Explore your scientific identity

This summer semester, we had a different kind of lecture for the BioAPP DK students: instead of focussing on scientific discussions or on pitfalls of data analysis strategies, we put together a small webinar about career choices, and the difficulties (life) scientists have to face.
dkbioapp_ss21

Explore your scientific identity

This summer semester, we had a different kind of lecture for the BioAPP DK students: instead of focussing on scientific discussions or on pitfalls of data analysis strategies, we put together a small webinar about career choices, and the difficulties (life) scientists have to face. The main goal was to get scientists from various career stages together and pick their brains by asking questions like:

  1. What career choices do scientists have other than the classic tenure track careers?
  2. What are the most important skills to learn during your PhD years?
  3. What useful / unique skills did you acquire during your academic career?
  4. Any life lessons you care to share?

Initial fears on the reception of this idea quickly dissipated when all researchers we contacted were positively happy to participate in our online talk. Thus, on April 16th, 2021, it was finally time for the webinar - and what a line up we had! All three of our speakers gave a little introductory talk about themselves, their career path, and the lessons they have learnt along the way. These inspirational talks were followed by a fruitful round table discussion, that gave all listeners an opportunity to ask questions themselves.

We have captured the essence of each talk below, but to give you a short summary of the whole webinar, let’s just say:

Don’t be a panda while exploring your scientific identity. Keep an open-mind, think outside of the box, and don’t be discouraged by road bumps. We all struggle sometimes.

 

Julia Embacher & Julia Vinzelj

 


julia

Julia Badstöber did her PhD at the University of Innsbruck and went into industry right away. As an early career scientist, we had Julia up first. Her talk focussed around the transition from academics into industry.

Main points: Don’t restrict the search of industry jobs to calls for “microbiologists”. Try to filter by degree or prior education instead. Have a strong web presence ready (LinkedIn, Twitter, ResearchGate, etc.). Don’t be discouraged if the search takes a long time!


michael

Michael Prattes is currently working as a PostDoc at the University of Graz. He discovered his passion and talent for graphic design during his PhD years and is now trying to incorporate this skill into his career.

Main points: as a PhD student you are required to learn/do/know everything. You are not only a microbiologist, but also a bioinformatician, a programmer, a statistician, a writer, a graphic designer, a project manager, ... However, you should use this period of doing and learning everything to pick out the things you are good at and enjoy, and focus on perfecting those skills while delegating the rest (if possible).


joan

Joan Edwards is a lifelong, passionate researcher, who went into industry only recently.

Main points: there is no set path after your PhD. You will hit bumps and rocks on your road and might often have to adjust your path or start afresh. This holds true for your professional as well as your personal life – both will be in continual flux. However, by being flexible and not having an over-specialized (like a Panda), narrow skill set you will certainly thrive in life!


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