According to legend, the story of the career of a biology PhD used to go like this: 1) student joins a lab, 2) student spends 4-8 years doing research and honing specific skills in their chosen field, 3) student gets a tenure-track job at a college/university and becomes a professor after 5 more years or so, 4) with essentially a guaranteed job for life, professor gets to do interesting scientific research and live happily ever after. Somewhere along the way another step was added between steps 2 and 3 (step 2.5: the post-doctoral research position). This story, whether actually the norm or not back in the day, is clearly not the story today. And it's freaking a lot of people out.
Showing posts from February, 2013
By Amber Kiger -
'Tis the season of grad school acceptances and major life choices. Two years ago (!) I was an overly confident undergrad preparing to become a graduate researcher. Late night Googling of "how to prepare for grad school" further assured me I was ready. Have experience in a research lab? Check. Know I may have weird hours? Check. Secured some kind of TA/RA funding? Check. Today, reflecting upon this time of year, I wish someone would have told me about a few aspects of grad school that seem to never be highlighted on those "What to Know about Grad School" websites:
By Sylvia Lee -
My research is on the diatom communities of the Everglades. To study how the communities respond to environmental changes, I have to identify and count each of the diatom species I encounter under the microscope. To do that though, the diatoms have to be stripped clean of any organic material and other 'junk' in the sample. The diatoms go through a harsh bath of acid and heat, until all that is left of them are their empty but beautiful cell walls. This is possible because diatom cell walls are essentially glass.