Deanna Montgomery, PhD'19, shares her experience and advice as a manager of the Communication Lab in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department at MIT.
U-M Pharmacy: What was your most memorable learning experience or impactful faculty mentor?
Dr. Montgomery: Hank Mosberg, my dissertation advisor, was incredibly supportive of both my research and other endeavors.
U-M Pharmacy: What was your favorite extracurricular activity?
Dr. Montgomery: I was part of the leadership team of RELATE, a science communication training organization. I worked with other graduate students from a variety of STEM disciplines to design and facilitate workshops about science communication for groups both on and off campus.
U-M Pharmacy: How did your fellow alumni or professional network impact your career?
Dr. Montgomery: I applied for my current position after finding out about the job opening on Twitter from someone who I had met at a conference 1.5 years prior.
U-M Pharmacy: Tell us about your current position.
Dr. Montgomery: I am the manager of the Communication Lab in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) department at MIT (mitcommlab.mit.edu/eecs). My role is at the interface of science communication and academic administration. I manage a team of ~15 PhD students and postdocs who work on projects related to science communication in parallel with their research. We provide 1-on-1 coaching, training, and other resources on all forms of technical communication for anyone in the department.
U-M Pharmacy: How did you discover this career path?
Dr. Montgomery: Participating in a RELATE workshop was my first real introduction to science communication. After really enjoying that experience and joining the leadership team of the organization, I actively pursued many other science communication opportunities during my PhD. I explored different aspects of science communication before deciding that I wanted to pursue a position where I could continue to be involved in science communication training.
U-M Pharmacy: What advice do you have for students interested in this career path?
Dr. Montgomery: Almost everyone I've talked to who works in science communication has a unique career path. There are many different roles and entry points. It's important to explore the different possibilities, find the one (or a few) that you are most passionate about, and build experience in that area.