About Beyond the Professoriate

Beyond the Professoriate is a division of the Center for Graduate Career Success, a mission-driven organization that partners with universities to scale career and professional development to meet the unique needs of graduate students. We do this by providing research-informed curriculum through our PhD Career Training Platform. Learners access ready-made resources to help them explore career options and learn proven job search strategies to secure employment after earning their degrees or completing their postdocs. 

Meet the Team

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L. Maren Wood, PhD | Founder and CEO

L. Maren Wood, PhD is CEO and Director of the Center for Graduate Career Success, a mission-driven organization that partners with universities to prepare master’s and doctoral students for career success. The Center provides digital training platforms (Beyond the Professoriate and Beyond Graduate School) through which graduate students explore career options and learn job search strategies. In 2022, the Center formed a sponsorship partnership with ETS Global Higher Education Division to provide virtual trainings for master’s and doctoral students.

Since 2012, Dr. Wood has dedicated her career to supporting universities in preparing graduate students and PhDs for meaningful careers in academia and beyond. Her expertise has been featured in Inside Higher Ed, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and peer reviewed books. She also serves as external advisor on committees such as the Council of Graduate Schools Humanities Advisory Committee and the ETS Graduate Education Advisory Council, and is regularly sought as a keynote speaker.

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Malisa Kurtz, PhD | Digital Marketing Strategist

Malisa earned her PhD in Interdisciplinary Humanities from Brock University. After earning her doctorate, Malisa faced the uncertainty that so many PhDs experience when they leave academia and look for new opportunities. After working for a start-up, and then in fundraising for a non-profit, Malisa discovered her interest and talent in marketing and sales. In 2019, Malisa joined the Center team to help connect students and graduate students with resources that can empower them to explore career options and learn job search strategies. 

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Diane Sepa-Kishi, PhD | Product Manager and Instructional Designer.

Diane earned her PhD in Exercise Physiology from York University. During her time in graduate school, Diane found that she enjoyed her time in the classroom as a teaching assistant, and decided to pursue careers with a focus on education and empowering others. Her first position after graduate school was as an Instructional Design Specialist at the Michener Institute of Education at the University Health Network in Toronto. She joined the Center in 2020. In her position, Diane oversees the on-boarding process for new institutions, provides customer support to subscribing partners, and assists in the creation of new learning materials. 

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Harry Thomas, PhD | Learner Engagement Strategies

Harry earned his PhD in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where his work focused on twenty-century American Literature and masculinity. After earning his PhD, Harry taught high school English for ten years in Durham, North Carolina, and also published a book based on his dissertation research (Sissy!, University of Alabama Press, 2017). Excited to help others navigate the transition out of grad school that he himself found so challenging at times, Harry joined Beyond the Professoriate in July 2022.

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Bronwyn McCrone | Product Support Specialist

Bronwyn completed her Fine Arts degree at the University of Guelph. Since graduating, she has held a variety of positions where she developed her skills in customer and product support. In 2022, she joined the Center where her primary responsibilities are to create and maintain our career interview libraries. Bronwyn is always on the look-out for unique and compelling alumni stories that highlight how graduate degree holders can successfully build meaningful careers. 

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Martin Leppitsch, MBA | CIO and CFO

Martin joined Beyond the Professoriate as the Chief Information Officer and Chief Financial Officer in 2018. In his role, Martin provides technology support and assistance to subscribing institutions of Aurora, and provides strategic advice to BtP about technology solutions and best practices. Martin earned his MBA from Duke University. He is passionate about helping start-ups succeed, and enjoys leveraging his expertise to help organizations achieve their mission. In addition to his role at the Center, Martin works as a management consultant in Denver. Before pursuing his career in consulting, Martin worked at Duke University Press as the Assistant IT Manager, and in the IT department at Virginia Tech.

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