To the extent there is a traditional career path in cognitive science, it is often assumed to involve graduate school through PhD, a postdoctoral research position or two or three, then a (preferably) tenure-track (and eventually tenured) position in academia. A very large majority of CogSci members followed or are following that path. It is not always apparent to early, mid, or late career researchers that there are other attractive career path options, with more emerging with every passing year.
We propose this discussion group to raise awareness of the diversity of other career path options that exist outside of academia. The five discussants submitting this proposal vary across earlier, middle, and later stages of their own careers, which will bring a range of perspectives and possible connections with cognitive scientists attending the discussion group, who may also be at different career stages. Collectively, our professional experiences include work in the defense, healthcare, and technology sectors. We have more than 50 years of work experience outside of academia in government and industry (both for-profit and not-for-profit), and many of us have work experience within academia.
Our intent is to begin the session with short introductions and a few questions for each discussant to answer briefly. Examples include:
• What are the connections to cognitive science for you and others at your current or past non-academic position?
• How are the priorities and reward structures similar to and different from those for academic cognitive scientists?
• What do you find most exciting and meaningful about your current or past position?
Following these starters, we intend to open the session to questions from and discussion with attendees.