Skip to main content

150. Rediscover Your Scientific Passion

Nadia wanted to help patients. She had considered going to medical school, but found biomedical research to be an exciting opportunity to develop new knowledge and therapies.

After graduate school, she continued her training as a postdoc. She was on the faculty-track, making plans for her project and her next career advancement.

Then, COVID hit.

She was living and working in New York City as the largest pandemic in a century unfolded around her. She realized she had developed some skills over her years of training – PCR, data management, lab operations – that might make a difference in patient outcomes.

So she pressed pause on her postdoctoral work to start a clinical testing lab that now runs 60,000 COVID tests each week.

Read More

149. Yes, Grad Students, You DO Have Transferable Skills

If you’re a graduate student thinking about a career that lies off the tenure track, you’re probably vaguely nervous that your skills at the bench won’t take you very far in the business world.

Career experts always ask you to highlight your ‘transferable skills,’ but what does that actually mean?

Is it true that you’re hiding a set of superpowers beyond just pipetting small amounts of liquid from tube to tube?

This week on the show, we explain the mysterious world of transferable skills, and tell you how to build on those powers while you’re still a student.

Read More

145. Ten Tips from Hindsight: A PhD’s guide to a PhD

How many times have you said “I wish I had known!” or “Why didn’t they teach us this in school?”

If you’re a graduate student, you’ve probably said it a lot.

For some reason, from the moment you write your first application to the moment you get your hood and mortarboard, you’ll be re-learning what thousands of students have learned before you.

You’ll be treading a well-worn path, but for some reason, you won’t get a map.

Why don’t successful graduates take the time to help their successors along? Well, partly because they immediately get busy on the next stage of their career.

And partly because they may feel they’ve barely escaped the gauntlet of graduate school intact. “What advice could I give?” they muse. “I almost didn’t make it myself!”

Read More

144. Finding a Career that Fits with Marlys Hanson

Sarah had achieved her dream. With a PhD in Physics, she had accepted a new position as a Theoretical Physicist.

But as the months wore on, she started to feel overwhelmed and depressed. She’d done well in school and enjoyed her classes – why couldn’t she focus on her work?

Sean graduated with honors from his engineering program. But after six months on the job as a field representative for a machine company, he was fired.

He had been an excellent student, and excelled in class with top grades and praise from his professors. In the field, he had none of that feedback, and his motivation plummeted. He blamed himself for the failure, but he couldn’t understand how all his success had collapsed so quickly.

Read More

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.

Read More