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Chapter 10 - Life Beyond Graduate School

E. Shirl Donaldson, PhD
photo of Mark J. T. Smith

Dr. Donaldson received her PhD in industrial technology from Purdue University in December 2012 and is currently a postdoctoral fellow researching entrepreneurship and diversity. A strong advocate of inclusionary practices in education and business, she encourages students to work to their strengths while constantly expanding their skill sets and perspective. She has mentored several graduate and undergraduate students in areas of progression and transition from undergraduate to graduate studies, research, and study abroad. Between her master’s and doctoral studies, she served as an Industry Advisory Board member for two departments in the College of Technology. Her research agenda and commitment to intellectual growth is driven by her life experience.

While completing her master’s degree and during several years after, she worked in a family-owned manufacturing firm. She was married to an entrepreneur for sixteen years, and her family has owned other Small companies as well. As a doctoral student, Dr. Donaldson served as a co-chair of the Technology Graduate Student Advisory Council (TGSAC) and was an active mentor of undergraduate students in the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP). She was recognized as an AGEP scholar and received a Purdue University Bilsland Strategic Initiatives Fellowship. She also collaborated in the creation of an innovation course and taught the initial offering. Today Dr. Donaldson’s research interests include entrepreneurship, innovation, technology management, and diversity in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields of study. She examines how academic and industrial environments enable effective learning, discovery, and realization of new and transferred knowledge.