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Everything posted by samman1994

  1. Fall 2018 Applicants

    Hello everyone, My story is similar to most, I came here as well recently looking for direction towards applying to PhD programs, and to help give myself some hope after a pitiful GRE performance. I recently graduated with a BS in Chemistry and plan to apply to any school who's research sounds interesting in protein Biochemistry (preferably something NMR or computationally related). Was hoping to aim for the top schools (Caltech, Berkley, etc.), but from the general concensus on here, it appears my chances are slim. I'd appreciate anybody with any advice on other schools with good Research programs in Biochemistry aside from the usual (Any UC, Caltech, or Berkley). My knowledge in schools is a little limited outside the west coast. Also would be willing to go outside US (Canada, UK), and even non-english speaking Universities (Japan, Korea, Europe). However my knowledge for that PhD process is even less than the US PhD process. So any help would be appreciated.
  2. Hello Everyone, I have a friend that is applying to Law Schools across the country, and he asked me if I could look over his SOP. I don't know anything about law schools nor what they look for in SOPs however, so I was hoping someone here (in that field) could take a quick look at it and just give some simple feedback on if its good or if there is anything that needs to be changed/modified. It's 2 pages double spaced, so very short. Thank you guys ahead of time!
  3. Hello everyone, I have recently gotten an invitation for an open house at one school, and invited to a recruitment weekend for another. Now the open house is because I was accepted into the program, but the recruitment weekend is sent to everyone who applied, whether they got accepted or not. My question is 3 fold: 1) What is the difference between the 2? Is it the same event with just a different name? For both events it appears I will meeting with faculty and seeing the school, so no real difference there. However, since I have not been accepted to the recruitment weekend school, it does make me think this event will influence my chances of getting accepted (or rejected) if they like me or not. Is that so? Or in other words, they are trying to find out who to "recruit" during their "recruitment weekend". 2) How does one dress for this type of event. My prior PI stated that you no one will really look negatively on you for being too dressed up, but you can be looked negatively upon if you are not dressed up enough. My personal assumption is it is like any casual but professional event, and should be formal casual. Basically a simple collared button up with nice jeans and dress shoes. Now I know each event is different, but I was curious if I could get your opinions on prior experiences during such events, what you saw, and hopefully I can gauge based off that how I should dress and prepare for the occasion. 3) Based off of question 2, how does on prepare for this type of event? Now I assume the givens, find out the research of your faculty members and do some research on them and the school/program itself (although I had already done all this prior to applying to the school anyways). Is there anything outside the usual stuff I should look into? I had emailed my POIs prior, and at both of these schools, they had both helped me through the application process and I did discuss their research via email with them as well. Should I also email them and tell them I'm coming to the school this and that date? If this does influence my admissions process (whether I get in or not), then I want to be able to put my best foot forward and be as prepared as possible. So I'm trying to get as much information about this event as possible. In general, any experiences you've had would also be greatly appreciated. I've never been to something like this, and all my friends are in the same boat I am, so none of us really know what to expect. Thank you as always!
  4. I don't know why you think I'm undermining history or implying it can't be complex, simply that you can have simple conversations around history but not about sciences. The fact of the matter is, a lot more people know basic history (or at least i'd hope), then basic chemistry, math, or physics. I have seen and read several posts regarding history and religion that were about simple basic concepts that anyone could discuss (so not all of them are regarding majoring in some specific historical timeline/place). Fact of the matter is, I could discuss the civil war with a historian. Will it be in detail regarding the specific battles or generals? No, but I can discuss simple history regarding why the civil war may have been fought, or the philosophy of each side. I'd find (and hope to find) many that could also discuss these same topics without majoring in history. However, I'd find it difficult indeed to discuss even the simplest topics of Chemistry and Physics. Personally, I attribute this to the basic education system in America (i should've mentioned all of this that I'm discussing is regarding America). You are required throughout K-12 to take a variety of history classes almost every other year, however you don't cover Chemistry until your junior year, and most people never even take physics. Note that the main difference I am implying in these topics is their ability to be simplified. I find a topic such as History, a topic that can be very very specific and complex, but can also be made very simple and base. I do not see that happening as much to say something like Chemistry. People have the general knowledge of History (at least again, I hope), there was a civil war south slaves north free, world war 1, world war 2, nazis bad, etc. (these are all things that can at the very least serve as a basis for a discussion) However I'd argue most people don't even have the simplest knowledge of Chemistry. What is Chemistry? About... Chemicals? Whats an acid, whats a base, what even is hydrogen or helium? Personally, I cannot speak the same about Physics and engineering (especially electrical), or even computer science (since I am not in these fields), but I can imagine they are all the same.
  5. Rejection email?

