Now that we have moved on from the structured world of the PhD candidate, taking the lessons learned with us is imperative for future success in the scientific enterprise within and outside of academia. Along the way, technical skills were gained, papers were published, and we somehow convinced our thesis advisors and at least two other people to write solid letters of recommendation.
For all of that have successfully obtained our PhDs, there is one thing that we can agree on, IT WAS AN EXERCISE IN SELF-‐MOTIVATION! We should begin to consistently view our postdoctoral experiences not just in terms of technical training but the development of your overall marketability…
If you ask minority high school students interested in biology what they want to do as a future career, they typically tell you that they want to be a physician or dentist. Unfortunately, what they don’t tell you is that they want to be a professor or researcher. This lack of interest is often due to a lack of exposure or negative stories about being a professor in the sciences. Becoming a professor in the life sciences often takes at least 10 years after the bachelor’s degree due to the need for post-doctoral experiences. In addition, students are often lured to practitioner-focused careers by higher starting salaries and the prestige associated with being a physician or dentist.
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