Meet Dr. Joel Muraco, Ph.D. Career Counselor

Submitted on February 17, 2020

By Elizabeth Labiner

We at the Graduate Center are delighted to have added Dr. Joel Muraco to our team! A Tucson native, Dr. Muraco has earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees from UArizona: a B.A. in English and Creative Writing and a B.S. in Family Studies and Human Development in 2008, an M.S. in 2012, and a Ph.D. in 2014, both in Family Studies and Human Development. 

After earning his degrees, Dr. Muraco accepted a tenure-track position as an Assistant Professor of Human Development at the University of Wisconsin Green Bay (UWGB). In addition to his teaching and professorial work at UWGB, he helped develop campus-wide student success and retention programs and initiatives. While he enjoyed his work, Dr. Muraco didn’t care for living in Wisconsin, and began looking for ways to return to Arizona. Muraco explains, “During this time, I started reflecting on my passions and my goals, and really reassessed what my priorities were both in terms of my career and my life in general.” So, with his own mental health and well-being in mind, he resigned. “I had no back-up plan, but I figured I’d come back to Arizona and figure it out from there,” he laughs. 

Dr. Muraco emphasizes the importance of his personal networks; on his return to Arizona, friends from both undergraduate and graduate school alerted him to job opportunities ranging from online teaching for Penn State to working in prescription benefits management for CVS Health. He then learned of openings at UArizona in Student Engagement and Career Development (SECD), and joined SECD as a Career Educator in November 2017. Over the course of his two years with SECD, he helped redevelop their career curriculum, programming, and service delivery model. 

Dr. Muraco’s own breadth of experience has given him an exceptionally well-rounded understanding of the job market across employment sectors, and he possesses a wealth of knowledge about internship and career search processes. Importantly, he is attuned to the unique position and logistics of being job seeker with a graduate degree. 

As our resident Ph.D. Career Counselor, Dr. Muraco will work with our existing programs as well as develop new programming and resources for both graduate students and postdoctoral scholars preparing to enter the job market. He is available to assist with career exploration, online professional profiles, networking, application materials, interviewing, and negotiating offers for internship and career searches. A major aspect of his role is one-on-one work with graduate students, aiding them in all the aforementioned aspects of career development. In addition to his student-focused services, Dr. Muraco views his role as having two additional foci: alumni and employers. He explains, 

I see career services for Ph.D. students as having three prongs, all of which feed into one another. Networking and engaging with alumni and employers will help me better understand the opportunities out there for job seekers, both in terms of helping graduate students learn about possible jobs from alumni already in that track, to see if it’s an option that’s of interest to them, and to understand what employers want in applicants. 

Dr. Muraco’s multi-faceted approach is exciting, as he leverages and grows pre-existing networks of university and community connections. 

Opportunities to avail yourself of Dr. Muraco’s expertise are available now via one-on-one appointments, and a new career development program is launching this March!

One-on-One Career Advising Appointments

If you’d prefer individual attention for your career related questions and needs, you can set up a one-on-one appointment by emailing Dr. Muraco at

Career Forward Sprint: Beyond the Academy

For graduate students and postdoctoral scholars currently in or about to enter an internship or job search, this fully online (D2L) program teaches strategies to help you successfully navigate your career beyond the academy while presenting your most professional self. The month-long cohort experience covers: 

  1. career research and discovery, 
  2. building your network and your professional self, 
  3. developing your application materials, and 
  4. preparing for and practicing interviews. 

In typical sprint fashion, recommended daily tasks help ensure you keep moving forward! The inaugural cohort begins Monday, March 2, 2020, and ends March 27, 2020 (another cohort will begin Monday, April 6, 2020). The program is free, and space is limited. If you have questions or want to reserve your spot, please email Dr. Joel Muraco (