About Us

Doctoral students face a myriad of challenges in today’s competitive job market. As a result, non-traditional careers are fast becoming a viable, successful, and enriching alternative for graduate students; however, potential opportunities within this sector are often overlooked because of students’ limited exposure to and awareness of the wide range of alternative career choices that exist.

The purpose of this organization is to educate its members about the many alternative doctoral career paths available to them within academia, government, and industry.

This organization seeks to shed light on ways in which the skills obtained during PhD study can be leveraged when seeking alternative careers and to bridge the gap between doctoral students and working PhD professionals who chose alternative careers.

Members of this organization will be given the opportunity to take advantage of networking and mentorship opportunities in addition to attending informational seminars given by successful doctorates who pursued vocations outside of the traditional academic tenure-track path.

The GCA is an official association at Stony Brook University dedicating to assisting graduate students in discovering all of their future careers options both inside and outside academia.

Our purpose as the Graduate Career Association is to educate students that face mounting challenges in today’s competitive job market. By cultivating professional skills, creating mentorship opportunities, and hosting informational seminars we want to support confident, diverse and hard-working individuals and introduce them to the alternative career choices that exist.

Awarded as Stony Brook University's Best New Organization in 2012

Meet this year's Executive Committee!


Forrest Bowling is a student in the Biochemistry and Structural Biology graduate student in Dr. Michael Airola's Lab. His research is focused on the protein structure of lipid signaling enzymes.

Vice President

Sheed Itaman is a member of the Grigori Enikolopov Lab, in Neurobiology and Behavior. He currently studies adult neurogenesis in various contexts and uses new techniques to understand endogenous division dynamics of adult neural stem cells. These techniques can also be used to measure how adult neural stem cells’ division dynamics change in the presence of pharmaceutical compounds or environmental stimulation. After graduation, Sheed aims to inspire others and engage students in populations that have low STEM representation. He hopes a future position as an impactful minority scientist may further inspire others to pursue biomedical research.


Jennifer Park is a graduate student in the Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology PhD program, working in Dr. Hyungjin Kim’s lab. Her research is focused on exploring how the DNA repair system preserves and regulates genomic stability in order to prevent tumorigenesis. As a third year graduate student, she is elucidating the role of TIMELESS, a component of the Fork Protection Complex, involved in replication fork protection. As the Treasurer of GCA, she hopes to smoothly coordinate GCA events to help other graduate students looking for career advice and opportunities.


Kafi Belfon is a Biochemistry and Structural Biology Ph.D. candidate in the French lab. Her focus is on the structural characterization of a mouse protein ORF 75C. She is actively learning the single-particle cryo-EM technique to structurally characterize the protein.

Social Media Representative

Mariella Quispe-Carbajal is a graduate student in the Biochemistry and Structural PhD program, working in the laboratory of Dr. Steven E. Glynn. Her research is focused on the molecular mechanism of substrate binding and degradation by mitochondrial AAA+ proteases. As GCA’s Social Media Representative, she is responsible for maintaining social media presence and promoting career events on GCA’s biweekly newsletter, Facebook and Twitter.

Website Coordinator

Alexandra Weinheimer is a graduate student in the Biochemistry and Structural Biology PhD program, working in the lab of Dr. Hyungjin Kim. She studies the protein SDE2, a newly identified genome surveillance factor implicated in the replication stress response, with a particular interest in its SAP domain, a DNA-binding domain that preferentially binds single-stranded DNA. Her role in GCA is to maintain and update the website (this website!). She also makes the flyers.