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aberrant

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Everything posted by aberrant

  1. Kinda late to chime in -- hopefully this post will find it helpful to some. I'm 2.5 years into my postdoc (in life science or medical science or whatever you find molecular and cell biology relevant), including a lab switch after my 1st year (and remain in the same institution). I'd say that there's little to no reason to continue to do a postdoc in an environment that you dislike. You are a PhD degree holder, an adult. I expected that all these experience that you have had are good reasons to make you feel what you stated. So, I would argue that unless you have a strong desire to stay in academia (i.e. be a TT assistant prof), there's no reason to continue in your current lab. Now, whether there are merits to do a postdoc or not -- it highly depends on what's your non-academic career goal(s). Being in one of the biggest biotech industries in the States AND went through a job search prior to my current appointment -- there are definitely positions that don't need postdoc experience. Unless you are looking at the biggest possible companies such as Genentech, publication is not a necessity neither. What you do want (aside from connections) - are the skills that you need for a particular type of positions. Even within "Scientist" title, different companies obviously looking for different skill sets, but they can generally be categorized into 3 groups, based on my observation (in my field) and experience (and I'm only talking about wet lab-based techniques). Don't worry, sometimes you will be asked to explain how a particular technique/experiment work, sometimes, in your job talk, you are expected to briefly talked about how you use certain/several skill sets that required for the position that you applied for. In other words, having a publication helps, but it doesn't necessarily mean you'll have a strong CV per se. You can definitely get a job with just 1 year postdoc experience and no publications, so don't let how your CV looks (without a paper) bogged down. If you intend to go into private sector of the same field (i.e. life science / biotech / biopharma / pharma as opposed to pure tech), you do want to have a talk with your PI regarding your reference (again, after postdoc, unless you are staying in academia, your reference will just be a phone call [more likely] or a e-mail [less likely]). And, if necessary, consider having a second person (i.e. a different PI) as a referee that may address your relationship with your current PI, and about your job search. As for job talk, I got my offers by only talking about my work in grad school and nothing about my postdoc (although I prepared for it). Finally, you really need to think about what positions do you want to go for after this postdoc, because if it won't be in the same field (e.g. tech as programmer/engineer), then none of these things matters and what you should really do is to build your portfolio / get your bootcamp certificate / and network with those who can give you a referral. HTH.
  2. I would add a reason why you want to do a postdoc -- to learn a particular knowledge/skill set/technology(ies) that you 1. expected to excelled at after your post-doc career, and/or 2. cannot learn after your post-doc career. I chose to do a second postdoc elsewhere -- to learn a particular skill set that I have been wanting to learn, and couldn't learn in my 1st postdoc (too many complicated reasons involved). Though I still have this goal to pursue a TT position, I'm also OK to go into industry (in fact, I applied to industry positions while I was searching for my 2nd postdoc and received a few offers). There's also industry postdoc for those who want to consider TT position while making some greens and gaining industry experience. Besides, that network that you can build through industry postdoc would be extremely valuable for non-academic career and prepare your profile for industry jobs.
  3. I think for most people they use US News (https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools) and determine ranking(s) in their specific field/program. PhD (http://www.phds.org) also has their own system for evaluation. Your list seems to have a good mix (if ranking really matters to you), so I think that's a good start (especially if money isn't an issue to you).
  4. imho -- absolutely not. it comes down to a few things in no particular order: 1. your PI's connection/network (which is why you should also consider PI who is big in the field but not necessarily in a top program), 2. your connection/network (consider making an effort to network with any future PIs that you may want to work with through conferences, for instance), 3. your skill sets (has to do with the 'fit' of the lab -- either the lab always need people with your skill, or the lab is looking to expand its research through your skills), 4. your own funding/POI's funding source (i.e. if you have a fellowship, or if the POI has funding to hire a new postdoc), 5. your interest into the lab work/theme/methodology (you will have a chance to explain in your cover letter, and during the interview), 6. your productivity as a grad student/track record (there is always a 'minimum requirement' -- at least 1 first author publication in grad school), and 7. your letter of references (you will need at least 3 including your PI, but you should have more than 3 people in case someone was unable to deliver for whatever reasons). Hope it helps.
  5. I'm even more surprised that you have no mentioned of Florida State University (FSU), where they basically home to the mag lab, or NHMFL (National High Magnetic Field Laboratory) -- if NMR is what you are going after.
