We are a small team of PhD students and postdoctoral fellows from New England with a wide range of skills and experience. We choose to volunteer our time to provide students with the resources and confidence to explore career paths that may be better suited to their needs.
Robert Pijewski, PhD
Adjunct Faculty at University of Hartford & University of Saint Joseph
Co-founder of AIOG/ Co-Director of Beyond the PhD
I recently finished my PhD in Biomedical Science at UConn Health in Farmington, CT. and am currently an adjunct professor at University of Hartford, and University of Saint Joseph. During my time at UConn Health, I realized that students and postdocs had a lack of resources and education regarding careers beyond the traditional academic setting, i.e. becoming a tenure-track professor at a research institution. I’ve also heard dozens of PhD candidates just saying “I think I am more of an industry person”, but my question to them is “what kind of industry?”. With that question in mind, I started this group. My hobbies include playing piano, cooking, and traveling (pre and post-pandemic).
Giulia Vigone, PhD
Lecturer at Northwestern University- Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Co-Founder of AIOG
I currently work in the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern University. Early in my scientific career I realized that life at the bench did not fit my personality and I started to become involved in science outreach, communication and education. I took an active role in my postdoc community and teamed with other fellows towards to establish the UConn Health and Jackson Lab joint Postdoctoral Association (UJPDA) in 2017 and soon after, I co-founded AIOG. Through these experiences I have discovered a passion for helping others succeed in their own careers. When I am not giving (unsolicited) advice on life/career issues, I am jogging, cooking or traveling around the world.
Britt Knight, PhD
Program Coordinator, United Stated Association for the Study of Pain
Co-Director of Beyond the PhD
In August 2019 I completed my PhD in Biomedical science at the University of Connecticut and then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Connecticut Convergence Institute. Currently I am the Program Coordinator for the USASP. My hobbies include listening to movie soundtracks, watching nature documentaries, and cooking.
Dominique Martin, MS
I am currently a first year PhD student in the Biomedical Science program at UConn Health in Farmington, CT. My research involves understanding metabolic changes associated with aging. I originally thought that I wanted to be a veterinarian. However, after getting involved in undergraduate research, I found that I was more drawn to working in a lab and conducting exciting new experiments. Although I just started my PhD, I am interested in learning about the many opportunities within the biomedical science field.
Rachel Gilmore, BS
As a first year PhD student in the Biomedical Science program at UConn Health, I am working my way through lab rotations and classes, while trying to find some time to relax in between. I graduated in May of 2019 with a BS in Forensic Science from the University of New Haven in West Haven, CT. Though I am originally from Northeast PA, CT has basically claimed me as one of its own. My broad scientific interests include translational research and genetic/genomic modifications as they relate to gene expression & function. Outside of science, I love watching & attending sporting events, hiking, yoga, traveling, and spending time with my family & cats. I am not exactly sure what I want to be when I grow up, but working with AIOG is helping me figure it out!
Natalie Sandlin, BS
Content Manager, AIOG Ambassador for Boston College
I am a third-year PhD candidate in Biology at Boston College. My research interests are in molecular microbiology and bioremediation. Currently, I am exploring mechanisms of microbial degradation of mycotoxins, common food contaminants. I joined AIOG to explore the variety of careers available to PhDs and help others navigate all of these options as well. Outside of research, I enjoy baking, reading crime thrillers, and playing card games.
Heather Wanczyk, BS
I am currently a 1st year PhD student in the Biomedical Sciences program at Uconn Health. My research is focused on tissue engineering approaches to treat congenital/acquired defects of the lung in pediatric patients. Prior to applying to Graduate school, I worked as a Research Assistant at Uconn Health for over 4 years, specializing in the use of human induced pluripotent stem cells for lung tissue regeneration. I joined AIOG because of the many opportunities to connect and learn from other researchers outside of academia. When I’m not busy with classes and working in the lab, I enjoy spending time with my three very active little boys and husband.