What’s the PhDeal?

Welcome to the “What’s the PhDeal” podcast; the podcast where we attempt to demystify the scientific PhD process. The “we” are four STEM PhD scientists from disparate backgrounds and degree routes that want to help: 1) folks going through the rigors of pursuing a PhD, 2) folks thinking about getting a PhD or even 3) people just curious about what it’s all about! You can check out the website associated with us at RealPhDeal.com and we would love it if you email us at our group email: phdealmail@gmail.com.

Welcome to the “What’s the PhDeal?” podcast; the podcast where we attempt to demystify the scientific PhD process… for folks going through the rigors of pursuing a PhD, folks thinking about getting a PhD or even people just curious about what it’s all about! 

Your intrepid hosts are four PhD scientists that have gotten their PhDs in different scientific fields and schools; and all come from varied and disparate backgrounds to get different points of view in order to best bring you “the real PhDeal”. Your hosts are Dr. Luis (Lou) Estevez, PhD in Materials Science and Engineering (Cornell), Dr. Elizabeth Kautz - PhD in Materials Engineering (RPI), Dr. Elias Nakouzi - PhD in Physical Chemistry (Florida State), and Dr. Rajan Patel - PhD in Chemical Engineering (Missouri S&T).

All the music on the show is created by Luis Estevez, the graphics (with additional edits from Pamela Gregg) and audio design and editing by Rajan Patel, and all rights are reserved to us and this show. Please send us your questions and comments at phdealmail@gmail.com and check our website: https://realphdeal.com

Thank you so much for listening to our podcast! We have gotten so much positive feedback and endorsements from peers and leaders from various fields and 1000+ downloads! Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts. 

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In this Episode, #16: The gang uncovers the mysterious good things that keep happening around the nation and even the world. Everyone thinks it's this spooky Frankenstein monster, but the gang captures the monster and when unmasked it turns out ... .... ... it was the government all along!

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Friends of the show:

Lou has a startup! Check out your PhDeal host Luis Estevez as he navigates the entrepreneurial space!! (AKA: he fooled around in the lab and did some science that now he's trying to sell stuff with it :P ) His company, Advanced & Innovative Multifunctional Materials (AIMM) has a website:

https://www.aimmlabs.com/

 

Check out Enrica's Blog where she is: "Helping first-gen students along their PhD journey!" Rock on Enrica!

https://first-gen-guide.com/

 

Our buddy Andres De Los Reyes, Ph.D. has a book: "The Early Career Researcher's Toolbox" here:

https://jccapfuturedirectionsforum.weebly.com/Book.html

Welcome to the “What’s the PhDeal?” podcast; the podcast where we attempt to demystify the scientific PhD process… for folks going through the rigors of pursuing a PhD, folks thinking about getting a PhD or even people just curious about what it’s all about! 

Your intrepid hosts are four PhD scientists that have gotten their PhDs in different scientific fields and schools; and all come from varied and disparate backgrounds to get different points of view in order to best bring you “the real PhDeal”. Your hosts are Dr. Luis (Lou) Estevez, PhD in Materials Science and Engineering (Cornell), Dr. Elizabeth Kautz - PhD in Materials Engineering (RPI), Dr. Elias Nakouzi - PhD in Physical Chemistry (Florida State), and Dr. Rajan Patel - PhD in Chemical Engineering (Missouri S&T).

All the music on the show is created by Luis Estevez, the graphics (with additional edits from Pamela Gregg) and audio design and editing by Rajan Patel, and all rights are reserved to us and this show. Please send us your questions and comments at phdealmail@gmail.com and check our website: https://realphdeal.com

Thank you so much for listening to our podcast! We have gotten so much positive feedback and endorsements from peers and leaders from various fields and 1000+ downloads! Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts. 

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In this Episode, #15: The Spooky Troll on Tenure Track Lane. The gang gets together to try and survive The very long, 5-6 hour arduous journey (METAPHOR!) through the spooky lane. Also The gang get some mail... woo hoo!

