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.

A Mini Series on Mental Health

The concepts covered in this mini series are relevant to grad school, and several other positions or stages in your career or life (for example - post doc, early career, and beyond). Mental, emotional, and physical health are important for each of us throughout our life, however, in a graduate school setting many of us can put these on the back burner, so we will spend some time in a mini series discussing some of these topic areas. 

Part 1: Introduction to mental health, why is it important and how to prioritize your health above other external pressures you may face during your graduate education (and beyond).

      1. Mental health is a very broad topic, so let’s first start with what we mean by health in this context, and why we believe it is important enough for an entire mini series. 

      2. Mental health encompasses emotional, psychological, and social well-being (mentalhealth.gov reference!). Mental health impacts our thoughts, feelings, actions, and even our physical health/well-being. How we handle stress, relationships, and the actions we choose all are impacted by our mental health. 

      3. What are the factors that contribute/influence our mental health? 

        1. Family history/biology

        2. Experiences 

      4. What should we consider when entering into graduate school (related to mental health)? 

        1. Why ‘seeking help’ is you prioritizing yourself and your health, and not something to be ashamed of or a weakness - in fact, it means you are strong, smart, and making healthy choices for yourself.

        2. How? What resources are available to you?

        3. Knowing yourself and your response to stressful or mentally taxing relationships, situations, etc.

        4. ‘Warning’ signs

        5. Seeking help 

  • ‘man’s search for meaning’ (title of a book by Victor Frenkel - the main ‘jist’ was that maintaining hope and believing in yourself and that you matter is essential to surviving) - it is easy to get lost in day-to-day struggles, and feel you are not contributing or have feelings of ‘what i am doing is meaningless’. Taking a step back to understand what each of us seeks at a basic human level can help place your ‘struggle’ in perspective.

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thank you for being a listener to our podcast. 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.

All the music on the show is performed by Luis Estevez (our host) and belongs to What's the PhDeal (this) podcast.

 

Why PhD Rocks?

What is a STEM PhD and what’s so great about it?
o Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics – These fields tend to make
money, lead to patents, etc., so your PhD will probably be covered by the school
if you’re in STEM field—and you will probably even get a minor, somewhat
livable stipend
o We stand on the shoulders of giants… and you get to be those giants… or
maybe shoulder pads on some other giant, but still!

 Why grad school life can be really cool as well
o You can make your own schedule 
o As daunting as pursuing a PhD can be, remember you are in this together with other folks—lean on them, make friendships. 
o Being a crew of like minded and equally suffering grad students, reminds you that it’s rough for everyone at times and can really make grabbing a coffee break—forcing you to grab a coffee break—with a colleague a great step back from your work and provide each other with someone to lean on when you need it
o It’s also good to make friends with your fellow grad students for your PhD career.

 Realize that you are in a scientific playground!
o First off—realize that you are CHEAP. You don’t cost much since you don’t get
paid enough, but this is actually cool, as your boss/advisor will usually allow you
more freedom to explore and experiment since you’re not tied to a large salary
(again, results will vary from different advisors)
o Even better, you are in a scientific and engineering playground. There are tons of
vials and fume hood and glove boxes and clean rooms all around you and
probably a bunch of whiz-bang toys for you to use. Overcome your fears and
jump in (albeit safely) and start playing. Almost everyone wishes they could be
back in grad school having this ability to “play” but while still being paid at their
current rate
o Most importantly realize it! Most students are so concerned with trying to survive
(a very real concern) that they don’t realize they are in the most open-ended part
of their scientific careers. Later you will get super specialized in something you
work on during this time, but what that will be is determined now. Explore
whatever seems cool and interesting to you. Robotics, catalysts that clean
exhaust pipes, in situ whiz-bang tools, whatever drives you, get into it.
o Collaborate with your fellow students to get into adjacent fields—HAVE FUN! I
have published papers with my fellow grad students that started with just a
simple conversation of “what are you working on”. And working on cool projects

 Get to know the post docs, staff, Profs, etc. as well
o Obviously, getting to know your fellow students is a must, but get to know the
other folks in your program/school as well
o Post docs are usually very helpful—were in your position a few years ago, they
are also usually knowledgeable and driven and can help with your work, but also
in the future as collaborators and friends to find at conference—also can help
when trying to land a job
o Get to know the Profs, they are just people too and the younger ones are very
close to you in career and can remember the grind. Usually best place to find an
advisor aunt/uncle. The older emeritus ones are fun to get to know as well!
o Get to know the staff! They are usually working so hard to keep PhDs often
disorganized lives in order as well as helping students. Get to know them
because they are cool people, but you never know when some last-minute form
or something like that will be needed, it’s good to have them on your side!
o Facility managers are great people that usually like to interact with students as
it’s a part of the job requirements, know them
o Organize social events. Invite students, post docs, staff, even profs if you want.
It’s important to bond together and remember you guys are fun as well and not
just “hard working researchers”. Watch the world cup together, trash talk, have
fun. Take over a conference room to play the big game on the big screen, video
games too, scotch club—whatever!

