I have often said that I like to live my life in clusterfuck: the week I got married, I decided to adopt my first pet and buy my first car; in a 2 year period I started grad school, bought a house, and bought a business. You get the idea. But lately, I'm starting to think maybe I just live my life in coincidence. I have recently become part of a coalition of grad students at my institution fighting to get the school to take our career development seriously. It hasn't been an easy fight, but we also have our allies among the faculty. Our idea is to get some sort of centralized aid for students to learn about their options as scientists, to improve their scientific communications, to connect with potential employers/mentors, to learn what steps they can start taking to make themselves attractive for future grants, institutions, etc. Students weren't being asked to review papers or grants, or encouraged to network at meetings, or guided with how to get a PI position, and worse, they were well aware of the bottleneck in positions as one climbs the academic ladder. So, because a coalition of students doesn't necessarily have the power to force PIs to help their mentees with their careers, some students and myself have been working on an end run-around, to get our fellow students the development they need from the school if they can't get it from their mentors.
Now, one might say - and many have - that this is the job of the thesis mentor and, to a lesser extent, the committee members. Well the problem is, to be perfectly frank, the mentors just aren't cutting it, and committees don't care*.
3 days ago