Founder and Team

Todd D. Maurer, President.  Prior to joining Versatile PhD, Todd founded a predictive analytics start-up (PeplWorks) that promises to decode human potential and remodel the way education and employment markets work.  For the balance of his career he has worked as a global executive, advisor, investment professional and entrepreneur focused on higher education and workforce development.  He previously ran education research and analytics at 3/1 Global Research, where he represented client engagements across US and Emerging Economies bringing a combination of research, analytics, market strategy, M&A and operating expertise, and working with clients in the education sector ranging from leading Universities to government agencies to global investment funds. Earlier in his career, Todd was VP of Corporate Development at Apollo Global, a joint venture education investment company formed in 2007 by Apollo Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: APOL) and Carlyle Group (NASDAQ: CG) with operations in 14 countries. He was also a Research Partner at Lotus Asset Management Limited, a Hong Kong-based hedge fund and alternative investment firm, where he ran investment research across Asia and Australia. He spent his early career in the Asia-Pacific working in senior corporate finance and equity research positions at Peregrine Investments Holdings Limited based in Beijing, Seoul and Hong Kong. He began his working life as a trade economist with KOTRA, a Korean government agency.

Todd is a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy, an affiliate of the Council on Foreign Relations, and was educated at Columbia University (M.I.A, International Economics), Peking University, Nanjing University and UCLA (B.A. Economics).  He occasionally blogs on education and human capital topics at

Dr. Alex Welsch, Webmaster: Alex has been a freelance web developer since the 1990s, then later earned a PhD in Urban Studies and joined the WRK4US community circa 2009. Alex lives in the Washington DC metro area where he provides consulting services to clients in a variety of fields, including public policy, community development, computer programming and web technologies. As Versatile PhD Webmaster, Alex maintains the site, adds new functionalities, resolves user issues and helps each new subscribing institution install VPhD on its website.

Dr. Paula Chambers, Founder:  Raised in Los Angeles, Paula went to Cal Arts film school (B.F.A., 1986) and spent her 20s as an assistant director in the film business. In 1991 at age 29, she left the entertainment industry and returned to school in order to become an English teacher, earning an MA in English from California State University, Northridge (1995), and PhD from The Ohio State University in Rhetoric and Composition (2000). Midway through her PhD program, she realized that she would probably be happier in a nonacademic career, and while dissertating, founded a listserv called WRK4US (Work For Us) to create a safe space where humanities PhD students could openly discuss non-academic careers. The community grew under her leadership as she graduated and became a successful grant writer and fundraiser, raising millions of dollars for social justice, the arts and the environment. In 2010 she transformed WRK4US into Versatile PhD. Having sold the business in 2018, Paula is now a mind-body movement facilitator ( and also makes campus visits (