Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Had a meeting yesterday with a really awesome neuro-scienctist whom is very pro-women in science, believes in mentoring, has high scientific standards, makes sure her students are prepared. She sounded great.
Then I talked to her students.
They love her, they think she is great but she can be unreasonable, makes a judgements about a student and can not have it changed (for no reason they can be negative judgements), oh yeah and talk to students about other students.
Doesn't shuffle projects on you, but will ask for crazy "Big Idea" experiments. 1 student had no problem getting their thesis, 2 did. 3rd I am meeting tomorrow.
You have a clear question and you work on it.
The people in the lab get along with each other, actually talk to each other. They have lunch together unlike current lab.
She admitted to having a lot on her plate, went through personal stuff and the lab was really negative last year.
Students said the same thing. If I interviewed last year they would've said run for the hills. Now they say you'll get scientific training from people in the lab not necessarily PI, but PI will make sure you're productive and that you do good science.

Oh and I am supposed to go for a follow-up visit tomorrow, however I have no car because its in the shop since yesterday AND monkey is sick with some random enterovirus that gives him mouth sores. I did not sleep last. At all. He is finally sleeping now but I am lying next to him on my bed. Mr. SM has yet another IMPORTANT presentation. Damn him for having a high level job that pays well. GRRR!
I think MIL is coming over so I can go to my meeting with lab that is like current lab except people are nicer and PI is no longer dealing with personal issues.
Oh and no other PI has responded to my emails. Don't I feel great.


Mad Hatter said...

I think it's great that you're getting to talk to the students and asking good questions about the lab. And, importantly, it sounds like the students are being honest about the potential disadvantages of the lab and there's no concerted effort to sweep all the dirt under the rug.

One thing I will say is that all labs and PIs have their problems, and all labs can go through periods of negativity. So it's good to be cautious, but don't be too discouraged that there are a few problems. Good luck with your follow-up!

Amanda said...

Good job on asking grad students about the potential lab. It sounds like they were very candid with you (If I interviewed last year they would've said run for the hills.). So, that's a good sign. Good luck on making and at your follow up!

ScienceGirl said...

Just being pro-women and believing in mentoring is not sufficient for being a good PI, so while it is nice, you need to make sure the technical guidance will be there. (At least this is the advice I wish I got 5 years ago...)

The bean-mom said...

Oh, I'm sorry you're getting such conflicted advice about the lab. Frustrating, I know. Also very common--every lab is a mixed bag, as Mad Hatter says. At least the students ARE being candid. And Mad Hatter is right--labs do go through periods of negativity, and then cycle out of them as well. Hopefully you will join on an upward swing.

Good luck with your meetings and decision! The things that concerned me most about your previous lab were your concerns about that PI's scientific ethics; you almost seemed to accuse him of fraud (or something close to it). If you can trust that this new PI does good, careful, stringent science--well, that is a huge plus.

"Now they say you'll get scientific training from people in the lab not necessarily PI, but PI will make sure you're productive and that you do good science."

That sounds encouraging. It's very rare that you'd get hands-on training from the PI herself anyway. You almost always get it from postdocs and senior students.

Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde said...

Jeez, I would swear you were interviewing in my grad lab except that I don't think they're interviewing anyone right now. Funny. Anyhow, if this PI cares about her students getting a good education and so forth, then it will probably be a good lab but you will have to be significantly independent. That's a good idea anyhow, honestly--you need to be thinking about ideas outside of what you're told by now, as you surely know! If the projects interest you, then it sounds like it's a good place.