  6. There are a few things that you have to considered: 1. how old are those faculties? faculty search process changes over time. it should be worth noting that how departments used to hire a professor back in the 70s or 80s would be way different than the current time. 2. who did they do their postdoc with? do they all worked with someone big name, or some of them worked with someone new/"small"? the perception of "school means everything" could be valid if there are cases where a Ph.D. student graduated from a top tier program, did a postdoc in a less well-known PI, and still managed to become a professor at a research-based university. 3. where did they do their postdoc at? similar to #2, except replace reputation of PI to reputation of a school. 4. how accomplished were they during postdoc? can they be unproductive and still managed to get a position, just because they were graduated with a Ph.D. from a top tier program? Without doing extensive research, I would expect that most faculty members at a research-based university did their postdoc with someone famous (recognized by people both inside and outside of the field), well-funded (recognized by people in the field), or a supernova/new "star" in a new field, who typically at a well-funded school (not necessarily top 10), and, most importantly, extremely productive during their postdoc. It can be multiple papers, or a few big papers (the cliche 3 -- Nature, Science, Cell-kind of journals). If my expectation was correct, then, how do their achievement related to where they got their Ph.D. from? It may have some sort of correlation, but it isn't a strong one in my opinion. Because no matter where you are from, you still have to deliver -- demonstrate what you can accomplished as an individual, not as a student from a particular school. And you can most certainly work as a postdoc in a huge PI's lab without getting your Ph.D. from a top 10 program (including myself, and countless people that I know). So it really comes down to your luck, to a certain degree.
  7. OP, I was in the almost-exactly-the-same situation, except, I was a postdoc and then there was the 1st year student. At some point, during your Ph.D. (especially if you are in STEM with wet lab stuff), you are going to learned and realized that your priority is to complete a certain task (i.e. an experiment) before the day ends. That priority will be placed above you taking the initiative and teaching a new member/rotation student in the lab to do something that you do routinely. Having said that, I used to wait until a new member of the lab to show up, and then show them what experiment(s) I'm doing now/next -- not anymore. Because I realized 2 things: 1) it is to my own interest to complete my task ASAP, and there is absolutely no reason to hinder my own experiment/schedule for someone who isn't part of the project (unless I was instructed by my PI that this someone has to learn this experiment ASAP), and 2) I am not the parent of this new member -- I have no obligation to tell this student that "hey, I'm gonna do this now" for every experiment that I do, all day, 7 days a week. That being said, my expectation (and my PI agrees) is the new student need to be proactive -- taking the initiative to shadow / learn from anyone in the lab (not just me). Others maybe busy, but scientists typically are happy to talk about their research/work, or demonstrate what they are doing to someone who is genuine interested, and seemingly passionate about their work. The student that was in the lab was quiet and all. In the first week, I showed this student what (most of the) experiments I do, and the student get their hands on. After the first week or so, I started conducting the experiments at my own pace and schedule. I was expecting that the student would either follow up with the things that we did, or ask and/or shadow what I (or anyone in the lab) were doing. Instead of showing interest to learn what everyone was doing, this student sat and their desk quietly the whole time, for the whole week. They came in, sit at the desk, and left however many hours later. From the my perspective, this student isn't interested in what we are doing, to say the least. Granted that this student claimed they were interested in our work, but had absolutely no experience on any experiments that we do regularly. In contrast, high school students and undergrads who I worked with were all passionate about everything that we did, and they typically stick around the lab long enough to have their own projects and go from there.
  8. college fees are fees not related to your classes (i.e. tuition) but everything else, essentially. Those fees can cover, for example, access to gym/swimming pool/recreational facilities, school shuttle buses, school varsity teams' events, etc. Typically most people hate that kind of fees but they are not a deal breaker for whether one attending that particular program (or not).
  9. A Ph.D. is a Ph.D. What's the difference between a Ph.D. from a Ivy League and a Ph.D. from, I don't know, last "ranked" at a R-1 school? There is none. What make the difference are what 1) you have accomplished, 2) what you have mastered, and what you are good at. It may also make a difference if you have a stronger letter of reference when you are going to postdoc and, ultimately, a TT position in academia. Honestly, though, your postdoc accomplishment matters more than your Ph.D. training, unless you are applying those Ph.D. to PI programs that some schools offered. As for getting a industry position, your connections matter more than anything else. While one can argue that top programs have more networking opportunities, I would counter-argue that it is solely based on how much of an effort do you put yourself out there for potential employer to hire. LinkedIn is a good start.