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Friends of the show:

Check out Enrica's Blog where she is: "Helping first-gen students along their PhD journey!" Rock on Enrica!

https://first-gen-guide.com/

 

Our buddy Andres De Los Reyes, Ph.D. has a book: "The Early Career Researcher's Toolbox" here:

https://jccapfuturedirectionsforum.weebly.com/Book.html

Let’s Collab!

Welcome to the “What’s the PhDeal?” podcast; the podcast where we attempt to demystify the scientific PhD process… for folks going through the rigors of pursuing a PhD, folks thinking about getting a PhD or even people just curious about what it’s all about! 

Your intrepid hosts are four PhD scientists that have gotten their PhDs in different scientific fields and schools; and all come from varied and disparate backgrounds to get different points of view in order to best bring you “the real PhDeal”. Your hosts are Dr. Luis (Lou) Estevez, PhD in Materials Science and Engineering (Cornell), Dr. Elizabeth Kautz - PhD in Materials Engineering (RPI), Dr. Elias Nakouzi - PhD in Physical Chemistry (Florida State), and Dr. Rajan Patel - PhD in Chemical Engineering (Missouri S&T).

All the music on the show is created by Luis Estevez, the graphics (with additional edits from Pamela Gregg) and audio design and editing by Rajan Patel, and all rights are reserved to us and this show. Please send us your questions and comments at phdealmail@gmail.com and check our website: https://realphdeal.com

Thank you so much for listening to our podcast! We have gotten so much positive feedback and endorsements from peers and leaders from various fields and 1000+ downloads! Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts. 

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In this Episode, #14: The Haunting on Insurmountable Blvd., the gang has to team up with another mystery team to solve the case! They learn that one team has the peanut butter, while the other has the chocolate… which COMBINED TOGETHER helps solve the case! 

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Friends of the show:

 

Check out Enrica's Blog where she is: "Helping first-gen students along their PhD journey!" Rock on Enrica!

https://first-gen-guide.com/

 

Our buddy Andres De Los Reyes, Ph.D. has a book: "The Early Career Researcher's Toolbox" here:

https://jccapfuturedirectionsforum.weebly.com/Book.html

Welcome to the “What’s the PhDeal?” podcast; the podcast where we attempt to demystify the scientific PhD process… for folks going through the rigors of pursuing a PhD, folks thinking about getting a PhD or even people just curious about what it’s all about! 

Your intrepid hosts are four PhD scientists that have gotten their PhDs in different scientific fields and schools; and all come from varied and disparate backgrounds to get different points of view in order to best bring you “the real PhDeal”. Your hosts are Dr. Luis (Lou) Estevez, PhD in Materials Science and Engineering (Cornell), Dr. Elizabeth Kautz - PhD in Materials Engineering (RPI), Dr. Elias Nakouzi - PhD in Physical Chemistry (Florida State), and Dr. Rajan Patel - PhD in Chemical Engineering (Missouri S&T).

All the music on the show is created by Luis Estevez, the graphics (with additional edits from Pamela Gregg) and audio design and edited by Rajan Patel, and all rights are reserved to us and this show. Please send us your questions and comments at phdealmail@gmail.com and check our website: https://realphdeal.com

Thank you so much for listening to our podcast! We have gotten so much positive feedback and endorsements from peers and leaders from various fields. Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts.

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This episode (#13), is part 2 of the spooky haunted amusement park on publication lane story... ooooo lucky number 13! After the gang unmasks Reviewer #3, the hauntings continue! The gang gets sleuthing and while Elias and Lou spend all their time making corny jokes, Rajan and Liz do some actual detective work and find out that the painful moaning sounds that have been scaring everyone are just a few grad students chained to the lab benches and forced to do "further experiments" by none other than REVIEWER #2! The real villain! 