    If I may just piggyback off this topic, when is the deadline then for schools to send you a rejection letter? Or better yet, if they don't even send them sometimes at all, when is the deadline for an acceptance letter? How long should one wait to hear back from a school if they haven't received any of the above methods of rejection?
  6. Well I'd say the biggest reason is there are probably more people in those fields than the natural sciences. In my undergrad, all of Chemistry, Biochemistry, physics, math, computer science, and yes even biology and engineering, was still dwarfed in comparison to psychology graduates. Combined, even all of the fields above including psychology, were still dwarfed in comparison to the social sciences. Now these are undergrad numbers, but as juillet stated prior, the numbers for grad school regarding stem fields and social sciences is reversed. However, I'd argue that the people here don't represent the number of people that are graduating with those degrees, but those that are simply interested in pursuing those degrees. Based off of undergrad stats, one could say there are simply a larger number of social science majors, or people interested in social sciences, but based on grad schools stats one could argue more stem field majors successfully get their degrees or successfully pursue their degree compared to social sciences. That still means this site would have a larger number of social science people (or people interested in the subject), and based off juilets stats, that just means they may be less successful at pursuing it (Note: I am not stating why they are less successful, just indicating one way to interpert the stats). One final factor, that I think is as equally important, is the discussion of these topics. I have seen a variety of discussions on these forums regarding religious, historical, or even ethic/moral topics. In contrast, there aren't many discussions on here regarding the topic of natural sciences. The fact of the matter is it's just far easier to have a simple discussion between historians on this forum board regarding some type of simple historical topic, but far more difficult to discuss why Einsteins physics is superior to say Newtonian physics or something similar. Whereas a simple grad school question can go on for maybe 3 or 4 posts, a discussion regarding a certain topic can go on for pages and pages of posts.
  7. Hello everyone, So I recently got accepted into the Chem Department at Iowa State University. I got an open house invitation, and they asked me what faculty members I would like to meet during this open house. Now my real desire was to join the BBMB program, because 2 out of the 3 faculty members I'd like to work with are in that department, but one of the faculty members informed me I should apply to both to increase my chances. So I did. I have not received any response from the BBMB department, but have received an acceptance from the Chem department. When I included the faculty members name that I'd like to meet, the school informed me that I cannot meet them because they are not in the Chem department, and are in the BBMB department. They told me I need to choose from people in the Chem department. Now from the people in the Chem department, I only want to meet one person (the same faculty member who advised me to apply to Chem and who's lab I'd like to join). The problem is, I'm afraid if I do accept this invitation, I can only join this one persons lab. I initially applied to this school because there were multiple faculty members I would like to work with (in case this one individual didn't work out). However, now I'm concerned I won't be able to work with them since they're in a different department. My fear is, I decide to go to this school to join this guys lab in the Chemistry Dept., but something goes wrong (grant issues, room problems, or guy falls very ill or something), and I can't join that lab. Now I am stuck in a department with faculty members that I have no desire to work with, and the faculty members that I do want to work with (those in the BBMB department), I won't be able to. But I could be wrong, and that's why I'm here. Is it possible to get accepted via one department (e.g. say Chemistry), but join a lab in another department (e.g. say BBMB). I.E. if this guys lab doesn't work out for whatever reason, could I join someone else in the other department or would I have to reapply to that department? Edit: Also would it be bad to inform the school I have no desire to meet anyone else on open house outside of that one faculty member (at least for people in that department)? I have not replied to their email yet telling me to pick other people to meet, since I didn't want to look bad by saying, there is no one else I want to meet.
  8. Yeah, that's why I was asking. In the off-chance that I had no other option (this was the only school that I got accepted to), I wanted to see whether or not it would be a good or bad idea to still not only go to the open house, but to potentially accept their offer. I've seen other people's research, and there are some that I would be interested in discussing, but only one I'd really like to join and do a dissertation under (at least in this department). I guess at the end of the day it'll really depend on if this is my only option, or if another school accepts me. Thank you all for your feedback!
  9. Help with a sticky situation