  10. Not sure why nobody is replying to your thread, OP. But if you are a international student, then I personally think that your profile is subpar for "top 20-30" programs. You may have a shot for the so-called "31-50", but I would focus more on your personal statement and emphasize what you are good at. You probably want to consider something that is outside of the "top 50" but really good at "organometallic catalysis and new synthetic methodologies" -- there can be big names in those fields who happened to not be in the "top 30" or even "top 50" programs.
  11. While admission percentage may give you some indication on how likely would a program accepts international student, your best choice should still be based on the number of faculties whose research interest you the most. General rule of thumb is to apply to a program where they have at least 3 labs that do research interest you, regardless of the "tier". Obviously, top tier programs are most competitive when it comes to admission. You can ask your LOR / PI to evaluate whether they think you are competitive for those programs, but keep in mind that your "fitness" to a particular program plays a huge role for admission committee. ps. And even though Harvard BBS currently have 254+84 students, you have to look into the actual number of 1st year students to determine the number of accepted students (presumably per year).
  12. That's sexual harassment, doesn't matter what everyone says otherwise. It seems to me that your supervisor simply doesn't wanna engage in situation like these, which can distract her own work (I definitely have had a PI like that). I would file a complaint to the HR department (or its equivalence).
  13. Don't think people have discussed much about NIH extensively, so just to fill in some blanks, if any. You are probably looking at NIH fellowship(s) as opposed to a grant per se. Typically grants are for individual PI or an institution/facility/consortium, even if that is a training grant where students can be directly benefit from (i.e. finacial aspect). For a NIH fellowship, you basically need sufficient preliminary data to be even worth considering, besides the significance and originality of your proposed research. Hence, it isn't common for someone to apply and received a NIH fellowship before starting graduate school (nor would I expect someone can get it in their first year of grad school). A fellowship does not have indirect cost. They fund the student directly, but, to my understanding, the money still went through the office of research and distribute to you, per your school policy. Common practice, whether that be NSF or NIH, to my knowledge, is that a stipend from fellowship does not add to your original stipend offered by your program from your department at your school. In the event where your fellowship stipend is less than what your school is offering (i was in one of those situation), your school/PI would make up the difference, typically without requiring you to become a TA because most, if not all, of these fellowships require the awardee to devote 100% of their time and effort on the proposed research. In short, you will always received at least what your program's offer letter wrote, as your minimum stipend (if not more). That being said, you are unlikely to receive anything from NIH before you start grad school. Benefits of having a fellowship, however, is pretty obvious if you plan to have a career in academia.
  14. Hey folks, Just wondering if anybody knows around what time of the year should I expect to see more rental listing? I know it is almost impossible to find a ~$2.5k/2 bed that allows dog, but that's what I'm currently looking for -- from downtown SF to Mission Bay, all the way down to San Mateo plus Daly City, as well as Emeryville -- wherever that can be close (walking distance) to Caltrian / Bart train (personally avoid buses). Thank you in advance!
  15. 0 to 100, jobless, real quick. <-- TFW your PI makes you get your PhD but offers no support for postdoc search.

  16. Oh so future postdocs will mostly be under J-1 and fewer employments would issue H1-B due to the minimum wage. I really wish the STAPLE act went through, but instead it was 'Referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security' since forever.
  17. I find this hard to believe. It essentially means being a postdoc on H1-B will get pay better than most TT assistant professors in STEM.
  18. I have a friend (who is non-STEM) got got an e-mail basically saying "We are very interested hiring you, but Trump..." on Thursday. Maybe some of you can consider working in Army lab(s) which has their own biology-related departments? A cohort of mine was in the Army lab for a year or two as a researcher before graduate school. Good luck, folks.
  19. In my opinion, unless your PI / advisor has a connection from industry that can get you a interview, I personally think that the prestige/pedigree of the school plays a bigger role to land you a interview. However, I would say that your skill set will get you the actual job offer. You may want to contact those companies and see what candidates are they looking for, or, historically, what makes one a successful applicant.
