Cecilia H. Marzabadi


Graduate Training and

Early Career Choices of

Chemistry Doctorates

Supporting transitions from graduate school to work force in academia

Cecilia H. Marzabadi , Susan A. Nolan,

Janine P. Buckner & Valerie J. Kuck

Seton Hall University

According to the National Science and Technology Council (2000)

 Increasing demand for persons with scientific, technical, and engineering

(STEM) expertise


 Widening gap between the supply and demand. White males not pursuing degrees in these fields.


Possible Solutions to Scientific

Workforce Problem

 Women large part of the pool of candidates in

Science, Technology, Engineering, and

Mathematics (STEM) fields

Female degree recipients in STEM fields:

~ 50% of bachelor’s degrees

 ~ 34% of doctorates

But….they, don’t all make it into the workforce marzabce@shu.edu

In Academic Chemistry

Percentage of Female, Full-Time Faculty



Terminal Degree





Female Faculty

(% Full Time)






ACS Women Chemists 2000

Why aren’t women making it into the scientific workforce?

 Look at graduates from top ranked chemistry departments.

Graduates from these “prestigious” institutions should have the most opportunities available to them !!! J. Chem. Ed. 2004 , 81, 356-363

 If disparities are seen at the top, how much greater is the disparity at less prestigious schools?


This Study…..

 We surveyed the PERCEPTIONS of nowgraduated Ph.D. recipients (1988-1992) from top chemistry departments

 Views of education, training, preparation

 Undergraduate, graduate , post-doctoral levels

 Experiences at first place of employment marzabce@shu.edu


 Respondents (1,950 graduates):

 315 men

 135 women (30.0%)

 Gender: 28.2% female 1

 Response rate: 27.3% marzabce@shu.edu


Doctoral Universities of Graduates

Polled (by NRC Rank-Order)

Univ. of California, Berkeley

California Institute of Technology

Harvard Univ.

Stanford Univ.

Massachusetts Inst. of Technology

Cornell Univ.

Columbia Univ.

Univ. of Illinois

Univ. of Wisconsin

Chicago Univ.

 Purdue Univ.


Types of Questions Used

 Yes/No answer

 Open-ended responses

 A scale (1 through 7) was used for a number of questions:

1 = very little, worse than, not at all, minor

4 = neutral, same as, neither worse than nor better than

7 = a lot, better than, very much, very well, major marzabce@shu.edu

In Regards to Their Experiences in

Graduate School……

 Graduate school selection

 Choice of dissertation advisor

 Help/support from dissertation advisor

 Interactions with dissertation advisor marzabce@shu.edu

Graduate School Selection




No gender difference in chief criteria used:

Reputation of department/school

Perceived environment

Geographical location

 15% of the women and 8% of the men responded that they would not make the same choice of graduate school.


Graduate School Findings-Choice of Dissertation Advisor

 In identifying criteria used in making their advisor choice, men more often cited receiving the help of others.

 A higher percentage of women reported that they:

Would use different criteria in selecting their advisor

Decided to change advisors (14% women vs. 8% men) marzabce@shu.edu

Graduate School Experience-

Support of Dissertation Advisor

 Men rated higher the help that they received from their dissertation advisor in:

Knowing how to do independent research (5.0 vs


Properly evaluating data (5.3 vs 4.9)

Knowing their research goals (5.3 vs 4.8)

Overcoming research difficulties (4.9 vs 4.4)

Understanding the balance between teaching and research (4.3 vs 3.8)

Working on a project that would have impact (4.9 vs

4.4) marzabce@shu.edu

Graduate Research- Interactions with their Dissertation Advisor

 Men rated higher the help offered in:

Support of their careers goals (5.0 vs 4.6)

Assistance in finding a job (4.8 vs 4.3)

 Men gave higher marks (4.8 vs 4.4) to the quality of the interactions with their dissertation advisor.


To Summarize…

 Pronounced gender patterns in a variety of mentoring experiences

 Similar gendered patterns were also observed at post-doctoral level. Men felt more suported.

 How does this data translate into career outcomes?


With Respect to Employment in


 Percent applying for tenure-track positions at

Ph.D.-granting institutions (~7 apps ea)

Men – 35.2%

Women – 25.9% (vs. 28.2% in pool)

 Percent applying for tenure-track positions at non-Ph.D.-granting institutions

Men – 27.6% (3.1 apps ea)

Women – 34.1% (1.9 apps ea) marzabce@shu.edu


 Men (56.0%) more likely to accept a position at a doctoral “extensive” school than were women

(53.7%) 1

 Conversely, women (23.8%) more likely than were men (17.8%) to accept a position at an

“intensive” school

 22.5% of female respondents were offered positions at Ph.D-granting schools but declined the offers

1 Carnegie classifications marzabce@shu.edu

Another way to look at academic job outcomes

WOMEN wound up in…

 Jobs at less prestigious Ph.D. granting programs

 BA level schools

 Non-tenure track jobs at Ph.D. extensive schools marzabce@shu.edu

Reasons Given for Not Applying for

Tenure Track Position at Ph.D.

Granting Schools

 51 responses (29 women, 22 men)

 Pressure and lifestyle expectations (11 W,


 Not enough teaching; want more interaction with students (10W, 4M)

 Not qualified enough (2W, 2M)

 Financial and other marzabce@shu.edu

Where to next?

 Can our understanding of these differing training perceptions and career choices translate into action?

 Do these patterns extend to other STEM fields? (our “new” survey study—NSF funded) marzabce@shu.edu


 Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation

Special Grant Program in the Chemical

Sciences (SG-02-072)

 NSF (HRD- 0327904)

 Rohm & Haas Company

 Clare Boothe Luce Fund for a

Professorship for CM marzabce@shu.edu