Welcome to the “What’s the PhDeal?” podcast; the podcast where we attempt to demystify the scientific PhD process… for folks going through the rigors of pursuing a PhD, folks thinking about getting a PhD or even people just curious about what it’s all about! 

Your intrepid hosts are four PhD scientists that have gotten their PhDs in different scientific fields and schools; and all come from varied and disparate backgrounds to get different points of view in order to best bring you “the real PhDeal”. Your hosts are Dr. Luis (Lou) Estevez, PhD in Materials Science and Engineering (Cornell), Dr. Elizabeth Kautz - PhD in Materials Engineering (RPI), Dr. Elias Nakouzi - PhD in Physical Chemistry (FSU), and Dr. Rajan Patel - PhD in Chemical Engineering (Missouri S&T).

All the music on the show is created by Luis Estevez, the graphics (with additional edits from Pamela Gregg) and audio design and edited by Rajan Patel, and all rights are reserved to us and this show. Please send us your questions and comments at phdealmail@gmail.com and check our website: https://realphdeal.com

Thank you so much for listening to our podcast! We have gotten so much positive feedback and endorsements from peers and leaders from various fields. Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts.

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In this episode (#12), the gang takes a trip to the haunted amusement park in town. Elias decides the gang should split up; so Rajan and Lou (powered by Scooby-snacks) investigate the scary hall of mirrors. Elias and Liz meanwhile figure out that the "ghost" was really a prop that floated through the air with the help of hidden cables. The dastardly fiend behind all the chaos was found and unmasked... and turned out to be none other than Reviewer #3, who was trying to scare the gang from publishing so he could scoop them... Zoiks!

Welcome to the “What’s the PhDeal?” podcast; the podcast where we attempt to demystify the scientific PhD process… for folks going through the rigors of pursuing a PhD, folks thinking about getting a PhD or even people just curious about what it’s all about! 

Your intrepid hosts are four PhD scientists that have gotten their PhDs in different scientific fields and schools; and all come from varied and disparate backgrounds to get different points of view in order to best bring you “the real PhDeal”. Your hosts are Dr. Luis (Lou) Estevez, PhD in Materials Science and Engineering (Cornell), Dr. Elizabeth Kautz - PhD in Materials Engineering (RPI), Dr. Elias Nakouzi - PhD in Physical Chemistry (FSU), and Dr. Rajan Patel - PhD in Chemical Engineering (Missouri S&T).

All the music on the show is created by Luis Estevez, the graphics and audio design and edited by Rajan Patel, and all rights are reserved to us and this show.

Thank you so much for listening to our podcast! We have gotten so much positive feedback and endorsements from peers and leaders from various fields. Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts.

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In this episode (#11), the gang get stranded near a spooky house when the Mystery Machine breaks down! The gang splits up along various paths and investigate the haunted house on Career Boulevard--encountering scary ghosts like academia, industry, national labs and Start-ups! The gang finds out that the scary ghosts were none other than Old Man CV, once unmasked.

Welcome to the “What’s the PhDeal?” podcast; the podcast where we attempt to demystify the scientific PhD process… for folks going through the rigors of pursuing a PhD, folks thinking about getting a PhD or even people just curious about what it’s all about! 

Your intrepid hosts are four PhD scientists that have gotten their PhDs in different scientific fields and schools; and all come from varied and disparate backgrounds to get different points of view in order to best bring you “the real PhDeal”. Your hosts are Dr. Luis (Lou) Estevez, PhD in Materials Science and Engineering (Cornell), Elizabeth Kautz - PhD in Materials Engineering (RPI), Elias Nakouzi - PhD in Physical Chemistry (FSU), and Rajan Patel - PhD in Chemical Engineering (Missouri S&T).

All the music on the show is created by Luis Estevez, the graphics and audio design and edited by Rajan Patel, and rights reserved to us and this show.

Thank you so much for listening to our podcast. We have got so many positive feedbacks and endorsements from peers and leaders from various fields. Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts.

