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CARS Hosts Alumni Panel

By Erin M. Rider ('14)

Six alumni from the assessment and measurement Ph.D. program at JMU gathered to discuss how they landed their jobs, their careers, and their most-used knowledge and skills acquired while at the university. Drs. Jerusha Gerstner (’15), Andrew Jones (’09), Pamela Kaliski (’09), Ross Markle (’10), Laura Williams (’15), and John Willse (’02) all participated in the panel.

Alumni Panel

Alumni Panelists: (Left to right) Andrew Jones, Pamela Kaliski, Ross Markle, Laura Williams, John Willse, Jerusha Gerstner

The panelists hold a variety of jobs in the field: Jerusha is the manager of Talent Management and Analytic Solutions at Marriot International, Andrew is a Research Scientist with the American Board of Internal Medicine, Pamela is a Psychometrician for The College Board, Ross is a Senior Research and Assessment Advisor in the Higher Education Division of the Educational Testing Service, Laura is the Assessment Program Manager with Western Governors University, and John is the Associate Chair and Associate Professor of Educational Research Methodology as well as the Program Director of the Office of Assessment, Evaluation, and Research Services at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

During the discussion, students and visitors asked questions about job searching, ranging from how the panelists knew what they wanted to do in the field to how they found out about their first job opportunities. Many of the panelists credited their mentors in the program, internship experiences, and networks as being instrumental in the job search. Specific skills used in each position were also mentioned, such as being good technical communicators and having the ability learn new techniques independently. The group also discussed the importance of being a published researcher. Areas of focus, such as simulations and standard setting, were also mentioned, but all agreed that strengthening areas of weakness will help students looking for a job after they graduate.


Current students in the assessment and measurement program were able to get a sense of the typical work environment, workday, and career paths to which the skills they acquired from the program could lead them. They were also able to learn how to search for jobs via LISTSERVs and how to figure out which jobs would be right for them; the jobs that they would most enjoy based off of their own experiences through the program.

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