Career Center

In the Spotlight: Sara Nowakowski, PhD


Stanford Affiliation: T32 Postdoctoral Research Fellow
School: School of Medicine
Psychiatry and Behavioral Science
Degree: Ph.D.
Industry: Academia(Academic Medicine)
University of Texas, Galveston/ Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology/ Assistant Professor
Location: Galveston, Texas

Story/Comments:  I chose to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology for the multitude of career options the degree offered.  Through the course of my training I realized I truly enjoy conducting research in an academic medical setting and wanted to continue along this path.  Every step of the way from applying to graduate school to completing postdoctoral fellowship, I seemed to have a realistic road map of my goals and how to get there.  Upon entering the job market, however, I found the experience to be onerous.  I was a bit overwhelmed by the entire process and what originally excited me and drew me to pursue my degree now seemed like an albatross due to what felt like endless options for how my career could head.  My goals and how to get there suddenly became nebulous at best.  Though the School of Medicine Career Counseling Service (SoMCC), I was able to go on a journey of self discovery by exploring my interests, personality traits, etc.  The process was uncomfortable and anxiety provoking at times, having periods of unknown but it ended up being a great experience of self awareness and growth both personally and professionally.  Ultimately it helped me to come full circle and validated my original interest in a research career in academic medicine.  The process of finding available positions, preparing application materials, and interviewing/job talks was equally daunting; but again the SoMCC came through in assisting me each step of the way.  At my low points I was overly self-critical and having self-defeating thoughts (e.g., "how am I going to find a job in the economic climate?").  The SoMCC encouraged me and provided resources needed to make it through process of searching for and securing an academic position.  I can happily say that all this effort paid off and, with the help of SoMCC, I landed a faculty position that I believe I will be truly happy with. 

Sara Nowakowski

Footer Links: