Career Trajectories Day 2019

Conference Date: 
Tuesday, June 4, 2019 (All day)
Scientific Areas: 


What can you do with physics? Plenty! There’s a broad spectrum of opportunities for people trained in physics at the undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral levels. The problem-solving skills necessary to succeed in physics are sought after in a wide range of technology, government, industrial sectors–in addition to academic research and teaching.

Career Trajectories 2019 will bring together students and postdocs in physics with former physics students who have found success and career satisfaction in a wide range of areas—from traditional and non-traditional academic roles, to various private sector industries, public service, science communication, and more.

Through a combination of talks and panel sessions, the day will showcase the many career possibilities available to young physicists, practical steps you can take to explore your options and the many resources available to help you jump start careers in many areas.

There will be a two-hour networking lunch, with ample opportunities to meet and ask questions of presenters, recruiters, and others who can help you in whatever career trajectory you choose. Start putting your resume together--there will be opportunities to send them to potential employers!

To register for this event, please click here

New this year! In conjunction with "Career Trajectories Day 2019" there will be a special “How to Network 101” session the day before (Monday, June 3) from 2:00 - 3:30 pm, whereby individuals will learn how to make great contacts while holding a drink and a sandwich. Registration for this event is limited and is only open to those attending the June 4 event.

To register for this event, please click here


  • Natacha Altamirano, Birch Hill Equity Partners
  • Crystal Bailey, American Physical Society
  • Magaret Fraser, Open Text
  • Alioscia Hamma, University of Massachusetts Boston
  • Chris Herdman, Middlebury
  • Ted Hsu, Former Member of Parliament
  • Stephanie Keating, Perimeter Institute
  • Justin  Malecki, Ontario Energy Board
  • Alex Radovic, Borealis AI
  • Rene Stock, Scotiabank
  • Alexandra Terrana, Minerva
  • Rowan Thompson, Carleton University
  • Nipun Vats, Science & Econimic Development Canada

Networking Invitees:

  • Sascha Adkins, Shopify
  • Saleem Ahmad, JROP
  • Caetie Anicknap, Open Text
  • Michelle Flanagan, Communitech
  • Amy  Girourd, Sunlife Financial
  • Ella  Hilal, Shopify
  • Chris Luciuk, Insight
  • Monica Munaretto, University of Waterloo
  • Bart Piwowar, CIBC Data Studios
  • Amir Sariri, CDL
  • Vanessa Thomas, University of Waterloo
  • Eugene Adjei, Perimeter Institute
  • Tibra Ali, Perimeter Institute
  • Artur Avkhadiev, Perimeter Institute
  • Ivana Babic, Perimeter Institute
  • Matthew Beach, Perimeter Institute
  • Juan Cayuso, Perimeter Institute
  • Samuel Cree, Perimeter Institute
  • William Cunningham, Perimeter Institute
  • Faith Dinc, Perimeter Institute
  • Martin Ganahl, Perimeter Institute
  • Anna Golubeva, Perimeter Institute
  • Florian Hopfmueller, Perimeter Institute
  • Ravi Kunjwal, Perimeter Institute
  • Nastasia Makki, Perimeter Institute
  • Aoibheann Margalit, Perimeter Institute
  • Soham Mukherjee, Perimeter Institute
  • Rob Myers, Perimeter Institute
  • Andre Pereira, Perimeter Institute
  • Daniele Pranzetti, Perimeter Institute
  • Aldo Riello, Perimeter Institute
  • Jairo Rojas, Perimeter Institute
  • Markus Rummel, Perimeter Institute
  • Barak Shoshany, Perimeter Institute
  • Serene Shum, Perimeter Institute
  • Adamantios Synanidis, Perimeter Institute
  • Elie Wolfe, Perimeter Institute
  • Jingxiang Wu, Perimeter Institute
  • Gang Xu, Perimeter Institute
  • Laszlo Zalavari, Perimeter Institute





8:30 – 9:00am



9:00 – 9:15am

Rob Myers, Welcome and Opening Remarks


9:15 – 10:00am

Keynote Address
Crystal Bailey, Head of Career Programs
American Physical Society (APS)


10:00 – 10:15am

Coffee Break

Bistro – 1st Floor

10:15 – 11:45am

Panel Discussion: Road to Private Sector
Natasha Altamirano, Birch Hill Equity Partners
Margaret Fraser, Open Text
Alex Radovic, Borealis AI
Rene Stock, Scotiabank
Moderated by Kelly Foyle, Perimeter Institute

This panel will address how to make the jump from physics to the private sector. Which areas are a good match for people with physics training? How to map the skills you have onto private sector jobs and companies? We'll hear from people who will share stories and tips on how they found successful careers in areas including management consulting, finance, IT, and more.