  20. It's 3 am and I'm most definitely getting viral infection in my throat. So I do apologized if I'm repeating myself in the following message... I think that there are too many reasons why people dropping out of grad schools. So I wouldn't read too much on that. Whether that program is top 5 or top 500, I think the first and foremost question(s) that you have to ask yourself is/are "can this PhD in Chemistry / <insert a noun for a specific subfield of> Chemistry take me to where I want to be, or what I want to do", and/or the equivalence of "do I need this degree to become <insert a word/line/sentence/description of your ideal career". I was a quasi-traditional grad school applicant, because I took sometime off during my undergraduate studies (not between undergrad and grad but in the middle of undergrad). Now that I am near the end of my grad school training, I still am working towards my career goal that absolutely requires a PhD, which means that I have no other options to begin with (but I enjoy it quite a lot of what I have been doing in grad school, so I'm not really complaining). I can only imagine that most people who are on the same boat would feel the same/similar way, and completely opposite for the ones who went to grad school for 'wrong' reasons (the word 'wrong' is completely subjective here). I just think that before committing your next 4-6 years in graduate school, which may (or may not) take you steps closer to your career goal, you definitely should consider all the possible options. Would you be happy doing those experiments/research that you are less/not interested in? Would you rather spend 4-6 years in grad school before a 4-year JD / 2-year MPH program, or straight to a 4-year JD / 2-year MPH program? How about spending 7-9 years in a joint PhD-MPH / PhD-JD programs? (Noticed that the game plan here influence on how much of tuition fees you have to pay out-of-pocket / from student loan, assuming that you are not awarding any sorts of scholarships / fellowships. To my understanding, any PhD / joint PhD programs have tuition waivers. I know people who are/were in PhD-MD and PhD-MBA programs do not have to pay 'anything' -- just like many other PhD students -- but either take longer years or have a crazy, fully packed schedule.) It is also a great start to look into funding opportunities that fund JD / MPH programs (if any). I most definitely understand that possible debt situation that you may get into. Hence the above questions/suggestions that I would guide you towards to. (Don't forget that time can be expensive, too!) Good luck!
  21. #1 I also know some people with co-advisors. With 1 retiring though, maybe 1 or 2. Typically it ends up doing more of the work for professor 2 (who is still active) than professor 1 (retiring). 'Big name' or not is rather subjective. Being a 'big name' in your field usually doesn't mean much to everybody else (unless that person has been receiving international prizes, I supposed), but it doesn't make your situation more (or less) unique than the other who has 2 advisors with 'small names'. #2 It depends. If I understand correctly, you are trading your time for all these degrees that may lead to your dream career. If you must get a PhD first, before your JD / MPH, then your PhD can certainly be acquired from a less / non-competitive program; your idea scenario is to acquire your actual terminal degree (i.e. JD / MPH) from a competitive program. #3 that is totally up to you. Realistically though, you don't need a PhD for JD / MPH, and if you truly wants a PhD + JD / PhD + MPH, there are schools do that. I personally don't see how your research experience and experimental techniques (i.e. FTIR, NMR, HPLC, etc.) can vitally help your career that requires JD or MPH. Maybe you can gain some scientific knowledge related to public health or environmental policy, but to my understanding, individuals who went into those fields are MD / MD-MPH / MPH students or biologists/chemists/oceanographers turned to science/environmental policy through postdoctoral scholarships (that's right, you don't need a JD for that). If you have no motivation to do whatever that particular PhD program has to offer, it will be very challenging for you to survive graduate school. To me, I don't see why OP should even go to a PhD program in Chemistry. I think that the time can better spend elsewhere.
  22. If you are applying to Canadian programs, you typically don't need to get your own funding to be accepted as a PhD student, especially when you will be having a MS from HK. However, if you are unsure, you can always ask your POI to see if s/he will have funding to support your PhD. Typically the PI would figure things out with the department if they don't have enough funding -- perhaps being a TA. You can also consider applying Croucher, but my experience is that unless you have a 4.0 and straight As in CE / AL / DSE, otherwise application to their 'scholarship' is a complete waste of time.
  23. You're welcome. Regarding your summer plan -- go check out other NSF-funded REU programs (https://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/reu/list_result.jsp?unitid=5048), both at universities and at national labs. Check and see if MSU has a REU program -- apply there if they do. If you get in one of those, assuming you are doing fine in the REU, your (future) PI during the REU will immediately be your LOR for graduate school. I know enough kids (undergrads at my current school) who did a REU at "university X", apply to that school's PhD program, and got accepted -- both Chemistry and Biology. It can only help your admission unless you figuratively set the world (or campus) on fire. REU pays for your lodging and a program-long stipend, too. Relative to a publication as an undergrad, getting into REU is more achievable. Apply a couple (or more) programs while you can. The deadlines are coming up in January / February, which is program/location-dependent. Good luck! Update: MSU does have a REU (https://www2.chemistry.msu.edu/web/reu/). Although it may not necessarily exactly in analytical chem, but I would imagine that getting into that REU can only build your network in that department (of chemistry), and it can only help your admission profile.
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