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Graduate students explore careers outside academia

Ten PhD students from Penn State College of Medicine joined 10 undergraduate students from Penn State Eberly College of Science Nov. 8 on a trip to Merck West Point, a pharmaceutical research company. Penn State Science Day at Merck allowed students to interact with industry scientists through a networking lunch, tours and breakout sessions.

“During graduate school, we don’t always have opportunities to see what life outside of academia is like,” said Kelly Leon, a third-year Biomedical Sciences PhD student. “Penn State Science Day at Merck allowed us to learn about how scientific projects arise, are driven and ultimately impact patients worldwide.”

Students presented their research to Merck employees during a morning poster session — and it provided an opportunity for them to receive feedback from experts outside their field.

“I was able to gain insights on my current scientific findings that I normally wouldn’t have been exposed to,” Leon said.

See more information about career development resources and opportunities for graduate students here or contact Jessica Kirkwood, career services coordinator, at or 717-531-5467.

A group of four people are talking in front of a set of academic posters.

Insung Song, third from left, a fifth-year neuroscience PhD student at Penn State College of Medicine, explains her research during a poster session at Penn State Science Day at Merck in November 2019.

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