Graduate Studies

Get lost in a story

Stories have been told since the beginning of civilization – sharing our own or listening to another’s. We love to get lost in stories: films, books, readings, theatre – we are drawn to the lives of characters whose heartbreaks and triumphs we connect with and can reflect on as our own. I hope you enjoy this blog as it is another avenue for storytelling, one in which tales of research, medicine, patients, and education all … Read More

Grad Studies: In case you missed …

We editors of StudentSpeak never tire of reading about the OHSU student experience. Our student bloggers are creative, often funny and always authentic. Due to their brilliance, several of our graduate student bloggers have graduated and moved on (it was inevitable, but we miss them!). So while we bring aboard some new bloggers, indulge with us as we take a stroll through several past posts which generated conversation. And don’t you worry – we’ll feature … Read More

A final farewell from Dr. Van Hook

Well hello to you, all of my long lost friends! It has been ages (years even) since I wrote to you about my graduate school happenings and I feel I owe you an update and a bit of an explanation for my absence. First and foremost, I’M DONE! I did it, I pulled the sword from the stone, slayed the dragon, and kissed the fat lady on the cheek as she was singing my swan … Read More

3 minutes and counting

You pull off your badge from around your neck as you descend a few hundred feet to the South Waterfront and place it in the top of your bag; it’s the first thing coming out tomorrow. Your face is contorted in a slight, but chronic grin and you scan around the other tram riders to see if anyone else’s day produced a similar level of excitement. Most look tired; one looks annoyed at the guy … Read More

Got bias?

The short answer is yes, you do. Your mission, should you choose to be a great clinician or scientist, is to recognize your biases and not allow them to color your daily decisions or affect your ability to assess the evidence. Bias is, to put it simply, a preference for something over another. There is a more complicated definition but that’s the gist. As humans, there is evidence that we are all biased. If you … Read More

You know you’re a grad student when…

1. A three day weekend = catch-up lab time. 2. You reason against showering because no one outside of lab will see you that day. 3. You get up at 5:30 AM to get out of lab by 8:00 PM. 4. Your calendar is planned around all the free food activities on campus. 5. You got really excited about new data and a week later saw all of it in a newly published journal article, i.e. … Read More

“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


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



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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