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Achieving Successful Careers, Exploring New Directions, or ASCEND, is KU Medical Center’s professional development program for graduate students and postdocs.

Our mission is to provide strategic career training, resources, and opportunities for experiential and elevated learning, preparing KUMC students and postdoctoral scholars for successful careers. 

Here are some highlights of the new and improved ASCEND programming for the 2023-2024 academic year:

  • Sessions focused on two key areas: job searching and transferable skills 
  • A blend of industry- and academia-focused sessions and resources
  • Resume and interview workshops with 1:1 resume consult and mock interview opportunities each semester
  • Added hybrid sessions
  • A new career and professional development resource library
  • A spring semester career fair

View the ASCEND Schedule of Events

Career Panel and Networking

September 14 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

This features a panel of professionals who are sharing insights about their careers after KUMC. Refreshments will be provided during this networking event.

Isabella Fuentes portraitIsabella Fuentes, Ph.D. | LinkedIn

Scientist, Catalent Pharma Solutions
Isabella is primarily responsible for method evaluation, optimization,transfer, and validation activities under cGMP regulatory guidance for LargeMolecule/Biologics Therapeutics product development and related stabilitystudies. She also drafts technical documents such as methods, methodforms, validation protocols, and reports.

Amanda Hays portraitAmanda Hays, Ph.D. | LinkedIn

Scientific Officer, Bioagilytix
As a scientific officer, Amanda consults with pharmaceutical and biotechcompanies on their drug development programs, bioanalytical strategy,regulatory considerations, and any scientific matters for their program orstudies. She supports a wide range of drug therapies across all phases ofdrug development from small molecules to biologics, and novel therapeuticmodalities for various indications. Amanda has to stay at the cutting edge ofscience and give advice to companies oftentimes when there is noregulatory guidance, especially with novel drug modalities. She also regularlypresents scientific symposia at conferences.

Alex Karanevich portraitAlex Karanevich, Ph.D. | LinkedIn

Senior Biostatistician, EMB Statistical Solutions
Alex is a Senior Biostatistician at a small clinical research organization. At ahigh level, companies hire this organization to assist with the statistics-sideof clinical trials. That often involves taking a clinical trial protocol and using itto develop a statistical analysis plan, which fully details everything abouthow the data from the trial will be presented and analyzed. This plan is thenused to carry out the pre-specified analyses which will then be submitted tothe Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Other times, our organizationhelps with the protocol development, the design of the trial, and keeping thetrial on-track statistically. Finally, the organization does general statisticalconsulting, which can cover an incredibly wide array of topics and projects.

Cody Roberts portraitCody Robarts, Ph.D. | LinkedIn

Postdoctoral Fellow, Computational Safety Sciences, Pfizer, Inc.
Cody recently earned a Ph.D. in Toxicology from KUMC in April 2023. Now he
is a dedicated postdoctoral fellow at Pfizer in the realm of pre-clinical safety,
and his research focuses on predictive toxicology, quantitative hazard
assessment, and leveraging large language models (such as ChatGPT) to
help de-risk therapeutics.

Kaela Varberg portraitKaela Varberg, Ph.D. | LinkedIn

Research Assistant Professor, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, KU Medical Center
Kaela recently accepted an Independent Investigator position at the
Children's Mercy Research Institute, and opened her own lab on September
1st. The Varberg Lab group will investigate how cells of the placenta become
specialized to support fetal development and how different genomic
anomalies or environmental exposures may impact placental function.

 Michele Pritchard portraitMODERATOR: Michele Pritchard, Ph.D.| LinkedIn

Director of IGPBS
Michele Pritchard received her Ph.D. at the State University of New York at
Buffalo - Roswell Park Cancer Institute and then performed postdoctoral
research at CASE Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic before
being promoted to research staff at Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Pritchard joined
KUMC faculty in August 2012 and is currently a tenured Associate Professor
in the department of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Therapeutics and
Director of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences.

Register here

Suggest a Topic

We’d love to hear your requests for future sessions. Share your suggestions here!

ASCEND Workshops

Learn more about ASCEND events and how to sign up for the next one!

Explore the ASCEND Schedule of Events

Faculty Affairs and Career Development

University of Kansas Medical Center
Faculty Affairs and Career Development
Mailstop 4009
Wescoe Pavilion 5003

3901 Rainbow Boulevard
Kansas City, KS 66160
Phone: 913-588-1381
Fax: 913-588-5242