Wednesday, May 25, 2011

3 Awesome Things

Here is a list of things that happened today, in order of increasing awesomeness for my science life.

1. I discovered this exquisite protocol for making DNA loading buffer. So nerdy! So useful! (The blog author also has a handy breakdown of life science stipends that I should add to my "applying to grad school" guide...)

2. A new grad student officially joined our lab! Two of my labmates graduated within the past 6 months. Now that there's a newbie, I'm definitely a "senior student." Gulp...

3. OMG, MY GRANT GOT FUNDED! Earlier tonight the American Heart Association sent me an email, CCed to my adviser, saying I could log in to see my application status. My adviser emailed me 5 minutes later to tell me to hurry up and log in so she could hear the result. Then she figured out that she could log in as the application sponsor, read the summary statement, and sent a congratulatory email before I'd had the chance to do anything. It was a flurry of triumphant email activity, let me tell you!

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Just for the record, I'd also like to state that one AHA reviewer specifically praised my "excellent" grades in undergrad as well as grad school. This is in contrast to the person at NIH who cited "mediocre grades at Brandeis" as a weakness on my NRSA application. That one stung. (Probably because I secretly fear it's true... I didn't excel at all of my science classes, way back when. But I got funded anyway!!!eleventy!)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

My Students in the News!

After proctoring and grading my students' final presentations yesterday (fun, but tiring...), I was psyched to see that Emory Magazine has published their four-part feature about the On Recent Discoveries by Emory Researchers (ORDER) program. The web version of the story also includes personal reflections by three of my students.

The main piece, "Trickle-Down Knowledge," focuses on the other section of ORDER, "Blood, Brains, Death and Disease." My section was entitled "Good Germs, Bad Angels, Mutant Mice, and the Secret to Success," bringing together instructors from neuroscience, religion, sociology, and microbiology, but the general concept of the seminar is the same. And all of the student-written pieces come from the class that I helped teach. Here's an excerpt from Makoto Mori's description of ORDER:
Scrolling down a window on my web browser mindlessly to find a course to fill my writing requirement, I came across a class titled Good Germs, Bad Angels, Mutant Mice, and the Secret to Success. Not only did the title grab my attention, but also the fact that the course was cross-registered in eight different disciplines told me it deserved a detailed look. After reading the course description, I learned that this was a course designed to write a research grant proposal while hearing about experiences of researchers from various disciplines. It seemed to fit my interests perfectly. By that time, I was heavily involved in a computational chemistry research lab and was considering research as a component of my career. The only problem was securing a spot in the roster. Even as a senior, I struggled to find a spot and had to wait for one to open up.

So far in the class, we have listened to three PhD candidates in neuroscience, microbiology, and sociology speak to us about their research and life experiences that led them to their research topics. As an undergraduate at Emory, I had opportunities to listen to the lectures of many accomplished researchers, including Nobel laureates, but it was eye-opening to hear about what led the early-career researchers to their projects and accomplishments. Their personal stories made the career in research seem more approachable.

Go see what else Makoto, Zahra, and Billy had to say about our class and their independent research projects! I'm really proud of our students and I'm glad that these three chose to share their enthusiasm about the program.