How_to_succeed_in_grad_school

How_to_succeed_in_grad_school - How How to succeed in grad...

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Unformatted text preview: How How to succeed in grad school M. Scott Shell UCSB Chemical Engineering Why Why are you here? to to learn more to to get research experience to to get a better job / an R&D job / an academic job to to make more money you you didn’t know what else to do self self / peer / parental pressure to “succeed” What’s What’s the point of a PhD education? undergraduate: undergraduate: answering questions, solving problems graduate: graduate: asking questions, identifying problems A PhD means you are capable of conducting an PhD independent research investigation to create new knowledge. Parts Parts to a PhD education Courses Courses – learn the fundamental principles and skills of the current state of knowledge Research Research – learn how to identify gaps in knowledge, conduct sound scientific inquiry to address them, and effectively effectively communicate results to others Life Life – learn how to manage work in an environment where you largely set your own schedule and deadlines How How to succeed, the big picture How How to succeed, the big picture Be Be proactive, take ownership Be Be organized, but creative Communicate Communicate – ask questions, convey your work Manage Manage your workload How How to succeed in courses Grades Grades are guides, not goals Work Work first on your own, then with others Be Be an independent learner – read and reread the texts Note Note things you don’t understand, seek out answers in other texts, students, and faculty Find Find electives that augment your research work Picking Picking a research area Explore Explore all the options – the most familiar isn’t necessarily the best fit Are Are the basic research questions (not just methods) interesting to you and seem important? What day-toWhat is day-to-day life like? Experiments? Simulations? All projects evolve and change – do you like the All research area and see opportunities for growth? Some Some kinds of research projects Experimental versus Experimental versus computational versus theoretical versus Improving Improving techniques versus new physical versus understanding Verifying Verifying previous conclusions with new methods Does Does an alternate viewpoint give the right answer? What What minimum model is needed to capture the observed behavior? What are the right physical ingredients? Finding Finding an advisor Faculty Faculty are very busy people Lecturing Prepping for class / grading Office hours Meeting with students & group Calls / meetings with collaborators Writing Writing grant proposals Writing papers Administrative / campus activities Involvement in scientific organizations Reviewing / reading papers Writing letters Responding to email Attending research seminars Total: many hours of time per week + travel to scientific meetings, meetings, invited seminars at other institutions What What an advisor is not The The main expert on your PhD project Your Your personal problem-solver and tutor problemDesigner Designer of your daily task list and agenda Career Career services What What an advisor is A short- and long-term mentor to provide scientific shortlongand professional guidance A role model role An An intellectual colleague Someone Someone who is well-informed of current scientific welltopics and methods Leader Leader and administrator of a small research enterprise Finding Finding the right advisor personality for you “Hands “Hands on” vs. “hands off” Meticulous Meticulous planner vs. dynamic scheduler Encourages Encourages vs. challenges Easy Easy going vs. intense Young Young and new versus old and established Young Young faculty energetic, energetic, excited, dedicate more time to your project focus focus on state-of-the-art, cutting-edge research state-of-thecuttingfewer fewer connections (but nonzero) less less experienced in mentoring and project development Old Old faculty lab lab already operating smoothly, history of PhD advisees well well connected to other scientists less less available; frequent travel and typically more students that compete for time less less invested in your specific project The The research group Resources Resources adequate? Students Students support and mentor each other? When When getting feedback, keep in mind: - young students don’t know enough yet - mid-PhD students can be too negative mid- near-graduating students give honest feedback nearRemember Remember that the composition of the group will change! Conducting Conducting research Be Be proactive, take ownership. Be a colleague, not a worker-bee. workerBe Be very organized. Keep a notebook. Be Be creative. Generate and explore new ideas. Become Become an expert communicator. Be willing to ask questions and prepared defend your ideas. Read Read relevant papers, re-read and work through rederivations in important ones Publish! Publish! Being Being involved in the scientific community Will Will others think it’s useful/important? Being Being involved in the scientific community Stay Stay up to date on the literature, use e-TOCs eAttend Attend seminars on campus – ask questions! Discuss Discuss ideas with labmates, peers, colleagues, other labmates, faculty faculty Attend Attend conferences, give talks – be proactive in identifying travel funding and meetings Make Make connections – email, in person at conferences Communicating Communicating and defending your research Seek Seek opportunities to speak in front of others – become comfortable! The The KISS principle – Keep It Simple, Stupid Don’t Don’t tell people what you did, tell them why they care care Have Have a point, tell a story Respect Respect your audience Be Be prepared for the hard parts Be Be prepared for the hard parts People People will be smarter than you Few Few definitive mileposts and metrics SelfSelf-pressure to do well The The research roller coaster Your Your life outside of the lab Develop Develop a schedule for work, exercise, social Grad Grad school is not a 40-hour/week job 40Quality Quality versus quantity of time spent quantity Know Know when to: take a break, buckle down, reward yourself Nurture Nurture hobbies and friends outside of work – be proactive Be Be excited! Challenging Challenging but intellectually rewarding adventure Only Only 1% of the US population over age 15 has a PhD Close Close friendships, relationships UCSB UCSB – dynamic campus, world class research, and of course, great weather! ...
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This note was uploaded on 12/29/2011 for the course CHE 210a taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at UCSB.

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