When graduate students seek advice and assistance in launching their careers, they now head to the Office of Career Strategy at 55 Whitney Avenue, the result of an August merger of Graduate Career Services and the undergraduate Office of Career Services. Meredith Mira and Ellie Schmelzer are ready to help them.
Meredith returned recently from maternity leave, and Ellie joined OCS in December. Both work one-on-one with students to help them design individualized career planning strategies. Both also develop online materials, run skills-building workshops, and coordinate networking events with potential employers.
As the Senior Associate Director for graduate student advising, Meredith manages all aspects of the program, including cross-campus collaborations, recruitment of potential employers, and creation of informational materials. She will work with the Graduate School’s administration, departmental placement officers, and DGSs across campus “to better understand how we can collaborate to best support GSAS students’ needs,” she explains.
Meredith initially came to the Office of Career Strategy in the summer of 2013 to support undergraduate students interested in global public health. Beginning in the fall of 2014, she assumed primary responsibility for graduate student advising.
After earning a BA from Indiana University in Bloomington, she pursued an MA in Higher Education from the University of Michigan. She completed her doctoral degree in 2013 at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where her research focused on how high school students from a range of racial and socioeconomic backgrounds become aware of social inequality and motivated to work towards social change.
Meredith has also worked as a training facilitator and coach for Leading Change, an international network of educators, researchers, and practitioners engaged in strengthening community-organizing efforts throughout the world, and as a research associate and teaching fellow for Organizing for Health, working witho teams of healthcare workers interested in implementing health innovations.
She enjoys her interactions with Yale graduate students.
“It’s very satisfying to help students practice what I call ‘personal leadership’ — finding their life purpose in the face of uncertainty,” she says. To be able to engage students in that discussion and to help them use their past experience as a case study to figure out what career and life path would best suit them is an exciting thing to facilitate..”
Meredith and her husband, a historian of science, have a six-month-old daughter, who is just as happy to explore everyday items as she is to play with her toys.
Associate Director Ellie Schmelzer joined the Office of Career Strategy in December as full-time adviser to graduate students. In addition to counseling students, she is expanding the list of companies that recruit on campus and identifying additional career tracks suitable for those who hold MA, MS, and PhD degrees.
Ellie plans to create, administer, and analyze surveys of students’ experiences with career planning “that will help us obtain valuable feedback for our current as well as future programming, provide data about the needs of graduate students, and predict and track their placements.”
A native of Bulgaria, she moved to the United States to attend the University of California – Santa Barbara, where she earned her BS and PhD degrees in physics. She tutored and mentored high school math/science students as well as graduate students both at UCSB and at Yale, she helped create public astronomy sessions and planetarium shows at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History’s Gladwin Planetarium.
While completing her doctorate, she also worked as a senior systems engineer at Raytheon Vision Systems in Santa Barbara from 2005 to 2010. In that position, she led a team of engineers in developing night vision detectors.
Ellie came to Yale in 2010 as a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Physics, and since then has led a team of ten scientists in the analysis of black holes and served as the principal investigator for the ‘Blue Transients’ group, which is part of an international survey known as PESSTO (Public ESO Spectroscopic Survey of Transient Objects). In 2013, she was a pro bono consultant for Soft Tissue Regeneration, Inc. in New Haven, where, as part of a team, she analyzed the technical and financial viability of a new product: biodegradable mesh for mastectomy reconstruction.
When she has spare time, Ellie likes to do portrait photography. She also enjoys dancing, spinning, running, tennis, and exploring restaurants and wineries with her friends.