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threading_the_neidl

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Everything posted by threading_the_neidl

  1. First, know that a general top school in "biosciences" doesn't mean it's a top school in any given research interest. If someone's really into molecular virology or computational cell dynamics, Yale may not actually be a top school or good choice for fit. Second... Ugh. Yale. I'm sure that there are perfectly lovely and happy people there, and I've collaborated with a couple great labs, one of my classmates worked there for many years, and New Haven is not THE WORST city in the world. But I went on an informal visit to see if it would be worth my time even applying, and the old men who were in charge of the department and would be my advisors for many years said some things that really didn't sit right with me. I felt extremely uncomfortable and even though the students were extremely nice, I knew I couldn't be happy in an environment where I felt so bad after just a couple hours. As I've shared my own anecdotal experience with others in person, I often hear other women tell me their experience was similar, so I don't think this was a one time thing. It might be that there's enough of an underground reputation there that prospective students who don't want to deal with that BS don't even apply.
  2. The reason I wrote was because I, and everyone else in Boston, have been walking through ~1-2ft of snow all week. On Monday, I was in shin high snow on the "cleared" path to my major research hospital. The accumulation was so rapid and intense that ~50% of our trains are out of service due to weather related damage. There are very few occasions where one truly needs snow boots, but the last week in Boston has provided one. :'(
  3. For anyone coming to Boston in the next week or so, I strongly (STRONGLY) recommend you bring a pair of boots with you. Most research schools here will require you to take 5-10 minute walks between buildings for tours and interviews, and the snow situation here is kind of out of control, with more to come Thursday. The sidewalks aren't guaranteed to be well plowed because we've frankly run out of places to pile the snow. If you're spending any time touring the city, you'll be miserable in anything but waterproof, lined snow boots. Everyone looks like an idiot this week, and no one will judge you poorly for your practical footwear. Have fun!...
  4. If the school bought your plane ticket for you, there's a good chance it's a fully refundable one. That's what many programs do as this is a common issue. If you bought the ticket for later reimbursement, you may want to just go ahead and eat the cost to interview at the programs you're most interested in. A few hundred bucks is not fun to lose, but this decision will pretty much control your life for the next five years.
  5. UW has very strong biomedical science programs and a strong research reputation all around, I don't think it'd be risky at all to end up in this one.
  6. I enjoy the show, not a super fan, but I LOVE Festivus. Our department even has our own Festivus Pole. I'm pretty sure every faculty meeting is an Airing of Grievances, but what I'd really like to see is our chair and program advisor compete in the Feats of Strength.
  7. I've had a perfect fine poster printed for as little as $11. Where there's a will, there's a way.
  8. Festivus, I don't agree with you, but I really love that username. Just sayin'.
  9. It's been awhile since I applied, so I can't remember my own experience, but did you have other schools which didn't officially inform you of a rejection until ~April 15? I'm going to chat with the program advisor about it, because they're clearly mucking something up. If the fix is as easy as an earlier round of email updates, hopefully they'll be happy to do it.
  10. To the people who applied to BU PIBS and felt there was poor communication, did you guys ever get any feedback forms or explicit chance to let them know you were unhappy about the process? The umbrella program is new, and even though I have my reservations about umbrellas in general, I don't want it to fail or offend potential students like it did this cycle. I'm happy to go chat with a few people and let them know specific experiences, how it was different/worse than from other schools, etc. I'm sure they would be very interested in improving the situation in the future. If you haven't already let them know about the issue, let me know so I can do something about it.
  11. That sounds disconcertingly like my life...
  12. This is clearly more than just normal shyness or imposter syndrome. I'd highly recommend trying out therapists in your area who can work with you on handling this. Many grad programs cover at least some psych stuff, so take a look at your health care plan and get a session scheduled asap. At a guess, this will take a long time, and you'll be done with the class by then, so I'd work on speaking up anytime you can, maybe when different or tangential topics are being discussed, to show that you're actively engaged. Talking to a professor can be a crapshoot, and sometimes even faculty that I really like and admire won't find it unethical to tell everyone else something that is told to them in confidence. It's up to you if you want to speak with them, but I'd personally err on the side of caution with them. The other thing that might help out is Toastmasters. Again, this is more of a point issue for speaking with you, but perhaps you'll find that practicing speaking in general will help. The first meeting you attend is free, so you can check it out and decide if it's useful with no obligation. Good luck!
  13. There are only a few times in our lives when we have the freedom to take extended trips without any other obligations. In a magical dream world, I'd like to have a postdoc start date set up for 1-2 months after graduation, then fly off for an extended trip somewhere in Asia. Or Paris. Or California. I'm not picky.
