Career Coaching for Ph.D. Students


  • Joy L. Watson University of South Carolina
  • Ed P. Gatzke University of South Carolina
  • Jed S. Lyons University of South Carolina


A seminar course was developed for engineering doctoral students to obtain an awareness of the industrial research environment, non-technical skills desired by industry and how to find a position within industry. Data was collected through seminar observations, students’ two-page reflection paper, and an online survey administered to students participating in the seminar course. Students indicated that they were more aware of career options and the skills they need in an industrial research environment.

Author Biographies

Joy L. Watson, University of South Carolina

Joy Watson is current pursuing a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of South Carolina. She received her Ph.D. in the College of Engineering at the University of South Carolina in 2011. She obtained her B.S. and M.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Before entering the doctoral program, she worked as a process engineer in the pulp and paper industry and as patent examiner at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Her primary research interests include preparing doctoral students for industry and academic careers and the rheology of ionic liquids and cellulose solutions.

Ed P. Gatzke, University of South Carolina

Ed Gatzke is currently an associate professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of South Carolina. He received his undergraduate degree from Georgia Tech in 1995 and his Ph.D. degree from the University of Delaware in 2000. His awards include the NSF Career Award, the USC CEC Young Investigator Award, the Alexander von Humboldt Experienced Researcher Fellowship, and the USC Mortar Board Excellence in Teaching Award.

Jed S. Lyons, University of South Carolina

Jed Lyons is a professor of mechanical engineering and the faculty director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at the University of South Carolina. A graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology, he worked in the aerospace industry prior to pursuing an academic career. His technical expertise and background includes materials, manufacturing processes, and design. Currently, his research and scholarship focuses on engineering education, innovation, and professional development.