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Rita B. Leahy Career Series

Photograph of Rita B. Leahy

Rita B. Leahy Career Series: Where PhD Training and Opportunities Meet

During 2019-2020, the first annual Rita B. Leahy Career Series will bring current doctoral students and Maryland alumni together to meet and explore career opportunities for PhDs.  Two sessions will take place each semester.

All will be held from 4:30-6:00 PM in the University Career Center & The President’s Promise, Room 3134 of the South Wing of Hornbake. The speakers' opening remarks will be simultaneously broadcast via Webex. The networking part of the program will not be on Webex so in person attendance is preferable. Pre-registration required in Careers4Terps,

Careers for PhDs in Data Science
Tuesday, 10/1/19

Registration required at:

Vasilis Sotiris, PhD 

University of Maryland Alumnus, Applied Mathematics & Statistics, and Scientific Computation, 2011
Director of Data Science at Cerebri AI

Dr. Sotiris is an experienced data science leader with deep knowledge of statistical theory and methodology. He has extensive experience developing and deploying parametric and machine learning models to solve difficult problems in banking and risk management. After earning his PhD in Applied Statistics and Mathematics at Maryland in 2011, Dr. Sotiris worked at Capital One, KPMG, Barclays and Dun and Bradstreet. Six months ago, his career took a significant turn as he became the Director of Data Science at Cerebri AI- a successful tech start up with investment from M12, formerly Microsoft Ventures. Cerebri AI,  has created a product that is fundamentally changing how customer-facing sales and success professionals can analyze the customer journey.

Data Science continues to evolve as one of the most promising and in-demand career paths for skilled professionals. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn more about Dr. Sotiris' career path, lessons he has learned since earning his PhD.  and his thoughts about the opportunitiesthat exist for PhDs in the field of data science.

Advocacy & Policy Careers for PhDs
Wednesday, 11/20/19

Advocacy includes work that supports and engages decision makers on behalf of individuals, groups and/or communities. Roles exist in a range of sectors including Non-Profit/NGOs, Government/Politics, Higher Education, and Freelance/Independent opportunities.

Careers in Training for PhDs
Thursday, 3/5/20

Training includes content development and delivery outside of the academic classroom. Trainers use teaching, instructional design, assessment, and public speaking skills in a variety of settings including corporations, museums and other non-profits, and government.

Careers for PhDs in the Federal Government
Wednesday, 4/8/20

There are plenty of available options for those with PhDs in one of the many departments, agencies, and research labs of the federal government in and outside of Washington, DC. PhDs find opportunities at the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Dept of Agriculture, Department of Defense, and Department of Education, just to name a few of the many organizations under the federal umbrella. 


About Dr. Leahy

Rita Leahy received her PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of Maryland in 1989. She is very grateful for her education at Maryland because it put her in touch with organizations and people who had a big impact on her life and career. Dr. Leahy feels it is very important for Ph.D. students to understand the different career options that are available to them and to build a professional network. In 2018, Dr. Leahy created a fund in the Graduate School to support the professional development of doctoral students and the creation of an annual speaker series featuring UMD alumni working in exciting and meaningful careers outside of the academy. 

Dr. Leahy’s own career path is a testimony to the power of networking - developing and maintaining connections with individuals.  These connections along with an unstoppable spirit of openness took her career in directions she never could have predicted. She believes that success in life is “finding something that you love to do and finding someone willing to pay you to do it.”  According to Dr. Leahy, success is where preparation and opportunity meet.