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Anxiety, depression, isolation, taking care of yourself, and seeking help.

    1. What is stress, why it is important that we manage it, and what are some methods of how we can manage it.
      1. Isolation, depression, anxiety are all things we can experience in graduate school and our lives. These can be somewhat magnified in a graduate school setting since this is (in general) a high-stress time where you are living a life that is generally accepted as unsustainable (low income, long hours, etc).
      2. Stress is what the WHO is now calling the epidemic of the 21st century. It impacts much more than just our mental health - it impacts our physical well-being (including our digestion!), longevity, relationships, and more. Because of how widespread stress is in our lives, and how damaging it can be - we want to unpack what it looks like, how does it show up in our bodies...in our work… more generally - in our lives 
    2. As a graduate student (or a professional of any age) there are a variety of external pressures in our lives. For example - deadlines for exams, papers, data your adviser wants, etc. It is a culture in many grad school programs that priority ONE is school and your research, and basic human needs like healthy food, relationships, and community are put on the back burner. While prioritizing research above all else may give some immediate success - let’s consider longevity and your overall health. If your goal is to become a strong researcher/scientist, then, school is the beginning of a long career filled with pressure, deadlines, deliverables and supervisers asking for more and more things. If you want to continue contributing to your field, learning, growing, then you need to look at the bigger picture - you need to first be healthy.
      1. Productivity begets productivity. 
      2. Being ‘one dimensional’ can feel ‘hollow’ and meaningless, but hobbies can help us feel more ‘well-rounded’ and balanced so that our minds get exercise away from the text books and papers.
      3. Physical activity can impact our mental and emotional well-being significantly, which we can easily forget when our priorities are centered around our educational pursuits. However, physical activity can help us regulate emotions, get better sleep, feel better so that we can perform better in our studies/research. 
      4. Community is something we all seek, but, in the face of stress we can lose connection to community. Why is community so important? How can social interaction be uplifting/positive for all of us? 
      5. Hobbies 
      6. Physical activity
      7. Social interaction

 

PhDeal with Mentorship

Welcome to the “What’s the PhDeal?” podcast; the podcast where we attempt to demystify the scientific PhD process… for folks going through the rigors of pursuing a PhD, folks thinking about getting a PhD or even people just curious about what it’s all about! 

Your intrepid hosts are four PhD scientists that have gotten their PhDs in different scientific fields and schools; and all come from varied and disparate backgrounds to get different points of view in order to best bring you “the real PhDeal”. Your hosts are Dr. Luis (Lou) Estevez, PhD in Materials Science and Engineering (Cornell), Elizabeth Kautz - PhD in Materials Engineering (RPI), Elias Nakouzi - PhD in Physical Chemistry (FSU), and Rajan Patel - PhD in Chemical Engineering (Missouri S&T).

All the music on the show is created by Luis Estevez and rights reserved to the show.

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The most important mentor/mentee relationship: your relationship with your advisor!
o Every PhD student should know and expect that their advisor’s role is not just boss and getter of money for the lab’s projects, but also to mentor you as you tread down the path to PhD scientist
o The best advisors realize their job is not just to crank out science through their students, but that is just the by-product of their real role: in churning out scientists!
o I’ve seen varying abilities of Advisors in regards to mentorship and most fall into the bell curve of trying their best to mentor properly while still hitting deliverables, advancing their careers, obtaining money, etc.
o Completely biased dynamic in advisor-student and a school’s hiring prerequisites for Profs (can they bring money, can they publish, can they teach) makes for an especially potent combination if you et an advisor that is just not good at the “leadership” part of their job and are poor mentors

 Other non-advisor mentors
o Senior level grad students 
o Post docs and visiting Profs
o Folks from undergrad, previous Profs, intern supervisors, etc. 