    Hello everyone, So I've come across a... sticky situation that I don't quite know how to handle and was hoping for some feedback and help. Backstory: So approximately 2 months ago, I got a job at a small pharma/Biotech company. In the interview, I told them I was looking for something long term and was not applying to any PhD programs for the following year (no one would hire me otherwise if I told them I was planning on leaving within the year). In the meantime, I was actually applying to various PhD programs for the fall of next year (2018). In my eyes, if I got into a PhD program, great then I'm good to go and will leave my job for it (yes burning a bridge, but a bridge worth burning in my opinion for following my dream of getting my PhD). If not, no harm no foul, no one knows and I"ll have a safe job I can fall back on and reapply next year. This was my original plan. The problem: In the company, we have 4 different groups working on different projects. In my group, there is only me and one other Research Associate (outside my boss). So far things have been great, they've already told me they want to keep me after my 90 days, and they've told me they like my work so much they want me to be directly involved in all their meetings regarding the clients drugs I am working on. I was also just informed my boss likes my work so much, he wants to promote me to a Research Scientist instead of Research Associate by summer of next year. So whats the problem? A guilty conscience. I just found out a week ago my co-worker was leaving summer of next year. Following my original plan, I am leaving summer of next year for my PhD program as well (looking to leave early June). I have a great relationship with my boss, and we discuss all our projects, plans, gossip, etc. He was informing me that following my co-worker leaving me, he wants to take me on as his partner (i.e. this follows the RS promotion I discussed earlier) so that we can start to grow our group together and train all the new people we'd be hiring then. At this point, he's planning everything around the idea of me staying. If I don't tell him anything and leave in early June, then both me and my co-worker will be leaving at once, leaving him alone with no one to work with (until they hire some new people). And....I feel really bad about doing this. I really like the guy, and I don't want to throw him under like that, and he seems like a really trustworthy person. The problem is, I don't want to tell him I'm planning on leaving next summer, but this would mean 1) I lied during my interview and 2) I'm still in my 3-month and don't want them to fire me over this (or rather tell me at my 3-month point they don't want me anymore). My idea is: After my 3-month, I confide in my boss (and my boss only) that I am planning on leaving early June for my PhD program. This way I don't get fired, and he also knows 6 months in advance and can plan accordingly for the departure of both me and my co-worker. However, I also am afraid this may ruin the great relationship we have now (he might get upset and pissed off and they may not be able to fire me, but he could still make my life a living hell, especially if he doesn't keep it secret and everyone finds out I lied). So I don't exactly know what to do. On one hand, I could stay quiet, do my job, and leave for my program when the time comes and screw my boss over. But I'd feel really bad for him (and don't like lying to his face everyday when he tells me all the plans he has for me), and I already feel bad and this scenario is months away. On the other hand, I could inform him, and hopefully everything goes fine and dandy, he's cool with it and understands why I did what I had to do, and can plan accordingly for the future. No bridges burned, no one got screwed over, everyones happy. Orrrr it could the complete opposite and I tell him and then I get screwed over hard, everyone finds out, and my boss holds a grudge against me and fucks with me till I leave. So..... any ideas? Should I tell him after my 3-month? Should I not tell and say who cares? Thank you ahead of time! NOTE: One final thing to state is, I have already received an acceptance letter from one school. So I already am for sure going for my PhD program. My 3-month is in February, so by that time I should hear back from the other schools and have a pretty good idea of where I am going. So I will be quitting my job regardless, the question is only a matter of whether I should include my boss in my plans or not.
  10. It has nothing to do with self-centered at all. It has everything to do with my original concern of being unable to join labs in another department. I have no problem in meeting and discussing other peoples research in the chemistry department with them, I just have no desire to join their labs and do my dissertation with them. This meeting, for me at least, seemed like a great opportunity to meet the people who's labs I'd like to join, but most of the people I want to meet are in a different department. In hindsight, this is my fault for not thinking ahead of this situation, and just taking my POIs advice and applying to a department that only had 1 person I was interested in joining (in start contrast to BBMB which has 3-4 different professors I'd like to potentially work under).
  11. Help with a sticky situation

