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Recent UCF Graduates Have Accepted Tenure-track Positions at Top Universities

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Getting a tenure-track faculty position at a university has become harder, but several UCF recent graduates are beating the odds.

For many students, an academic position is the goal. For others, it’s industry. Getting into academia is challenging. The American Association of University Professors reports tenured faculty positions have declined to approximately only 21% of the academic labor force.

“Academic jobs are challenging to obtain — maybe more so than ever,” says Daniel Franklin ’18PhD, a UCF physics alum who joined the University of Toronto in Fall 2021 as a full-time tenure-track assistant professor in biomedical engineering. “I would guess this is due to the extreme level of competition from a vast number of highly qualified scientists.”

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UCF Physics Professor and nanooptics researcher Debashis Chanda mentored Franklin during his time at the university.

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Throughout Franklin’s years at UCF, his work was exemplary. He received the Order of Pegasus honor. His research on plasmonic structural color displays was selected by the U.S. National Science Foundation as a “Year of Light 2015” favorite. He also received the international Displaying Futures Award by Merck Germany and was awarded NSF grants of $300,000 and $400,000. After graduating, Franklin extended his physics background to biomedical engineering applications and became a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University in the lab of John Rogers.

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Franklin received multiple faculty interviews including one at the University of Cambridge, U.K.

“The best you can do is position yourself within this competitive cohort [and] realize that the final cut will be due to ‘research fit’ at the hiring institution and things outside of your control,” Franklin says.

He emphasizes that although he is working in academia, it is not the only path to fulfillment.

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Many of the greatest discoveries and inventions of the past century have been developed outside of academia, Franklin says.

“Be set on positively impacting the world with your research regardless of where it takes place,” he says.

The Postdoctoral to Faculty Process

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