 How to be a mentee from a mentor’s perspective
 Tips for finding good mentorship

Welcome to the “What’s the PhDeal?” podcast; the podcast where we attempt to demystify the scientific PhD process… for folks going through the rigors of pursuing a PhD, folks thinking about getting a PhD or even people just curious about what it’s all about! 

Your intrepid hosts are four PhD scientists that have gotten their PhDs in different scientific fields and schools; and all come from varied and disparate backgrounds to get different points of view in order to best bring you “the real PhDeal”. Your hosts are Dr. Luis (Lou) Estevez, PhD in Materials Science and Engineering (Cornell), Elizabeth Kautz - PhD in Materials Engineering (RPI), Elias Nakouzi - PhD in Physical Chemistry (FSU), and Rajan Patel - PhD in Chemical Engineering (Missouri S&T).

All the music on the show is created by Luis Estevez and rights reserved to the show.

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Mental Health - Mini Series Part 2 

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Managing relationships - your adviser, peers, seniors, personal relationships

  • How do manage competing priorities and people?
  • How to recognize a toxic relationship (work, personal)? How does this impact you and your well-being
  • Not everyone is meant to get along without conflict, however, there are some behaviors and treatment that you should not accept.

What is the Qualifier exam?
o Basically, it’s an early test to make sure the students they let into their PhD program know what their stuff—Academic hazing?
o Much like the rest of PhD-dom it will vary from school to school and dept to dept

 Our experiences and our dept’s Quals like?

o Various folks in the panel explain their version of quals and experiences they want to share
o Stories and experiences:
1. Figuring I would fail out after my first year

2. Weird day… sorta nodding at your fellow first years as you walk down the hallways into your next exam. 

3. Almost failed the subject I was supposed to be good at because I stupidly started almost arguing with the Prof.

4. After the test—felt like the religious cult (Millerites) “the great disappointment” the end of the world came and went and then I had nothing to do

5. Older grad student tapping me on the shoulder and saying: “you will never know as much as you do right now in materials science

 Quals strategies, don’t panic, prepare!:
o Your advisor should realize you need to prepare for this and give you some space here—you should realize this too, but don’t panic!
o Talk to the older grad students, find out what their quals were like, what problems people had—story of grad student and curmudgeonly Prof
o We had awesome older grad students that right after the quals they put everything they remembered about it into a big book of knowledge for the next students—we dd the same after ours—the even had shots and burgers after it for us. Try and initiate your own tradition—you’re in this together
o Talk to the profs—we found some profs to be more willing to help that others… one even set up review sessions for us!
o Band together with your fellow first years, study together and compliment each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Set up a weekly time and date, book a room, set a schedule, assign tasks
o Take senior level classes for the subject areas your weak at—it’ll be a shot to your ego possibly struggling with undergrads, but you’ll be better prepared for the Quals. Bonus points if the Prof teaching the class is giving the subject test

 After quals
o Relax and take off for a day or even two, you’ve been through a lot and it’s been stressful
o Whatever happens is fine—if it delays you a year, that’s not the end of the world, probably for the best actually (Our connection to Dr. Steven Strogatz - a Connell rockstar professor and a Radiolab math guy!)
o The tests from here on out get technically harder but in the later exams (A & B) you come with way more PhD skillz to handle it so it’s actually easier though the subject area testing is not
o I found out later that some of the smartest and most impressive senior level grad students really felt they got rocked by their Quals—cut yourself some slack and if you need to retool or shore up something, do it and know you’re not alone

 

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Join us each week (new podcasts drop Monday) as we try our best to handle various topics involved in pursuing a STEM PhD and try and give our best advice, stories, strategies and mutual commiseration of choosing this career path

Please subscribe to the podcast and check out our associated website:

http://realphdeal.com/

Also feel free to send an email and let us know what you liked or didn’t—or if you have any questions or potential show topics at:

phdealmail@gmail.com

All the music in our episodes are done by Luis Estevez, and copyrighted to our show. 

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