    This is the exact same boat I was in. No one did want to hire me for only a few months, and with no prior experience, the contract jobs didn't want to waste time training me either. It is as I stated, a sticky situation. In reality, you will end up screwing the company, and that is something you will have to consider, and something I did. As stated prior, my main issue is guilt. I knew full well when I applied I lied to them, and full well that I was planning on leaving. I was just wondering whether I should come clean or not (so as to prepare them for my leave). As the you can see from this thread, the general consensus was not to leave at all, and do whatever I can to defer. However, if you aren't going to leave it on your resume, then I guess it doesn't really matter. For me, since this will be my only industry experience before grad school, it will be a very important part of my resume after grad school (i.e. it would be veeery beneficial to me to keep it).
  12. Help with a sticky situation

    I have considered that option. I am still awaiting to see which school accepts me before I make that decision. From my understanding, you can get accepted into a program, and defer for a year without having to apply again (you basically are in, you just don't start until the next year). My only concern would be the school not accepting it (I don't have an amazing application, so I'm not that special to wait for), and that would make me look bad to the school.
  13. That one is on me. I didn't really think the move out completely, the way I saw it, sure I can just apply to both and hopefully get into both. The problem for me isn't advisors, but rather joining another lab if this doesn't work out. I didn't think about that part until I got the response from the school saying I couldn't meet those professors during the open house. So simply put, I applied to it because I'd rather have a program than no program, and didn't think out the details completely.
  14. Help with a sticky situation

    Yes lying is generally frowned upon in all fields, especially science. If you can't trust the scientist, you can't trust anything they produce or do, hence making them useless. Again, I don't say lying is good or should be done, but it was something I had to do to get some money and get a job. The company won't be hurt from one employee nor my lie, if anything the only person here who will really suffer will be my own boss (which is the person I am feeling bad about in the first place).
  15. Well the problem is, I've looked at everyone in the Chem department, and didn't find anything I even remotely wanted to do. Frankly, I don't even know why my POI is in the Chem department (he's theoretically in both Chem and BBMB). Of course I can still go there and look at the school, talk to my POI, etc. But if I can't join the other labs, I am not willing to go to that school (at least via the Chem program) for just one lab. Also, thank you! In other news, that being the case, do you think it would be unwise to contact my POI and let him know of the situation? He was the one who informed me to apply to the Chem program, and he said to do so because he could get me in through that program (even though he knew the other POIs I'd like to work with as well). So I feel like he had a direct impact on my admission process. I was initially thinking of contacting him and letting him know of the situation and the problem I was having.
  16. Help with a sticky situation

    In regards to lying, it came across to a point where I had to. No one wanted to hire me given my timeline (leaving for PhD program next year), and I needed the money. Yes, I disliked lying, and still don't like it, but I needed the money and the job, but also was planning on pursuing my PhD. In regards to whether or not I should pursue my PhD despite having something good going for me now. Throughout my job search, every job I found that I wanted to liked required a PhD. Yes I may have something great now, but if this job doesn't work out, or if I leave for more pay, then I'm screwed. I can get another job easy enough, but the pay will be low, and I'll go back down to an associate or at best a research scientist. With a PhD, I will have a lot more doors open for me, both regarding higher pay, and easier to get a job (especially those that I like). Also, even though I'm being promoted, since this is a small company, I won't be able to get any further than the promotion really. Theoretically, with that promotion, I've already hit the glass ceiling for this company. Yes I could leave for another company, but you'd have the issues I stated above. Finally, yes I do want to be in industry long term.
  17. Emailing to Let POI Know You Submitted?

    What I did was email my POI telling them I sent the application and thanking for them for all the help they gave me in the process. Simple and quick to the point. However, if it's been weeks since you applied (if you applied the 14th of November), it might come across as you trying to basically get them to look at your application. I'd also advise if it's been that long (unless its the 14th of this month, in which case contacting them to inform them and thank them shouldn't be a problem).
  18. The sub-3.0 GPAs ACCEPTANCE thread

    Thanks! I initially applied to BBMB, but I was advised by someone in the department there to apply to the Chemistry Program as well. No response from BBMB, but I did get a response from the Chemistry Program.
  19. How to edit your profile

    Thank you!
  20. Hello everyone, I've seen a few profiles here that have at the bottom of their posts (and profiles) text saying where they're applying to, and whether they got accepted or rejected. I.E. Applying to: X, Y and Z Accepted: ?/3 Rejected: ?/3 Etc. I was trying to see how to modify mine to make it look similar, but I didn't know how nor could find a way to do so. I apologize if this question is a duplicate, and if so, could you please direct me to the appropriate thread for it? Thank you as always!
  21. The sub-3.0 GPAs ACCEPTANCE thread

    So wouldn't say sup-3.0 gpa, I had exactly a 3.00 gpa, but I feel like that still semi-applies. GRE scores 155/156/ 3.5 Q/V/AW, so not all the amazing. No pubs, one lab with 3 years of experience. Just got my first acceptance letter for a PhD program from Iowa State University. So totally doable, good luck guys!
  22. Any trans PhD students?

