I don’t really have time to think about #scio14 yet, but for reference, here’s a copy of the proposal for a science career talk that Lou and I left on the wiki. It got accepted, and I’m moderating. (Lou is moderating another session) so I thought I’d dig this out of the depths of the scary big wiki for easier finding:
Discussion: Realistic career prospects for science (graduate) students
Suggested by @easternblot and @LouWoodley
This is not a session about alternative careers. This is about ALL careers.
We already know that not every science graduate student will stay in academia. In fact, that is the minority. But not everyone is going to go into science publishing or science writing either. There is a whole range of careers for science graduates, and there are as many career trajectories as there are science students. So why are graduate students only shown a fraction of careers (researcher, editor, science writer, industry)? Can we make graduate students in the sciences feel confident about their abilities to choose or create their own individual careers – even if they have never met anybody with that job?
In the Geek Manifesto, Mark Henderson laments that only three of the UK’s MPs have a science PhD, but “politics” is never offered as a possible career choice for science graduates. We also regularly complain about a lack of accurate science in films, but rarely tell students that they can become a science consultant in the movie industry. Science PhDs end up as teachers, musicians, entrepreneurs, lawyers.
Let’s be honest and admit that not everybody is going to be “like us” – the attendees of this conference. But as scientists and science communicators, we are in a unique position to be able to reach out to graduate students and show them a more realistic image of what they can expect after they graduate.
Lou and Eva are currently working on a project aimed at graduate students that does just this, but we would like to hear from others how they have advised students with interests different from their own.