CareerVolt’s Co-Founders, Jessica Lerch and Sheila Cherry, are researchers/scientists, entrepreneurs, consultants, and writers who have worked extensively with academic and professional researchers to help them implement and maintain robust, funded, and impactful research programs.

Both Jessica and Sheila earned their PhDs from Case Western Reserve University in the mid 2000s and went on to postdoctoral training. Their career paths then diverged–Jessica became an assistant professor with a federally-funded research program, while Sheila started her first company to provide editing and writing support to other researchers.

Yet, with these transitions, they both experienced similar challenges of needing to perform many diverse roles for which their research training left them little preparation, along with a sense of isolation and overwhelm that sometimes made it difficult to unearth their enthusiasm for the work they had loved. They also recognized that many of their colleagues and clients were experiencing the same challenges, in their early careers—and even after they began to attain their career goals.

In 2019, Jessica and Sheila joined forces to launch CareerVolt to help busy academics and research professionals to gain or refine skills and implement strategies that would allow them to accelerate their careers and research programs—by acquiring funding; publishing their work; and managing their time, personnel, and resources—without feeling isolated and overwhelmed. Through CareerVolt, Jessica and Sheila continue to share knowledge, skills, and strategies that have worked for their many clients around the world, as well as for themselves.

Our Team


Jessica Lerch, PhD

Jessica earned her PhD in Neuroscience at Case Western. She then completed postdoctoral training at the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis at the University of Miami, and went to a Research Assistant and then a tenure-track Assistant Professor appointment in the Department of Neuroscience at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. In 2017, Jessica moved to a science consulting role with Eva Garland Consulting, helping small biotechnology companies and researchers across the US strategize their science to achieve non-dilutive funding for their R&D and early phase clinical trial projects. She has helped biotechs and scientists raise over $60 million in grant funding since 2018.

Sheila Cherry, PhD

Sheila earned her PhD in Genetics at Case Western. After a postdoctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in 2009 she founded Fresh Eyes Editing to provide editing and writing support for scientists around the globe. During its 13 years in operation, Fresh Eyes helped investigators worldwide to secure hundreds of millions in research funding--tallying more than $250 million just in US federal funding. Recognizing some common skills gaps, particularly with respect to writing grant proposals and applying for funding, Sheila began offering workshops, online training, and individual career development programs in 2016. Sheila is a Certified Editor in the Life Sciences as well as a Certified Executive Coach. She is passionate about helping researchers achieve their career goals. Sheila also follows her passion for gardening, spending as much time as she can in her own gardens and volunteering as a garden steward at her local parks.

Sarah Bronson, PhD
Research Leadership and Success Consultant

Sarah received her PhD in Biomedical Sciences from Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri, and was a postdoctoral trainee with Oliver Smithies, DPhil at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Sarah spent her entire faculty career at the Penn State College of Medicine where she was a researcher, educator, and administrator. She is now an emeritus associate professor and associate dean. She was the co-director (2010-2020) of the nationally recognized Junior Faculty Development Program where she developed a holistic program that teased out the steps to scholarly project development as well as the path toward a sustainable and rewarding career. She was also a co-director for the Grants Academy, with a more specific focus on grant proposal development. As Director of Research Development (2014-2023) she implemented the internal awards program and the limited submission process.

Chinasa Okpani-Idam
Executive Assistant

Chinasa is a dedicated and driven member of the CareerVolt team. With a strong work ethic and a passion for helping others, she provides essential support to our executive team, ensuring seamless operations and enabling them to focus on delivering exceptional service to our clients. Chinasa is a quick learner, always looking for ways to improve and adapt to new challenges. Her commitment to excellence, attention to detail, and organizational skills make her an invaluable asset to our team's success.

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