Crucial BBQ

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Crucial BBQ last won the day on October 9 2014

Crucial BBQ had the most liked content!

About Crucial BBQ

  • Rank
    Latte Macchiato
  • Birthday March 10

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Maryland
  • Interests
    Biological oceanography, ecology, reading non-fiction, homebrewing (beer), hiking, cycling, cooking, and drinking way too much coffee.
  • Application Season
    Already Attending
  • Program
    MSc, Bioinformatics.

Recent Profile Visitors

5,559 profile views
  1. Really need advice - resigning from professional job

    I don't know what you mean by "...expected to be in for another four years...", and I have no idea how it's done in academia, but in the other world, and unless you have a contract with the Military (that is, enlisted), things change. Just tell your employer that you had applied to graduate school on a whim and had been accepted. I have been working as an adult longer than I care to admit to around here so believe me when I say that they will understand. Sure, they may be bummed but that's life. If they truly are kind to you and have invested in you then they will surely continue to support you into graduate school. The sooner you mention it the easier it will be for all.
  2. Tax Change Impact - Tuition Waivers Taxed!

    Because of mid-term elections coming up in 2018, Republicans are scrambling to get anything to pass at this point. Personally, I believe this will not make it into the final draft.
  3. Essential Textbooks

    In terms of reference, what textbooks you had had used in undergrad would likely suffice. For me, any book relating to the central dogma of biology works.
  4. Where is the future of PhD students in Biomedical Science

    From my perspective, they are now doing biotech.
  5. popular things you hate

    I dunno. If you're talking about hipsters, sure. Otherwise I believe coffee is too ubiquitous to be considered popular.
  6. Love, Academia and Success

    For what it is worth, I respectively disagree. I know a number of people who had met their life partners in their 30s or later. To be frank, I believe it becomes easier the older you get.
  7. Love, Academia and Success

    Here's some advice from the resident oldie: it sounds like you are active and meeting people who are not only interested in you but you are also interested in them. Then nothing happens, romantically. The only common denominator in your life is you. I don't know you so I don't know how that fits into your situation and your life but sometimes we are our own worst enemies by self-sabotaging even when there is no seemingly rational reason to do so. You wrote: "A friend of mine was telling me the other day that all the work that I do, the activism that I am involved in outside of the classroom and the media attention that I get might make it difficult for a man to approach me because I don't "fit" in." What is standing out to me here is your mention of "...the media attention that I get..." which sounds to me like you are getting a lot of media attention, or aggressive media attention, something like that. This suggests to me that your activism is the driving force here, and as such, is getting all of your attention and energy. Perhaps consequential, or perhaps unknowingly intentional, when you do meet someone your energy is zapped, or your mind is on the next bit of activism. I really don't know. What I do know is that whether a black woman in grad school or a black woman not in grad school, there is someone (honestly, multiple people) who are right for you. A saying; "Do what you always did, get what you always got". In what I had quoted of yours above, "Yet, nobody seems interested in me. Or if it is the case, they are already involved in another relationship." Remove the absolutes and honestly think about this. Do you have the same conclusion? That is your answer.
  8. Tax Change Impact - Tuition Waivers Taxed!

    Your doubt is based understandably in the fear of how it may negatively impact you. As an MS student looking to enter into a PH.D. program in two years, I also have concerns and fears, too. Of course, I do not know as an absolute but as someone who graduated from a high school before some GradCafe members had yet been born, I speak from experience. I am not suggesting that I am smarter, just that I have witnessed how Congress works over a longer period of time is all. The Republican voting base in large part are those Americans who do not value higher education as much as the Democrat voting base does. Congressional Republicans know this and they also know that few, if any, Congressional Democrats would support such a proposal. So its inclusion is a likely bargaining chip more than anything. Congressional Republicans also know that universities will restructure, providing zero gain in tax revenue from this proposed tax. But let's say that it does pass, and goes into effect January 1, 2018. For one, its passage only means that the proposal has been adopted. The actual language and implementation comes at a later point after the adoption and would not be written by Congress. Instead, it will be written by the IRS and likely in conjunction with other agencies such as the Department of Education for example. Once that is complete there is an evaluation process to see if the current implementation is working or if it needs to be amended. This last phase is where the slow rollout comes into play. If you send a jarring message to the system expecting change overnight, you can't expect the system to respond positively overnight, either. An absolute final option exists, too: elimination of the Congressional adoption if it is shown that implementation cannot work.
  9. Tax Change Impact - Tuition Waivers Taxed!