  14. I agree with biotechie. CRISPR's going to be huge, read up on it now, it's already showing up everywhere. All I know about iPS right now is the paper with almost certainly faked data that may or may not be retracted soon, showing that putting acid on cells will reprogram them to an iPS state. You could read that one and all the hilarious online follow ups for funsies.
  15. You should know that the rental cycle in Boston for September 1-ish has already started. If you live within a $200 plane ticket, I strongly recommend coming asap for 3-4 days with a checkbook and locking down an apartment. It's an insane market, to say the least.
  16. One of my current labmates had a particularly rough rotation where the PI told her he didn't think she would graduate, wasn't fit for a PhD, etc. She vented, we all supported her and now she's doing really great work in our lab. The other PI is polite to her now, but I think he must have realized how inappropriate it was and that he could have gotten in some hot water had she mentioned it to certain other faculty. It happens, sometimes people are incredibly closed minded and rude. Let it go and take the path you want.
  17. Funding funding funding. Your entire life can be shaped by your debt, unfortunately. You're making a smart choice.
  18. I think this kind of thing stinks of a program trying to pressure excellent candidates into their (maybe not top notch) program. A February 28th deadline sounds like it was intended for a current student, not an incoming candidate, especially when it's only for a single year. I'm sure there are any number of perfectly reasonable and non-insidious explanations for this, but I don't like the smell of it. OP, you are under no obligation to attend this program, and depending on how big your field is and how prominent the faculty there, it may very well never affect you again. Probably only a few faculty at OSU even know about it in the first place, and even if others are informed at a faculty meeting later (not likely), what are the chances they'd remember a random name they heard 5 years ago? It's a one year fellowship, which should be peanuts, or at least cashews, for them. Don't commit yourself to 5+ years at a place you're not happy with because of this weird institutional game.
  19. Talk to your ombuds asap, but also start getting everything ready to go in your life. Try to line up a new position and get a letter of rec from your advisor before anything happens. You are not obligated to tell anyone immediately, as you really are the most vulnerable (and innocent!) party. Get everything worked out for you, then start the process of officially reporting the misconduct with your ombuds. The best thing you can do other than that is make your own copies of all relevant lab notebooks and data. Keep them in a safe place out of the lab for the time being, and when you report everything, give them to your department chair or whoever you trust. When you do leave, let everything go. Do not feel guilty and refuse to take any blame whether or not they are found to have lied. Do you have a feeling that higher ups in your program may be at odds or are already distrustful of your advisor? If so, it may be that they will actually be 100% on your side when their suspicions are confirmed. Scientific misconduct doesn't usually come out of nowhere, and I'm willing to bet that other faculty have noticed "off" interpretations or data with this person before.
  20. If you are speaking to an ombuds, they will let you know if they are a lawyer and if the conversation will be held in confidentiality. That means even if fraud or something illegal has occurred, they are ethically and institutionally bound by their professional accreditation to hold that confidence. Now, if you're talking to a program advisor or chair and they say it's "confidential," then you may want to be more careful as they are not bound in the same way.
  21. This dude's a bitter jerk. If he wanted you to treat him as a professional, you should probably just go ahead and fire him for turning in his work late. I don't know of many jobs where the boss doesn't mind if you miss a big deadline and then let their employee berate them for not being nicer. Don't respond and, more importantly, don't let this get to you. It almost certainly is NOT the general opinion and I highly doubt that someone with such a winning personality is really hanging out often with his peers.
  22. As a professor and your PI, I'm confused why she isn't sitting happily with senior authorship. Three years is about the time when I would cut off a postdoc, publication or not, and it sounds like a seriously dysfunctional environment, anyway. Maybe it's best now to cut your losses. Start looking for another position. Don't make a big deal out of it. Post-docs are regularly 2-3 years, so there shouldn't be anything negative about this.
  23. UW is extremely well respected worldwide in biomedical sciences. It's a top 10 world university in many respects. That said, prestige is realistically one of the least useful criteria for determining which school is the best fit for YOU. It sounds like the two body problem is actually going to have to drive your decision at this point. I'd definitely go to UW with her, but another viable option would be heading to Harvard where she could apply to the plethora of excellent programs in the area next year. That's not a sure thing, of course, and she'll need to scout things out ahead of time to make sure that there are multiple viable options for her there, and that she'd have a solid chance of getting in.
  24. That shouldn't be so bad, actually. By presenting your work thus far to the faculty and your respective mentors, the similarity in projects will be noticed and there's no way someone can bluff through their competitor being well ahead of them without looking desperate. You've totally got this! Kill 'em with data!
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