Career Center

In the Spotlight: Plamena Entcheva-Dimitrov, Ph.D.

Career exploration both in and out of the classroom aids in career transition

Stanford Affiliation: Postdoctoral Scholar
Department: Civil & Environmental Engineering/Bio-X
School: Engineering
Degree: Ph.D.
Industry: Medical Device
Regulatory Affairs Associate
Abbott Vascular, Santa Clara, CA

I came to Stanford in 2002 with the intention to spend three years in the lab, learn as much as I can and return to Germany to take an industry position.  My stay at Stanford became one of the most important milestones in my life. Here, I learned how to network with industry people, how to shape my resume and what opportunities are open for professionals with a PhD degree. I started exploring opportunities in my second postdoctoral year by auditing an interdisciplinary class.  During my third year I took two more classes, met with their directors, and followed up with some speakers.  Through SoMCC seminars and participation in biotech club activities on- and off-campus I gained a good grasp on many career opportunities awaiting PhDs; in fact, I found out how many valuable skills I already had acquired during my research.  In my case, those were critical and analytical thinking as well as the ability to present data and manage resources. Unfortunately, standard PhD and a postdoctoral training do not illustrate how to use these skills outside of the laboratory.  My two cents of advice for anyone considering a non-academic career would be: be open, think outside of the box, network, and follow up.

Plamena Entcheva-Dimitrov
August 2006

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