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Jennifer Polk

Coach at From PhD to Life

About Me

Jennifer Polk works as an academic, career, and life coach. Her clients — graduate students and PhDs — are a diverse group of individuals based all around the world, from Canada, the US, the UK, Europe, Australia, and elsewhere. She helps them launch meaningful. Jen also speaks on campuses and at conferences throughout North America on issues related to graduate education and career outcomes for PhDs, and her writing has appeared in the Globe and Mail, University Affairs, Vitae, and Academic Matters.

Find Jen online at FromPhDtoLife.com, which features resources for PhD career changers, and at her award-winning University Affairs blog. Join her twice a month for #withaPhD chat on Twitter and for Beyond the Professoriate, an annual online conference for PhDs in transition. Jen earned her PhD in history from the University of Toronto in 2012. She lives in Toronto with her cat, Izzy.

My disciplines and areas of professional expertise include…

  • Academic, career, and life coaching; keynotes and workshops; conferences and group programs

Current work

I help smart people get organized, make a plan, and put it into action! I primarily work 1-on-1 with clients, and I do other fun things like travel to gives talks and lead workshops, and co-produce Beyond the Professoriate.


  • University of Toronto

    • 2012 Ph.D., History
  • Carleton University

    • 2004 Master of Arts (M.A.), History
  • Carleton University

    • 2002 Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), European and russian-area studies


  • From PhD to Life (blog)

    Regular blog on UniversityAffairs.ca. Features in-depth interviews with PhDs and other graduate degree holders who've launched a variety of careers, all beyond the professoriate. Read the blog at http://www.universityaffairs.ca/career-advice/from-phd-to-life/.

  • Beyond the Professoriate

    Beyond the Professoriate is the online career conference for PhDs! Group coaching and more programs launching fall 2016. Fourth annual conference tentatively scheduled for spring 2017. Learn more at http://beyondprof.com

  • #withaPhD (Twitter chat)

    #withaPhD is an inclusive, engaging Twitter chat that I host or co-host twice a month. All are welcome to participate. To learn more and see past chats, check out http://withaPhD.com.

  • Transition Q & As (blog series)

    If you only look at one page of my website, let it be this one! There are over 60 interviews now published, originally on my own website, and later on my University Affairs blog. Find them all via http://fromphdtolife.com/resources/transition-q-as/.


  • From PhD to Life

    • 7/2013 - Present Academic and Career Coach
  • Self-employed

    • 2/2010 - 12/2012 Researcher and Virtual Assistant
  • Concert Sherpa

    • 3/2012 - 10/2012 Online Content Editor
  • Narratives (Toronto indie music blog)

    • 6/2006 - 5/2010 Publisher and Writer
  • Department of History, University of Toronto

    • 9/2004 - 12/2009 Teaching Assistant