Graduate Studies

“9 is arrogant”

“9 is arrogant”, he calmly tells me as if we’re on the same page. “Why do you think that?” I ask, trying to wrap my head around this alien concept. “Obviously it has the right to be, but I don’t know the exact reason.” “No, there’s nothing obvious about it, but what are some other examples?” I intriguingly prod this sophomore who has stayed around after class to discuss with me the recent discovery of … Read More

The inevitability of discovery

This past weekend I took two hours off from writing and lab work, drove myself to the movie theater, and saw the breathtaking wonder that is Jurassic Park in 3D. JP holds a special place in my heart because, as a little girl, it enchanted me in much the same way as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The power of what humanity can do and not do inspired me, even at 4 years old. … Read More

The Communication of Science, Part One

[As you read by the title, this is Part One in another of my lucky-to-be-nominated-award-winning series of two-part Mega Posts. Sorry, guys. Hopefully, this duology will be less like a continuation of one story and more like two meditations on a single topic. In this post, I’ll talk about the importance of good science communication, and in the next one, I’ll provide some of my favorite examples. Hopefully it’ll be fun for the whole family.] … Read More

H-Bonds

No term is easy. No experiment is a walk through the park, no class is not challenging (whether it’s like the teacher is spewing out facts in Greek or you are bored out of your mind). “Anything worth doing….” as the saying goes, though sometimes I wish there were more hills and less valleys. Sitting in my Developmental Neurobiology class a couple of weeks ago, the lecturing professor did some cool things. He talked history. … Read More

Academia vs. Industry: Double-post edition

During job interviews—at least in the tie-wearing, business-jargon-having corporate world—prospective employers generally ask something like: Where do you see yourself in five years? I base this observation on rumor, speculation, and reading Dilbert cartoons, well, because I’m a newly minted grad student. I have no experience with the corporate world. Besides, the career trajectory of a researcher, not unlike Calvinist doctrine, is subject to predestination: I know where I’ll be in five years. Most likely, … Read More

Surviving the s#*t storm

We’re all familiar with success. A resume composed entirely of failures doesn’t get you into a graduate degree program. We’ve been on honor rolls, dean’s lists, members of academic honor societies, and won our fair share of awards. Let’s face it, that’s the only way you get accepted to a place like OHSU; if your parents’ refrigerator had arms, it would reach out and pat you on the back. But is that still the case? … Read More

Why I chose PhD, Part Two

This is the long-awaited conclusion to Part One, the fascinating and hackneyed story of my decision to go to graduate school instead of medical school. I apologize for the monumental gap between posts. Graduate school is clearly more difficult and time-consuming than I expected, and studying is always more important than short-form navel-gazing. But I wanted to conclude my first post, if only to prevent this response from becoming my Chinese Democracy—eagerly awaited (*cough, cough*) … Read More

Light the Pumpkin

Double, double, toil and trouble. Fire burn and cauldron bubble…*cue witch’s cackle* It’s Halloween time again! Or, as I like to call it, scientist awareness day. For, really, when else is it socially acceptable, arguably expected, to embrace your science induced craziness and dress up like a mad scientist or experiment-gone-bad monster *cue Frankenstein groan*. If there is one thing Halloween has taught society, it is to fully embrace the culture that is science. Don’t … Read More

The 3rd reviewer

I know it is a publish or perish world. Despite my liberal arts background, where professors are not required to obtain grants to survive, I’ve recognized the importance of publishing, both for one’s own career growth, but also as the responsibility of the researcher to disseminate one’s findings. However, I had always believed that effort and experimental “luck” were the limiting factors. If you worked hard and there weren’t any experimental catastrophes (e.g. virus in … Read More

Why I chose PhD, Part One

I know that one of the most egregious writing clichés is opening with a quotation, but I’d like to start with a brief passage from Moby Dick. (I know it sounds pretentious and self-aggrandizing to start like this, but bear with me. And if quoting from the book brings back haunting memories of actually reading it, my apologies.) In the middle of the novel, Captain Ahab is lamenting that he cannot stop his obsession with … Read More

StudentSpeak

StudentSpeak

Ever wondered what life is like as a student at OHSU? What does it take to become a researcher? Just how gross is gross anatomy? Welcome to the blog that answers these – and many other – questions. It’s students writing first-hand about their commitment to careers in science and health care. It’s honest about the challenges as well as the joys. It’s not always pretty. But it is our story. Thank you for sharing it with us. And please, let us know what you think.

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