Career Development and Entrepreneurship

At the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME), we teach the fundamental principles that graduate students need to succeed as professionals in boundary-crossing research, design, and entrepreneurship.

Pritzker Molecular Engineering graduate students can engage in purposeful and structured professional skill-building across a range of competencies - all aimed to position them for success in a dynamic and global work environment. The PME fosters these competencies in targeted workshops and supplemental programming, as well as in coursework and in laboratory training.

Engaging in a systematic and proactive career development process is instrumental in students’ ability to enhance career success. This process starts with self-assessment which involves the ability to identify and articulate one's skills, strengths, knowledge, and experiences relevant to career goals, and also an ability to identify areas for growth. Other elements in the process include the ability to identify the knowledge and skills needed in specific industries or occupations, the ability to navigate and explore career options, the ability to understand and take the appropriate steps to pursue career opportunities, and the ability to self-advocate for opportunities in the workplace.

Professional oral and written communication skills allow students and postdocs to convey the substance and importance of problem-based research to a variety of audiences, to successfully prepare grant applications and scientific publications, and to effectively develop and deliver presentations relevant in the job search process.

Effective teaching and mentoring involve skills such as being able to set clear goals and expectations, providing structured guidance and meaningful feedback, managing group projects, and creating inclusive learning and working environments. Such skills are essential in both academic and industrial settings.

Leadership involves the ability to envision the future, get others to share that vision, and take action to move toward that vision. Researchers who can demonstrate initiative, influence, and strategic planning in a variety of ways are essential in an interdisciplinary research environment where discovery, innovation, and entrepreneurship are at the forefront.

The PME-Advances platform is where PME graduate students and postdocs can view and register for upcoming events and programs, search for jobs and internships, and more! Login today. 

In addition to targeted workshops and supplemental programming in career preparation and exploration, the PME hosts several seminar series with researchers from around the world sharing cutting edge discoveries and innovations with critical engagement from our faculty and students.


PME students also have access to a wealth of resources across the broader University of Chicago campus.

  • UChicagoGRAD—UChicagoGRAD provides resources to help graduate students explore career options, build professional networks, craft effective job documents, interview with confidence, and negotiate job offers. Career advising with the opportunity to focus on engineering-specific questions is available by appointment. Login to their platform to view upcoming workshops, employer info sessions, and career fairs. 
  • myCHOICE—myCHOICE programming exposes STEM graduate students to an array of career paths with seminars, mini-courses, and workshops that support the development of professional skills and with real-world experiences in a variety of career paths. They offer part-time externships on a quarterly basis, and themed treks to regional areas. 
  • Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation—The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation provides education and training, connects investors with partners, and supports new venture creation. They also collaborate with organizations across campus dedicated to advancing the educational and professional career paths of students and work to connect student entrepreneurs to industry partners.
  • UChicago Career Advancement—Career Advancement’s Careers in Engineering helps undergraduate students explore, prepare for, and obtain careers or professional school placements in STEM fields. All majors and minors may join the program, and students can participate in an elective workshop curriculum and experiential learning options such as treks, research opportunities, internships, job shadowing, and innovation competitions.

Career advising

Whether preparing for a career path in academia, industry, nonprofits, or government, meeting individually with a professional career advisor can be instrumental in a career journey. Advising conversations can focus on a range of topics, including but not limited to: exploring your skills and interests as it relates to identifying career options, job search and networking best practices, crafting effective job documents, and negotiating job offers. 

PME graduate students have multiple career advising support options. Those currently on the job market or in a more advanced training stage are welcome to meet individually with PME’s Director of Career Development, Briana Konnick, who can provide engineering-specific advising. In addition, the office of UChicagoGRAD offers robust career support that is more general. STEM career advisors assist in exploring career options, building professional networks, crafting effective job documents, interviewing, and negotiating job offers. Graduate students can schedule career advising appointments directly through the GRAD Gargoyle platform.