    This current tax overhaul is meant to save the Fed Gov $$$ by not "paying out" money in the form of tax breaks and other incentives and is just another example for why and how monetary systems and economics in general make little sense. For example, a reason to cut the existing ObamaCare tax (penalty) is that it has been estimated that roughly 13M Americans currently on ObamaCare would leave the program since their would no longer be a tax penalty for not having it in the first place. Since the Fed Gov would no longer be subsidizing those 13M, it has been estimated to save the Fed Gov just over $300M. So this change will be made in the hopes of getting people ObamaCare. Of course, this implies that if say, only 2M people leave, it will not have as powerful of an impact towards the deficit, so it's a gamble. Another reason for the majority of changes are based on the fact that just under 30% of Americans itemize their deductions. With that is the reason for other cuts such as the Student Loan Credit, Lifetime Learning Credit, and other current deductions related to higher education. I have been claiming the Student Loan Credit since 2007 and to be frank, it does not effect my return at all. I am just one case, YMMV. The Lifetime Learning Credit has been nice, I must admit, and is one of the reasons why I had even bothered to file two of my returns. My thoughts on the potential taxing of graduate student tuition wavers: my guess is that the hopes for its passage are to have an effect similar to that of ObamaCare. That is, fewer graduate students in Ph.D. Personally, I don't think this will happen but considering that research conducted by universities is heavily paid for by Fed Gov grants, the logic makes sense. But let's assume that it does pass and becomes Legislation. For one, when will it go into effect? With 2018? With 2021? If it does pass through, only a handful of new policies would go into effect for 2018 and those will of the easiest to change. For graduate school programs, a change like this will take time to implement and my guess is that if it does pass it will not go into effect for at least three years but I would not be surprised if universities were given a five-year window. This will programs time to figure out other ways to fund students in a manner that does not impact their quality of life. There is also the possibility for individual States to alter their own tax codes and laws to offset any damage done by this current tax plan. For example, with public universities there may be incentive to offer a State tax deduction/credit to match a new tuition fee waiver tax. I'd be surprised if this does not pass the Senate, although it might go into early 2018 before it does. Honestly, I also wonder if things such as tuition fee waiver taxes and proposed removal of the Student Loan Credit are not in place to entice Dems in the Senate into a bargain.
  10. Are GRE Scores the primary cutoff during PhD application process?

    As mentioned, use of GRE scores by programs is idiosyncratic at best, but one thing you can almost be assured of is that with the more competitive/prestigious programs comes a higher emphasis placed on GRE scores. What I have learned since first applying is that often times it is as though GRE scores are used as the differentiator between two or more candidates when only one spot is available.
  11. Should I even apply?

    My partner is a long-time microbiologist at the NIH. If you saw the Discovery Channel show First in Human, that is her microbiology lab. Because the two of you may be associated with the same lab, that is all I will write about her identification. I will say this: most in her lab, including herself, hate the place. Many have left over the years (typically to the FDA or VA if wanting to stay with the Fed. Gov.), or threaten to do so. The lab is understaffed, and too many Ph.Ds and Post Docs who lack basic lab skills like being able to read a plate. Another issue is that while the lab is in support of the medical side of NIH (it is a hospital, after all), the research in the lab is basic microbiological research yet the lab is run by M.D.s who only know how to do medical research. Suffice to say, this place is not a good example of what to expect from a biology lab.
  12. 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admissions Results

