Graduate Studies

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

Bring the weaponry

This past weekend members of PMCB, the graduate program in molecular and cellular biosciences, proved once again that scientists CAN party as we welcomed the new first year class at our annual PMCB Retreat. For us, the new second years, it was an excuse to catch up and see each other after a long summer of Comprehensive exams and research. We also might have imparted some upperclassmen advice to the new firsties. Maybe. Graduate school … Read More

Reflections from the Alcohol Research Conference

For my inaugural post, I’ll start with something fresh on my mind: a recent alcohol research conference down in San Francisco. But first, I suppose it’s appropriate to start with a bit of personal background. I began my Oregon Trail quest, not from Independence, Missouri, but from Deerfield, Illinois (northern suburb of Chicago) nearly eight years ago. After a layover at Colorado College to get my BA, I finally made it out to Oregon in … Read More

From Palau 5: Chickens

This summer, Inger is working with the Health Policy and Research Department at the Ministry of Health on the island of Palau. She will blog about her experience here at OHSU StudentSpeak. Learn more about Palau here. Alii and Greetings from Palau! There are two ways to get from Portland to Palau: 1)Portland-Tokyo-Palau or 2) Portland-San Fran-Honolulu-Guam-Palau. Quite frankly, Tokyo scares me. I’d much rather get stranded in Honolulu or Guam than Tokyo so I … Read More

From Palau 3: Politics and living on a small island

This summer, Inger is working with the Health Policy and Research Department at the Ministry of Health on the island of Palau. She will blog about her experience here at OHSU StudentSpeak. Learn more about Palau here. EPISODE 3: Politics and Living on a Small Island Alii and greetings from Palau! The most exciting things that I experience in Palau happen because I know the Devers’. And believe me, I know how to name-drop! Sunday … 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.

Participation Guidelines

Remember: information you share here is public; it isn't medical advice. Need advice or treatment? Contact your healthcare provider directly. Read our Terms of Use and this disclaimer for details.