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125. Demystifying the Research Institute

Most PhD students attend traditional academic institutions of higher educations. It’s the world of classes, campuses, and mortarboards you probably think of when you think about a University.

But there’s a less-traveled path to a PhD that may actually hold some benefits for certain students, including those coming back to school after working for awhile, or those with families.

We’re talking about research institutes, and it’s possible you’ve never even heard about this alternative path to a PhD.

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123. Anatomy of a Micropublication feat. Nate Jacobs of Flashpub

In a world where it’s “Publish or Perish,” you’d expect “publish” to be the more favorable option.

But, if you’ve ever spent a year or more performing experiments, crafting figures, writing a manuscript, finding a friendly editor and arguing with reviewers, that “perish” option might just sound pretty sweet right about now….

It’s no secret that the publishing industry has an inexplicable choke-hold on the scientific community. A handful of companies exercise editorial control, deciding which findings are permitted to enter the information stream. They charge the researcher who submits the paper, then charge exorbitant fees to the reader to see what was ‘printed.’

While the information age has flooded nearly every aspect of our daily lives, its transformative power sometimes seems to be walled off at the laboratory door.

Luckily, there are a few scientists who are willing to chip away at that wall.

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102. HelloPhD Guide to Grad School Applications – Crafting the Perfect Personal Statement (R)

Please recount your life story, all of your future plans, and why this graduate program is uniquely suited to fulfill those dreams.  Limit your answer to 140 characters.

Okay, okay, the typical “Personal Statement” prompt on your grad school application is probably not that outrageous, but they CAN feel both cryptic and overwhelming.

Here’s a real prompt from a real grad school application at a major university:

In 1-2 pages, describe your career goals, research interests, past and present research experience, and why you’ve chosen the [Name Redacted] Program for your graduate studies.

This prompt can induce instant writer’s block in even the most prepared applicants.  So where do you begin?

This week on the show, we share tips for crafting the perfect personal statement that will highlight your grad-school-readiness and potential for greatness in a career beyond the degree.

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122. Tenure Tracker – The Life Non-Linear with Dr. Jimena Giudice

Dr. Jimena Giudice has all the traits of a promising new faculty member.

Through her training and early career, she has earned more than a dozen grants and awards. She’s co-authored two dozen papers. And she has trained students and postdocs, gaining a reputation as a highly effective mentor.

You’d expect that Dr. Giudice’s undeniable success was the natural result of an early immersion in science and a dogged adherence to the well-worn path through college, grad school, and postdoc.

But of course, you’d be wrong. Before discovering a love for scientific research, Dr. Giudice spent ten years answering a different calling.

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