Sharon Milgram, director of the National Institutes of Health Office of Intramural Training & Education, fielded questions from participants at various stages in their scientific careers via live chat this week. When asked the importance of having co-authored a published paper when applying to grad programs, Milgram said that "papers are always a good thing, but many students get into very strong programs without a paper. Doing great science, understanding it, and being able to talk about it is equally important." Another live chat participant was curious about how to narrow interests within multidisciplinary fields — specifically in epidemiology and genomics — and how it translates to choosing a grad lab. Milgram suggested that the questioner should "work to refine a bit and pick a program that allows you to broadly experience different labs before you start" and to "think about the types of problems you might like to address" when crafting a focus topic for personal statements and interviews. Overall, Milgram says, her tips can be applied ubiquitously to researchers in various stages of their careers. Her underlying lesson? "Don't crash and burn by not being prepared and being too macho or too ashamed to get help when you need it," she advises. The full text of the chat session is available on the OITE Careers blog.
'Get Help When You Need It'
Apr 08, 2010