CareerFilter: Scientist branching out--what should I do with my life? Special snowflake within!
posted by weaponsgradecarp to work & money (8 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
So, the time has come for me to find a job. As a new graduate of college, I'm feeling a little like Dustin Hoffman in the graduate--when people ask me what I want to do, I glaze over.
I'm trained as a lab research scientist, and that's been my primary interest over the last few years. However, I'm not quite ready for grad school quite yet. To that end, I've been exploring the various ways in which I can use the knowledge and intellectual mentoring that I've gotten from school, particularly those outside the lab bench. So, I present myself to the hive mind: how can the world use me?
A few things about me/stuff I like:
- ENTP--to the point where when I read the description of an ENTP, I felt like Bill Murray in that scene from Groundhog Day where Andie MacDowell describes her perfect man and he goes "me me me me"
- Just graduated with BS in Biology from high-ranked private college
- Decent (B-average) grades
- Strong background in laboratory research (mol. bio, genetics), starting in high school--2 summers at Tier I cancer research center. College: nearly 4 years working in a lab, great relationship with two profs (have worked on some joint projects), co-first author on publication in PNAS senior year.
- Highest honors for senior research thesis.
- Solid writing skills--from lean lab report writing to long literature research papers to creative nonfiction.
- Very good presentation skills--one-on-one, small format (lab meeting style), medium format (seminar style)
- Though it feels uncomfortably like hubris to say this myself…I've got pretty good people skills, conversation is easy for me, and I can get along with pretty much anybody for as long as I have to, and most of them for longer than that.
- I'm a tinkerer, always have been. As a little kid, I liked taking things apart and seeing how they work. The lab gives me some of that same satisfaction. Make a little change here or there, improve a protocol, optimize a procedure, streamline, add efficiency, etc. Cooking gives hits some of the same buttons for me, making little changes, seeing the result, etc.
- Senior year was a standout academic/personal discovery year for me. I never enjoyed lecture classes (large or small), and always found it difficult to excel in that learning context. However, senior year I was able to take two amazing seminars that I got a lot out of, both in the context of the information taught and the experience of learning in that context.
One was effectively a journal club focusing on DNA structure and function (pick seminal paper from the history of DNA research, explain to the class, field questions). The other was a course on evolution and disease, wherein we were to choose an illness, look at its evolutionary history, and synthesize and present an evolutionary explanation for the presence of the modern malady. This one can be thought of as a bunch of people doing independent study and having weekly discussions about their respective progress.
- I like to explain things. Lab meetings, class project presentations, lab research presentations, my senior thesis defense--these sorts of things are actually fun for me. I've never formally taught a class, but being in my lab for so long, by the time I graduated I was one of the most senior people working there. I got a lot of opportunity to do some informal teaching, helping out everyone from younger undergrad interns to postdocs in the common protocols and procedures used in our lab.
- People tell me that I seem to think about near everything in a 'scientific' way. I'm not sure whether that's the right word for it, but I see what they're getting at. I like to think in a logical systematic way. Build a mental model, change a piece of it, see how the system changes. Lather, rinse repeat.
- A few words about math: Although I found the ideas of calculus elegant, I never liked learning it or doing it. That being said, the math I learned always seemed pretty far ahead of the math I had opportunity to apply. I never had much opportunity to use even calculus in a way that made me go "oh cool, that's what that's for."
So, with that excretion of descriptive information complete, I'm all yours, hive mind. Aside from the sort of standard path of RA positions at pharmas, academic labs, etc, I'm wondering how I can apply my skills and my brain out in the world. I'm casting the net wide...