UChicagoGRAD, Michael helps MA students in the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and MAPH explore their academic and professional goals and communicate their values, experiences, and skills to future graduate programs and employers.
Fahad SajidFahad Sajid, Career Advising Intern

Fahad is a 6th-year PhD candidate in Political Science researching the link between class politics in nineteenth-century Britain and the design of state and society institutions in colonial India. As an intern at UChicagoGRAD, he supports the work of the Career Development Team by helping MA students in the social sciences navigate the career development process and present the best version of themselves in their documents.
headshotLinsin Smith, GRADTalk Consultant

Linsin is a 5th year PhD candidate in Genetics, Genomics, and Systems Biology researching the gene regulatory networks and non-coding regulatory elements that underlie human disease, particularly cardiac arrhythmias. As a GRADTalk advisor at UChicagoGRAD, she supports graduate students and postdocs on all things related to communications: ranging from interviews, class participation, job talks, and presentation practice.


The UChicago GRAD careers teem poses for a photo at GRADUCon 2019.