    I was in a similar situation with a PI and had wrote about here at Grad Cafe in the past. Frankly, I thought that my acceptance into this lab/program was all but guaranteed so you can imagine my surprise when I saw the rejection letter. As it had turned out, the PI simply had not seen all of the applications yet and I can only assume that a better application had come across his desk after we had spoke. Not suggesting the same fate for you and I truly hope you have a different outcome, I am only illustrating that these things happen. I am not one to believe that 'everything happens for a reason' but I do believe that there are multiple future events that the future *you* may become a part of. Yeah, I know, no duh, right? I' just saying there are many paths towards the same end-goal, some of which might include time, money, and an MS program. I am familiar with your postings around Grad Cafe; when I read them I often think to myself, 'this is something I may have written back in 2013/2014'. In a way, my responses here are a sort of my future self giving my past self advice. Serendipity is a marvelous thing and I would not be where I am now without having failed hard, many times. Now, I am likely in one of the best positions for me to enter into a Ph.D. program; certainly in a better position now than I was even a year ago. The caveat of course is I must wait another year or two, but so what? I had read something somewhere on the Internet a few years ago; it was a post by a guy who in his forties was concerned that he would be too old by the time he [would] have earned his Ph.D. Another poster responded to him by reminding him that, 'you can be 50 with a Ph.D., or you can be 50 without a Ph.D. Either way, you will still be 50'. As someone who is older than most around here, words to live by for sure. Anyways, you seem to be in a better position than I was before all of this. I imagine you will also have better luck. About UCs: If you want Scripps, would it not be possible to attend UCSD and work in collaboration with Scripps, assuming we are discussing the same Scripps? I also assumed that UCSF would have the BioChem you are looking for and if not then UCB or UCLA. Possibly Irvine, but Irvine might be more on the BioTech side of things.
  13. 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admissions Results

    Your GPA is at the cut-off for most programs, so I wouldn't worry to much about it. What will be more important are the courses in which you earned those lower grades, in particular whether they were math and science courses or not. If so, mention this and the reason in your SOP--but keep it brief. Your QR and VR scores will hurt your chances more than your GPA will. If you have the time (and the money), I strongly suggest retaking the GRE. Your SOP will need to be top-notch, well written. Even if you think that you wrote a killer SOP, you likely did not. That is rude to say, but it's true because you do not know who the PI/program/etc. is looking for. With one program I had applied to my application was deemed 'admissible', yet no PI had picked me to join their labs. With the Physical Oceanography lab I was admitted into, I was admitted by the PI of that lab because I have small boat handling skills/experience/certs which the PI found to be of use to his lab. How was I supposed to know that before applying? I did a phone interview with him before he had seen my application, he didn't mention it. To further illustrate with another example: you are applying to biochem/biophysics programs. Maybe with one or more of the labs you are looking at have enough students who are good at biochem and with the related research. As it stands, the PI of this lab is now looking for someone who is only good enough with the biochem but who possesses strong programming skills; a skill that the other students in the lab do not possess. Maybe this PI is looking to get into informatics? PIs do take their research into a new direction every so often. About LORs; typically, a professor/PI are not going to waste their time by agreeing to write a bad letter. If they feel they cannot recommend you, they simply won't agree to do it. About your selected schools; there is simply no way of knowing where you will get in. With that, Scripps and Harvard are likely long shots for you. I am from California and know a bit about the college systems there. Mainly, because a ridiculously large portion of the State budget is dedicated to higher education, and because that money comes from taxpayers, California heavily favors California. Having graduated from a CSU you stand a good chance of getting into a UC. You are pretty much guaranteed admittance into a CSU if you are willing to do an MS first.
  14. 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admissions Results

    Keep it out of SOP but do include it on your CV. Who ever is looking over your application will make the connection.
  15. MS Bioinformatics/ MS Computational Biology

    I am now in an MS Bioinformatics program at Maryland. I don't know much about the programs on your list because Maryland was the only program I had applied to, but I did take a brief look into others and they only thing I can really say is that the program at JH is really expensive. I also had done a part of my undergrad at Northeastern before transferring out. It's a good school that doesn't get the credit it deserves. What school/program you select should be determined by both your background and your future goals. Of course that can be said about most disciplines, bioinformatics is unique in that it can be under Computer Science, Biology, BioMed, BioTech, and a few others. At Maryland, there is a bioinformatics program within their CS Department, and then a second one within their Biology Department. Also at Maryland is a Health-related Informatics and Bioimaging program and if I recall correctly also an environmental center that does informatics as well. I imagine similar treatment at other universities. What is your background? Biology? CS? If Biology, expect the pre-req/co-req of a course or two in programming (this is me, I had to take one course prior to or within my first semester and I was lucky to find a course that focused on Python and R. I will be taking a second course in programming next semester). If coming from a CS background, expect to take a molecular bio course or two. Then again, I didn't look too much into other programs. Then there are the labs. If you don't know what you want to do yet, that's fine. Keep in mind that bioinformatics is an umbrella; do you want to: predict protein folding? Cancer research? Build phylogenetic trees? I am interested in phylogeny/phyloinformatics and was also lucky enough to find a lab that works with marine species. If you have any other questions, I might be able to help.