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PhD thoughts


Humulus_lupulus
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Some background:

 

Research during undergrad consisted of a bunch of work in an up-and-coming process. Senior year ended with a collaboration between myself and an expert in the topic, who is located at another university, with the project largely being led by me. For my MS, I looked at that professor's lab (Professor A) and Professor B's lab. Working with Professor A made me realize that he was not a good fit (too controlling of my project along with negative comments from his former boss) and working with Professor B was too great of an opportunity to pass up.

 

I was hoping to get the NSF GRFP this year so I would have my final year of MS funded and first two years of PhD. That didn't pan out. So, now pressure is on to apply in the fall to try again. I have some ideas, and I could likely throw something together. Unfortunately, the process I want to work with for my PhD is not within Professor B's interests, rather, it is more within the interests of Professor A, who I could never work with again. However, there is a modeling component to my idea that Professor B could really add some great expertise to. It's entirely possible that I could work in Professor B's lab, but I feel like that is hinging on me creating a research plan and getting funding through NSF--that way, I can say that I have enough expertise in that field to lead the project, despite Professor B's lack of knowledge with the process.

 

I can't put all my eggs in the NSF basket...so, where to go if I don't have a guaranteed source of funding? There are only three professors in the country who work with the process I want to research, and none of them really seem like an option. If I wanted to work with with this particular process, I'd have to prove myself in some way to get a professor in a related field to let me work in his/her lab.

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