    I'm afraid I can't speak for other schools outside socal schools (southern California). However, from my understanding and what I've seen, they are very respectful, tolerant, and most of all understanding of it all. I even had certain clubs where they asked very early on which pronouns you would be comfortable with being addressed by (or something like that). We also had a very strong LGBQ community and atmosphere at my university (as well as other socal schools). So if you were randomly to ask to be asked a different name or be addressed with a different pronoun, no one would look at you weird or even question it. Secondly, from my experience with grad programs outside of my local area, I'd like to say that they are all very professional and understanding and will understand where you are coming from and be completely okay with it. That being said, sadly, I have seen a lot of sexism and immaturity on that level (higher education) regarding the matter. I have seen professors personally target women unfairly either as grad students or even post docs, ranging from simply just being rude to them, to taking their name from first author to 6th or 7th (I've even heard of one scenario where the PI tried to prevent the person from finishing their dissertation, and from what I was told, it was because of their gender). However, most of what I've seen and heard, is about professors, and the students themselves seem pretty understanding, tolerant, and aware of the topic. I am not in your shoes, nor in your situation. However, if I may just throw my 2 cents out there, I'd advise coming out sooner than later. Yes it may come as a shock to those close to you and may even cause some complications early on, but overtime people will become used to your new identity, and it won't even be a "new" identity, it will be "your" identity. Just as an example, I had a friend back in high school that was a female. She had a girlfriend at the time, and we all just thought she was lesbian. She came out 2 years later stating she wanted to be a man, and was unhappy with her current gender. This started from a declaration, to getting her hair cut short, to getting a name change (e.g. think samantha to sam, something simple like that), to testostrone treatment, to eventually even surgery (I don't know the details, but something about physically altering your genitals). So in all ways, literally a man (voice, thought, behavior, look, etc.). I will say this, early on, it was really hard for me to adjust with the change, and I don't mean accepting her as a man, but looking at her as one. What I mean is, it was hard to initially refer to her as him in third person (e.g. did you invite X, yes I invited her oh I mean him), or calling her by her male name instead of her old female one. I wasn't alone in this either, I know a lot of her close friends also had this problem, but none of us didn't want to be her friend, we just had problems with the initial mental adjustment. Overtime though (say give or take a year or so), it became second nature. While typing this, I initially typed everything "his" and had to change it to "her" because in my mind, she is a man. Her old personality and character no longer exists in my mind or others that had known her before. Most in fact have already forgotten her old name or how she even looked back in high school (she took down all the old pictures of her). The last time I spoke to him about his transition, he was very happy with his change and loved his new life. Although, at the time I asked him, it wasn't even his "new" life anymore, it was his "current" life now. Now I know your situation is different since it regards your current academic and future career, And this isn't just a bunch of friends, but your entire academic community, so it raises the stakes quite a bit. Despite what I said prior, I do believe in my heart that most people in academia are intelligent, mature, and understanding and will bear no ill regarding your transition. I do wish you the best of luck, and I hope I was able to help.
  23. The Positivity Thread

    Just got an acceptance letter from one of my PhD schools, and an invitation for an all expenses paid visit out to them!
  24. Hello everyone, I've been looking for work lately, and have found the work place quite competitive (still jobless after a month). I've turned to recruitment companies for biotech/pharma and it appears most of them do contract jobs. The general concensus I've been able to obtain from others though is negative, and they've told me recruitment companies should be a last resort. I'm curious what you guys think? And if recruitment companies aren't "so great" why so? So far, they've been able to connect me with 2 interviews the last week alone, so it seems like they're really good. It also appears more and more pharma companies are basically using these recruitment companies to hire employees instead of direct hire, which makes it even more important to use said recruitment companies.