Becoming a Resilient Scientist and more from the NIH

While I am writing this post, Vanderbilt and other institutions across the country are in “remote” mode. This has been challenging, but has given me a new perspective on the importance of resiliency in life and in graduate training. I have run across these incredible resources from the NIH OITE, that provide training outside of the lab to graduate students and postdocs. In addition to many others, I would like to point out 3 workshops that are especially important at this time and beyond:

You should watch them, no matter your stage in training! Watch them now and watch them often; I know I will!

Is a Gap Year Right for Me?

More and more, students are taking time between their undergraduate degree before pursuing graduate education. Is this the right decision for you, and is it necessary for you to pursue your next steps? Read this post that I recently wrote for the Leadership Alliance to see what I think will help your training and the strength of your post-graduate applications.
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Science Career Advice

I tend to limit the scope of this blog to early career advice, but a faculty member sent this resource to me and I had to make sure to share it! The 2020 Career Handbook by Sciencecareers.org, is a short introduction to the considerations you should have when thinking about the next steps after graduation. While it is mostly a focus on specific companies and career opportunities, it is a great introduction to become familiar with sciencecareers. Check it out as a source for career advice and a start to learning about other opportunities.

Updating your graduate school application through the season

I recently got an email from an applicant asking for advice about updating their application. I realized this is a topic that I haven’t discussed here before, so I thought I’d give my two cents. If you haven’t learned, I’ve got opinions about everything!
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Twenty things I wish I’d known when I started my PhD

I have recently posted a number of great articles with advice for young scientists. While some of the advice can be similar, you could never hear this too often! This list of 20 pieces of advice might seem a bit daunting (I might have been overwhelmed reading this during my graduate career!), I think you should really take it in and try to incorporate at least a couple of these things that you don’t already do! It is spot on! Don’t worry, no one will be perfect in following all of this advice, but hopefully doing some of this will make an impact!

Is “optional” really “optional” for submitting GRE scores?

As you may be aware, many biology and biomedical graduate programs have eliminated the GRE as a requirement for their applications. While some schools have completely removed the GRE as a part of the application, many others now list the GRE as “optional”. So, what does “optional” really mean and are committees still expecting you to list scores?
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Simple Beginnings

To those of you at Vandy, you are familiar with our Simple Beginnings, white coat ceremony. For those of you not here, you should know that we celebrate the beginning of our students’ scientific journeys with an event that equally congratulates the start of their graduate experience while also highlighting the importance of their position in the community. It is open to friends and family, and it is one of my favorite parts of the year! This year, one of our older graduate students delivered a meaningful speech that highlights the transition to graduate school. I thought it was worth posting, both to repeat this for our first years and to highlight the journey for prospective students. Enjoy!
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