11:45 – 12:00pm

Agata Branczyk, Perimeter Institute
Introduction to PI Career Trajectories Webpage


12:00 – 2:00pm

Networking Lunch
CIBC Data Studio
Creative Destruction Lab
University of Waterloo

Bistro – 2nd Floor & Atrium

2:00 – 3:15pm

Panel Discussion: Road Less Travelled
Ted Hsu, Former member of Parliament
Stephanie Keating, Perimeter Institute
Justin Malecki, Ontario Energy Board
Nipun Vats, Science and Economic Development Canada
Moderated by Kelly Foyle, Perimeter Institute

This panel will cover careers less common to those studying physics. Do you have diverse interests far from physics? Want to change the world without solving quantum gravity? Learn how our panelists combined their physics backgrounds with their interests in writing, public service, and even politics to forge rewarding careers that are shaping our world.


3:15 – 3:30pm

Coffee Break

Bistro – 1st Floor

3:30 – 4:45pm

Panel Discussion: Road to Academia
Alioscia Hamma, University of Massachusetts Boston
Alexandra Terrana, Minerva
Rowan Thomson, Carleton
Chris Herdman, Middlebury
Moderated by Kelly Foyle, Perimeter Institute

This panel will bring to light what faculty life is really like. How does the combination of teaching and research shake out in real life? How do you identify the right institutions and academic positions for you? How important is your research statement? Your talk? How can you build your academic network now, while you’re still a student or postdoc? And once you’re in a tenure track position, how can you balance it all and thrive?


4:45 – 5:00pm

James Forrest, Perimeter Institute
Closing Remarks



Kelly Foyle, Perimeter Institute

Outreach Scientist

Kelly is an outreach scientist at Perimeter Institute.  She is dedicated to developing and delivering educational material on modern physics to the public, teachers and students.  She completed her doctorate degree in astrophysics at Heidelberg University in Germany and a postdoctoral fellowship at McMaster University researching galaxies and star formation.  She loves learning and sharing her passion for science.

Margaret Fraser, OpenText

My career is in software, which is an extremely vague label that covers a lot of interesting things I’ve done while working at companies ranging size from 20 to 20,000+ people.    I've done coding on systems with uses from rocket science to brain surgery, Hollywood animation to speed skate development.  And I also like the non-coding aspects of the field: project management, hardware, technical writing, training, videos, etc.  (sometimes etc. is the most fun part).  Over the last few decades I’ve delivered projects from tiny websites to a complete production floor control system.   And I love being mom to our three boys.

Ted Hsu

Ted Hsu obtained his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1989 and his research publications are mostly in the area of quantum many-body physics. His post-doctoral research took him to U.B.C. in Vancouver, the CNRS-CRTBT in Grenoble, France, and Atomic Energy of Canada (AECL) in Chalk River, Ontario.

His quantitative background led Ted to a nine-year career in finance that took him to the United States, Europe, and Japan. As a researcher and a trader, he wrote and used computer programs and mathematical models for risk management and business automation. During those years, Ted worked for Banque Nationale de Paris in France and for Morgan Stanley in Tokyo, where he learned about the global capital markets and gained experience as a business line manager.

Beginning in 2007, Ted served a three-year term as executive director of SWITCH, a South-Eastern Ontario not-for-profit association that promotes local job creation, investment in sustainable energy and aims to position the region at the forefront of the transition away from a fossil fuel based economy.

Ted was elected Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands in May 2011. He served variously as the Liberal Party’s spokesperson for Science and Technology, Post-Secondary Education, Federal Economic Development in Ontario, and Natural Resources. He has been an advocate for evidence-based policy, government support for science, the commercialization of discovery research, STEM education, climate change mitigation, and parliamentary and electoral reform.

After working in Canada, the United States, France, and Japan, including a three-year stint as a stay-at-home father, Ted chose to return to his hometown of Kingston. He continues to reside in Kingston with his wife and two daughters where he pursues interests in science, public policy, democratic reform, student robotics competitions and the commercialization of technology.

Stephanie Keating, Perimeter Institute

Science Writer/Editor

Stephanie has been a science writer and editor at Perimeter Institute since 2016. Stephanie is trained as a scientist: she received her BSc and MSc in Astrophysics from Western University in London, Ontario, and her PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics from the University of Toronto. Her studies focused primarily on extragalactic astronomy, including active galactic nuclei and compact galaxies. After finishing her PhD in 2015, Stephanie came to Perimeter as an Outreach Scientist with the Educational Outreach department. As a science writer, Stephanie is thrilled to communicate the fascinating and
complex processes and discoveries of theoretical physics with the world.

Justin Malecki, Ontario Energy Board

Policy Advisor

Justin Malecki is a Toronto-based energy professional, currently advising the Ontario Energy Board on matters related to the regulation of electricity and natural gas. Prior to advising the OEB, Justin has advised the Ontario government through his work at the Ontario Ministry of Energy, served as Chief Operating Officer during the creation of Ideas Roadshow and worked as an analyst at the renewable energy consulting firm ClearSky Advisors. Justin holds a PhD in theoretical physics from the University of British Columbia and an Honours BSc in physics from the University of Waterloo with a research focus on condensed matter, quantum gravity and general relativity.

