First Year As Faculty (STEM)


We think and talk a lot about the scholarship that goes into obtaining a tenure track professor position. But what does the day-to-day of a first year faculty member in STEM fields actually look like? From administrative roles to committee meetings, and from teaching loads to progress toward tenure -- there's a lot that goes into a "rookie year." Hear from recent PhD alumni about what they learned and did in their first year as a faculty member.


Matt Friedman, Associate Curator and Associate Professor, University of Michigan (PhD Evolutionary Biology 2009)

Matt Friedman is a paleontologist and evolutionary biologist who focuses on understanding the origin of diversity within vertebrates, or animals with backbones. His work draws on clues locked in anatomy, genomes, and the fossil record. Originally from the Cleveland area, Matt completed undergraduate studies in biology and geology at the University of Rochester, followed by graduate work at the University of Cambridge and the University of Chicago. He was on the faculty of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and a fellow at St Hugh's College at the University of Oxford from 2009-2016. Since 2016, Matt has been jointly appointed to the Museum of Paleontology and the Department of Earth and Environmental Science at the University of Michigan. Faculty Page

Heather Wheeler, Assistant Professor of Computational Biology, Loyola University Chicago (Postdoc 2010-2015)

Heather is an Assistant Professor at Loyola University Chicago with joint appointments in the Departments of Biology, Computer Science, and Public Health Sciences. At Loyola, she leads a statistical genomics research lab and teaches courses within the Bioinformatics BS and MS programs. Before joining Loyola in 2015, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Chicago where she worked with Drs. Eileen Dolan and Nancy Cox. Heather holds a PhD in Genetics from Stanford University and a BA in Biology from Hamline University. Faculty Page

Michael Bosscher, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Trinity Christian College (PhD Chemistry 2014)

Mike happened upon an academic job before finishing his research in Chemistry and went took a leave of absence to finish up the work during summer term. Summer term quickly became summer terms, and Mike received his doctorate one academic year after planned, but left with a job he loves. Faculty Page

Eun Ji Chung, Gabilan Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, University of Southern California (Postdoc 2014-2016)

Eun Ji Chung is a Gabilan Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Southern California. She received her B.A. in Molecular Biology with honors from Scripps College (Claremont, CA) and her Ph.D. from the Interdisciplinary Biological Sciences Program and the Department of Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University. At Northwestern, Professor Chung developed biodegradable, citric acid-based polymers and nanocomposites for tissue engineering. As a postdoctoral fellow, she first focused on fabricating self-assembling membranes and 3D printed structures derived from ECM proteins and carbohydrates for regenerative medicine. She then expanded her postdoctoral research and joined the laboratory of Professor Matthew Tirrell in the Institute for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago to develop peptide amphiphile micelles for theranostic applications. Professor Chung is a recipient of the SQI-Baxter Early Career Award, the American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellowship, the Postdoctoral Research Grant from the Chicago Biomedical Consortium, and the K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award from the NIH. She is on the Editorial Board of the journals Experimental Biology and Medicine and SLAS Technology. She is also a member of the Society for Biomaterials, Biomedical Engineering Society, and the American Institute for Chemical Engineers. She started her position as Assistant Professor at USC in August 2016. Faculty Page


Scott Snyder, Professor of Chemistry, UChicago (PhD Scripps 2004)

Scott started his independent career at Columbia University in 2006. After being promoted to Associate Professor of Chemistry in June of 2011, Scott moved to Jupiter, FL campus of The Scripps Research Institute in September of 2013 as an Associate Professor of Chemistry, and was recruited by the University of Chicago as a Full Professor in September of 2015. Scott and his group are leading experts in the laboratory synthesis of complex molecules known as natural products, materials produced by plants, insects, corals, bacteria, or anything else found in Nature, in hopes of developing them into novel drugs that can treat human disease. Overall, Scott has trained more than 70 scientists in his laboratory from the high school through postdoctoral levels, and has delivered nearly 200 lectures to date worldwide. He is also dedicated to chemical education, with Scott being a co-author (with T. W. G. Solomons and C. B. Fryhle) of the 11th and 12th editions of "Organic Chemistry" (Wiley). Scott has also co-authored, with P. J. Beuning and D. Z. Besson, a book on teaching and mentoring in science for young faculty entitled "Teach Better, Save Time, and Have More Fun." Faculty Page