I learned a lot in graduate school. I learned about receptor tyrosine kinases, and oncogenic transformation, and how to do a western blot. But more importantly, I learned about myself, and I acquired many skills that help me to be not only a better scientist, but to be more engaged and successful in life. Here I have compiled several COMPASS members' ideas on some of the most valuable lessons they learned in graduate school – and many extend far beyond the laboratory.
I successfully designed my spaceship to blast oncoming meteors out of the way, when I realized that my code was sick. I was taking "An Introduction to Python" online through Coursera (described below). The course was offered from Rice University and it consisted of about four 10- to 15-minute video lectures each week with two quizzes and a mini-project due every Saturday. The mini-project was especially challenging; the assignment was to program a game, and as the course progressed, the games became harder. The final exam was to program a version of Asteroids—complete with a moving spaceship that could fire at rocks and make them explode.
Have a follow-up question after watching the video, or want to get Joanne's take on a related topic? COMPASS members will present selected questions to Joanne during a followup Google Hangout. This will be recorded and posted to YouTube as a response to the original video.
There are 3 ways to get your questions to us:
1) Leave a comment on the YouTube video
2) Tweet it @AmerSocCellBio and @JKamens
3) Fill out the anonymous form.
We look forward to receiving your questions by September 20!
You can meet Joanne at the ASCB Annual Meeting in New Orleans where she will present at a Career Discussion Panel at 11:00am on Monday, December 16th.
Today's new graduate students generally begin their studies expecting to follow the well-trodden path to academic success: earn a PhD, do a short stint as a postdoc, get a faculty position, and work feverishly toward tenure. Yet a growing body of evidence shows that many of these students will someday find themselves traveling a different road. With the explosion of biotech and the corresponding rise in patent law, science policy, and journalism, biomedical PhD graduates have more career choices than ever.
Science is at the crossroads: Amazing discoveries are being made every day but there is a severe reduction in funding for biomedical research. Most scientific funding comes from government agencies, and I believe it is put toward the common good of both scientists and nonscientists. But do nonscientists believe that?
When the public thinks of scientists, they probably think of Albert Einstein. After that they probably can't think of too many. Indeed, the majority of the public can't name a living scientist. There have been attempts to reverse this statistic and engage scientists with the public. Presumably, a public well versed in science can make better-informed policy decisions. At the very least, a public that understands and values science is necessary for the sustainability of science.
COMPASS is composed of four subcommittees. The social subcommittee is focused on promoting interactions among scientists at the annual meeting and throughout the year. Our team strives to keep members connected, involved, and interactive. We are dedicated to improving communication, fostering professional and social relationships, and expanding the ASCB network. Indeed, one of the best aspects of ASCB is networking. The social subcommittee has lots of projects in the works and a few creative ideas in the pipeline to boost your networking potential.
The Arab world. Let's face it, when you hear that term, most of you don't really think about science. In the best case scenario you think about the "Arab Spring" that has gripped that part of the world recently... but that's the best case scenario, let's be honest.
One of the things I love most about being a scientist is constantly learning. Normally that means regularly searching for new papers published in my field of research, either by entering the term/gene/topic in PubMed or by scanning the tables of contents of a handful of journals I follow. However, every once in a while an experiment spits out an unexpected result that changes the course of the whole project, linking my research to something I know nothing about.