Career programming

PME’s Director of Career Development, Briana Konnick, collaborates with alumni, faculty, staff, and others to provide tailored and specific career development programming for PME graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. Current offerings include:

  • PME Career Development workshops occur on a monthly basis, typically. Past topics have included: Considering a Career in Industry, Getting to the Interview, Effective Poster Presentations, Navigating Lab Dynamics, Simultaneous Job Searches, Transferable Skills, Designing and Preparing for your Career, and more.
  • PME Alumni Career Conversation Series offered monthly and virtually. PME alums from a variety of disciplines and fields share their career stories and experiences, as well as advice to those interested in their paths. 
  • PME KickStart Your Job Search Summer Camp is offered in August on an annual basis. This camp is geared towards those intending on applying to jobs over the next year, and covers foundations of the job search, best practices for resumes and cover letters, and networking fundamentals. 
  • Employer events occur sporadically throughout the year, though there is a higher concentration in late summer and fall quarters. This includes employer info sessions, informal coffee chats, and larger-scale recruitment events such as the Science and Engineering Industry Expo

These events are open to all PME graduate students and postdocs, regardless of thematic area. Notices of PME career development and employer events are shared via the monthly PME Career Development newsletter and on the PME-Advances platform.

Internship opportunities

The Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering encourages students to actively pursue internships as part of their educational program. To identify opportunities, students should work closely with the PME Director of Career Development. In addition, the offices below can be useful to exploring options. Graduate students will need to check in with the PME Dean of Students Office once an opportunity is identified to ensure that appropriate authorizations are in place.

  • Chicago Quantum Exchange—The Chicago Quantum Exchange partners with companies, national laboratories, and others to provide training opportunities for students and trainees, including internships and collaborative research opportunities.
  • myCHOICE—myCHOICE collaborates with on- and off-campus partners to provide an array of part-time, unpaid externships in a variety of professional fields for graduate students in STEM fields.
  • Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation—The Polsky Center offers students an array of opportunities to directly engage in entrepreneurship and innovation, including the Polsky Science Innovation Fellows Program and the Business Development Fellows Program.
  • UChicagoGRAD—UChicagoGRAD supports graduate students in identifying and applying for internship opportunities on campus and around the world. Each year, their Graduate Global Impact (GGI) internship program places students in meaningful, skill-building internships that make use of their graduate training.
  • Career Advancement—Career Advancement offers experiential learning opportunities for currently enrolled undergraduate students at all stages of career development. Programs range from one-day explorations to year-long internships.
  • Students should begin by discussing the opportunity with their PI. All internship opportunities must be considered in the context of a student’s educational plan and timeline.
    • How will the opportunity advance educational and/or professional goals?
    • How will the opportunity impact research projects that the student is expected to complete or contribute to?
    • What is the timeframe of the opportunity? How many weeks? How many hours per week?
    • Is it a paid opportunity? If so, how much of the stipend will the PI continue to pay?
  • International students must speak with the Office of International Affairs to explore work authorization options. International students in the PME often pursue the CPT option by registering for a consent-only course managed by the PME Dean of Students Office.
  • At least a month in advance of the internship start date, graduate students must meet with the PME Dean of Students (DOS) to discuss the internship opportunity and all relevant details. For example, PI consent, timeline, hours/week, location, and work authorization. 
  • The final step for graduate students is to confirm with their PI the details of the internship. The PI will then communicate with the DOS and with Human Resources to confirm any adjustments to the student stipend for the period of the internship. 

UChicago Career Resources

Talent Engagement and Recruitment

The Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering actively supports employers in their engagement with our undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers. See more details and how to engage here.

Overall, we encourage you to learn more about how the research, people, and facilities at the PME can help your company advance and innovate. The easiest way to do that is to schedule a conversation with us.

  • For interest in talent engagement and recruitment, please reach out to our Director of Career Development, Briana Konnick
  • For interest in research collaborations, facilities, or other forms of partnership, please reach out to our director of corporate engagement

Career Development and Entrepreneurship Events

Recent Career Development and Entrepreneurship Events