Alexander Radovic, Borealis AI

Alexander Radovic is a former particle physicist, currently working as a Machine Learning researcher at Borealis AI.  He earned his PhD in particle physics from University College London working on the MINOS neutrino oscillation experiment.   After his PhD he worked as a Postdoc with the College of William and Mary, based at the Fermilab National Accelerator Laboratory, contributing the MINOS, NOvA, and DUNE neutrino oscillation experiments.

Alexandra Terrana, Minerva

Assistant Professor of Computational Sciences and Natural Sciences at Minerva

Alex grew up in Hamilton, Ontario and graduated with a BSc in Honours Math and Physics from McMaster University. She completed Perimeter Institute's PSI program during 2012-2013, and then went on to obtain her PhD, working jointly at York University and Perimeter Institute. Her PhD research was in the field of theoretical cosmology and gravitation under the supervision of Matthew Johnson. 

While Alex enjoyed her graduate research, she could not imagine doing research as a career. Instead, she wished to pursue her passion for teaching and education. While finishing her PhD, she came across an opportunity with Minerva Schools at KGI that led to her dream job. Minerva is a new and unique four-year liberal arts college that is aiming to reinvent higher education. They are revolutionary in many ways, including their innovative curriculum, dedication to evidence-based pedagogy, the global experience gained by students living in seven different cities over four years, and the cutting-edge education technology enabling interactive online classes.

Alex is currently an Assistant Professor of Computational Sciences and Natural Sciences at Minerva. This full-time teaching position, involving both teaching and curriculum design, is everything Alex could have wanted and more. She loves the challenge of making seemingly complex material accessible and exciting for students. Plus, having the opportunity to be part of the process of building a university from scratch at Minerva is truly rewarding.

Rowan Thomson, Carleton University

Canada Research Chair and Associate Professor, Carleton University

Rowan Thomson's PhD research was in theoretical high-energy physics (Superstring Theory) at Perimeter Institute and the University of Waterloo, and was awarded Waterloo's Pearson Medal.  Dr. Thomson's post-PhD research is in Medical Physics: computational radiotherapy physics.  She develops computational approaches for simulating the interactions of radiation with matter and considers applications in radiotherapy for cancer treatment.  Dr. Thomson became a faculty member at Carleton University in 2010, and was named a Canada Research Chair in 2013.   She was awarded the Polanyi Prize in Physics in 2011 and an Ontario Early Researcher Award in 2015.  Dr. Thomson is active in professional organizations, e.g., as co-chair of a task group of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine, and as a member of several inter-societal task and working groups.  She is an Associate Editor for the top-tier journal Medical Physics.




Communitech is a public-private innovation hub that supports a community of more than 1,400 companies — from startups to scale-ups to large global players. Communitech helps tech companies start, grow and succeed in three distinct ways:

  • Communitech is a place - the centre of gravity for entrepreneurs and innovators. A clubhouse for building cool shit and great companies
  • Communitech delivers programs - helping companies at all stages with access to capital, customers and talent.
  • Communitech partners in building a world-leading ecosystem - making sure we have all the ingredients (and the brand) to go from a small startup to a global giant.

Creative Destruction Lab

The Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) is a seed-stage program for massively scalable science-based technology start-ups. This nine-month program – structured around five summit-type meetings – pairs start-up founders with experienced entrepreneurs and investors who set focused, measurable objectives to achieve over fixed timelines. By leveraging the start-up data gathered since CDL's inception in 2012, the CDL-AI Project aims to build learning models that predict future financing events of start-ups.


We are a professional educational startup that helps quantitative PhDs and postdocs make the transition from academia to a career in data science. The Fellows in our program learn data science by creating and developing data projects while getting exposed to data science from industry professionals that come to speak to them every day. Our Fellows have been hired across North America at leading companies like Facebook, Netflix, Twitter, Airbnb, Yelp, etc, as well as many smaller startups.


Jrop is building a scalable property mapping solution to streamline pick-ups and drop-offs for ridesharing, delivery and driverless cars.  We dynamically allocate staging areas that optimize operational metrics for passengers, vehicles and property managers on a per-trip basis, and improve their locations over time using AI/ML.  Our mission is to provide global access to Level 5 autonomy by solving the last-meter problem.

Sun Life Financial

Sun Life Financial is in the business of helping our Clients achieve lifetime financial security and live healthier lives. Founded in Canada in 1865, Sun Life has been a trusted name for generations. Today, Sun Life serves millions of Clients in Canada, the United States, Asia, the U.K. and other parts of the world. Our range of protection and wealth management businesses supports our continued growth and a bright future ahead.


  • Debbie Adare, Perimeter Institute
  • Christina Bouda, Perimeter Institute
  • Agata Branczyk, Perimeter Institute
  • Patricia Butler, Perimeter Institute
  • Elyse Critchlow, Perimeter Institute
  • James Forrest, Perimeter Institute
  • Debbie Guenther, Perimeter Institute
  • Natasha Waxman, Perimeter Institute