Master's and Ph.D. Career Symposium

2.1 Negotiating Your First Position for a Career Beyond Academia

Time: 10:30-11:45am

Room: 002 Wellman

Join us for an informative discussion exploring the do's and don'ts of negotiating your first position outside academia. Our panelists representing different organizations will offer their expert advice on how to put your best foot forward and successfully negotiate your new position,  including how and when to seek additional information about salary and benefits. Don't miss this opportunity to learn a skill vital to your career success.


Brandy Burns is the Director of Human Resources for Monsanto’s global vegetable research division.  Monsanto Company is a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality. Monsanto remains focused on enabling both small-holder and large-scale farmers to produce more from their land while conserving more of our world's natural resources such as water and energy.  Brandy has extensive experience in leadership development and coaching; change management; organizational design and development of strategic workforce plans; and integration of merged and acquired businesses and teams.  Brandy is currently based at Monsanto’s research campus in Woodland, CA.

Steve Hahn joined Dow in Midland, Michigan in 1982 and has worked in a variety of business and corporate research and new business development functions at Dow prior to assuming his current role in 2007. As Research Fellow, Steve leads Dow’s effort to identify emerging, strategically aligned chemical, materials, water and energy related business opportunities. He is focusing on the North American West Coast region and is currently located in the San Francisco/Silicon Valley area of Northern California. Steve has a B.S. in Chemistry from Michigan Tech and an M.S. in Chemistry from Central Michigan University. He holds 40 issued U.S. Patents, 40 publications in refereed journals, and 6 chapters in scientific reference books. Steve was named a Dow Inventor of the Year in 1990 and 1996, the Distinguished Alumni Lecturer at Michigan Tech in 1996 and 2003, and received the Dow Excellence In Science Award in 1999. He was a Visiting Professor of Chemistry and IPrime Scholar at the University of Minnesota in 2002. Steve received the American Chemical Society Cooperative Research Award in 2008 and the Council for Chemical Research Collaboration Award in 2010. He has represented Dow on Advisory Boards at the University of Connecticut and at Michigan Tech. Steve is a member of the Academy of the College of Sciences and Arts at Michigan Tech and serves on the Advisory Board for the Global Social Venturing Competition at the Haas School of Business at UC-Berkeley.

Mark Szczerba currently works as a Consulting Manager within Roll Global’s Strategy Group. Roll Global is a privately held international corporation with diverse interests including agriculture, consumer packaged goods, floral services and more.  Roll Global’s companies include Paramount Farms, Paramount Citrus, Fiji Water, Teleflora, POM Wonderful, and Suterra. As part of the Strategy Group, Mark has considerable experience in operations, marketing, and management. Prior to joining Roll Global, Mark was a post-doctoral fellow in plant biotechnology at the University of California, Davis and went on to join PIPRA, also at the University of California, Davis, working on technology evaluation.  Mark received his Ph.D. in Plant Physiology from the University of Toronto and his B.Sc from the University of Western Ontario.