The OPTIONS Program

"I have a graduate degree - now what?"

The OPTIONS Program supports engineering graduate students and postdoctoral fellows explore diverse career options.

It consists of the Cohort Program and complementary events.

Graduate Professional Development Coordinator

Joanne Lieu

Email: grad.experience@engineering.utoronto.ca

Cohort Program

The Cohort Program is an opportunity to take a deep dive into career management with a supportive community of like-minded graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Facilitated by faculty and professional development experts, the program provides an opportunity to clarify your interests and aspirations, develop job application materials, and explore career pathways. We offer three different Cohort Programs to address the specific needs of the U of T Engineering community.

Launch Your Career Plan should be completed before the OPTIONS Cohort Program.

Complementary Events

The Complementary Events are open to all engineering graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. These events provide an introduction to the school-to-work transition, tools to develop skills critical to the success of a professional, and a venue to network with engineering alumni.

EventDayTime (ET)LocationRegistration
How I Went and Found Careers Beyond the BenchWednesday, April 1712:00 - 1:30 pmZoomRegister in advance
Designing Your Life: Exploring Your Professional PossibilitiesTuesday, May 73:00 - 4:30 pmGB202Register in advance

How I Went and Found Careers Beyond the Bench

Wednesday, April 17 l 12:00 - 1:30 pm l Zoom

  • Are you curious about career opportunities beyond the bench?
  • Want to connect with alumni who have navigated going from the bench?

In this session with engineering alumni, you will learn strategies and the decision-making process that alumni engage in when going from the bench to beyond! You will have the opportunity to listen to each alumni’s key career stories and the factors that went into them going beyond the bench, followed by an opportunity to mingle.

You will:

  • Reflect on the role of parallel planning and career flexibility in navigating multiple spaces
  • Connect with engineering alumni who have navigated career transitions

Our featured panellists are:

  • Karyn Ho, Science Communications Lead, Vital Bio
  • Leo Zhu, Product Manager: AI/ML Recommendations & Platform, Bazaarvoice
  • Yasaman Delaviz, Educational/Curricular Development Specialist, York University
  • Oluwatobi Edun, PMP®, SMC®, EIT, Digital Risk Consultant, Deloitte

Extended bios are forthcoming.

Moderator: Joanne Lieu, Graduate Professional Development Coordinator, Office of the Vice Dean, Graduate Studies

Registrants will be emailed the Zoom link a week before the event. Register in advance.

Designing Your Life: Exploring Your Professional Possibilities

Tuesday, May 7 l 3:00 - 4:30 pm l GB202

Inspired from the Stanford Life Design Lab framework, the “Designing Your Life: Exploring Your Professional Possibilities” workshop will help graduate students uncover their philosophy of work and identify what careers may bring fulfillment. Through practical (and fun!) exercises and discussions, you will learn how to apply design thinking principles to architect your professional path. You will be guided to envision your professional future, identify potential career trajectories, and develop actionable steps to align your passions with your vocational goals.

Through this workshop, you will:

  • Explore the social and personal narratives that shape your career expectations and aspirations.
  • Use design thinking tools to increase your creativity and confidence.
  • Practice decision-making by creating an action plan that brings you in alignment with your core values and professional goals.

Facilitator: Jennifer Galley, Leadership Education Specialist, Troost Institute for Leadership Education

Testimonials

"The OPTIONS Program provided a how-to guide on exploring next steps. I am more confident to reach out to individuals in different positions to learn about their career paths. I left the program with a better understanding and ability to market my skills and strengths gained throughout my education."

PhD, BME)

"The OPTIONS Program helped me understand my skills from childhood to adulthood by realizing common patterns. It aided me to widen my career possibilities as opposed to the classic ‘industry vs academia’ approach."

(PhD, ECE)

"The OPTIONS program gave me the tools to reflect on my career story from different marketable perspectives. The course helped me to define, schedule, and practice clear and concise actions to create job opportunities aligned with my core values. The introspection was guided by instructors with different fields of expertise. This exposed me to more job possibilities and a better understanding of the path to follow as I transitioned from academia to industry."

(Postdoctoral Fellow, CHE)

"I was in the middle of my career exploration when I joined The OPTIONS Program. For me the program highlighted the possibilities outside of the more “well traveled” career paths and I felt empowered to explore these. Through the program I was able to recognize my skills and how they are of great value for my chosen direction in life."

(Postdoctoral Fellow, AER)