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185. I got accepted! Now how do I choose a PhD program?

We often talk about the myriad factors you should consider when choosing a PhD program.

Location. Research. Stipend. Work culture. Livability. Peers. Prestige. The list of things to remember seems endless.

But way back in pre-history, we were just humble undergrads ourselves, feeling our way around and trying to make life-changing decisions with very little information.

This week on the show, Josh regales us with insights he learned from his own PhD journey. (Check out 178. I Didn’t Even Know “Research” Was a Thing! for the beginning of his tale.)

Just a year after learning that research existed, Josh applied to several PhD programs. He talks about the interview process, knowing how many applications is too many, and trusting your instincts.

We also discuss the power of prestige. Is it worth it to go to a big-name private university for your graduate training, or can you get a good education at a state school or small college?

No matter where you are on your training journey, it can be helpful to hear stories from others who walked the same path. We invite you to reminisce about your OWN life-changing choices, and maybe share them with a fellow traveller who could gain insight from your successes (and failures!).

184. White House Rules for Open Access w/ Heather Joseph

The COVID-19 pandemic changed nearly every aspect of our lives. Schools and businesses shut down. Hospitals filled up. And many of us spent months alone or in familial ‘pods.’

But this dark period of global history had some bright spots, and many of them appeared in the scientific community. Rapid at-home testing became ubiquitous. mRNA vaccines were used to immunize millions against the worst outcomes. And funding flowed to scientists in virology, immunology, drug development, air quality and more.

As a society, we learned something else, though: science can save lives. More science, better science, and faster science can save more lives.

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182. How to Choose A Rotation Lab and Advisor

Lab rotations are a pretty sweet deal – you get the chance to work in a lab for a few weeks to see how it fits. Do you like the people? The project? The advisor? If not, try another lab and see if that one is a better fit.

But at the end of 3-4 rotations, you ultimately have to make a choice, and you’ll live with that decision for the next 3-5 years!

This week, we offer a checklist of ‘Things to Consider’ when making your decision, and a warning that many students prioritize the wrong features!

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