 To sum up two major points:
1. Realize you’re in a scientific playground of almost limitless possibilities
2. Get to know the people around you, especially your fellow grad students—form a crew!

 

-----------------------

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. 

 

Imposter Syndrome

  • What is an Imposter Syndrome? 
    • Imposter syndrome is basically feeling like you got this high achievement place (accepted to grad school, etc.) and it feels like it wasn’t through your achievements, but somehow through luck, chance or some other undeserving way. You feel like a fraud that doesn’t belong and worry about being “found out”
    • Impostor syndrome is a completely common thing that happens at some point to almost everyone in grad school—apparently ~70% of people feel imposter syndrome at some point in their lives, but I’m sure in grad school is somewhere above 95%...weirdly mostly not talked about either
  • Individual imposter syndrome stories from the hosts
  • Why grad school is such a fertile breeding ground for imposter syndrome?
  • How do you deal with imposter syndrome?
  • Alternate tips for dealing with Imposter Syndrome?
  • An Advisor “Aunt/Uncle” can be a valuable resource here—also older grad students or post docs if you feel close to them
  • Remember we’ve all dealt with this and we all remember how much it sucked—if you ask a peer or someone further along in their career for help dealing with this, they will probably help—someday you’ll be helping someone else deal with this

---

Thank you for being a listener to our podcast. 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.

All the music on the show is performed by Luis Estevez (our host) and belongs to What's the PhDeal podcast.

 

The year 2020 seems to be longer than anyone can remember due to the COVID-19 virus pandemic. In this episode, we tried to address the issues that we, as researchers, face and how to deal with them; as well as, how it is affecting current and future students? 

Discussions on:

- From the stress of publishing in this times to getting grants

- From the rejections from grad schools to reduced or vanished research funding

We hope to shed some light and provide some ways to help our listeners. 

Here are some of the cool resources for you to check out:

1) Skype a Scientist: With schools shut down, parents are turning to virtual learning options to keep their children busy. Consider signing up for platforms, like Skype A Scientist, where you’ll be matched with families who want to hear about your field of expertise.

2) Donate your computing power: Folding@Home is running simulations to better understand the COVID19 coronavirus, including its structure and how it folds.

3) Pre-print publications: Platforms such as the Outbreak Science Rapid PREreviewbioRxiv and medRxiv are currently receiving a massive influx of pre-prints related to COVID-19. Consider reading through submissions, providing feedback, and flagging any concerns.

--

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 University), Elizabeth Kautz - PhD in Materials Engineering (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), Elias Nakouzi - PhD in Physical Chemistry (Florida State University), and Rajan Patel - PhD in Chemical Engineering (Missouri University of Science & Technology).

 

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. 

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 University), Elizabeth Kautz - PhD in Materials Engineering (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), Elias Nakouzi - PhD in Physical Chemistry (Florida State University), and Rajan Patel - PhD in Chemical Engineering (Missouri University of Science & Technology).

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 is done by Luis Estevez. 

  • Topic: “How to choose your school, your department, and your Advisor for your PhD?”
  • Which of the three do you think is most important?
  • What type of research should you do on these before you choose? 
  • Choosing an advisor: New Assistant Professor Vs. Well-established Tenured Professor
    - Hands-off Vs. Hand-on types; post doc heavy vs students/undergrads heavy
  • Individual stories and advice about the panel’s path to their advisor and research group
  • How to gauge an advisor and their research group for the non-science stuff (talk with current students, etc.)
  • What happens if you and your advisor don’t get along?
  • Choosing your school:
  • Small school Vs. big school—will facilities play a role?
  • Go to visitation weekend
  • What’s the town like? This could be a chance to check out a town for a 5ish years
  • What’s the cost of living? Can you actually buy a house for 5 years? Finding roommates?
  • Choosing your Department:
  • Can you survive in a department that wasn’t your major as an undergrad? Can you thrive?
  • Unique systems of various schools
  • There can be a lot fuzziness and overlap within certain departments—especially multi-disciplinary ones like materials science
  • Alternate tips from the panel like having a “back-up advisor” once you choose your school/department
  • An Advisor “Aunt/Uncle” can be a valuable resource if you can find one

Should you do a PhD?

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 University), Elizabeth Kautz - PhD in Materials Engineering (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), Elias Nakouzi - PhD in Physical Chemistry (Florida State University), and Rajan Patel - PhD in Chemical Engineering (Missouri University of Science & Technology).

 

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

In this Episode:

  • What differentiates a career after a PhD Vs. Undergrad/Masters science/engineering degree—what career options close off and which ones open up?
  • Why do a PhD?
  • Why did we do a PhD?
  • Who should or shouldn’t do a PhD?
  • Leaving a PhD program—can you escape without the degree? Is it a black mark on you permanently?
  • Taking a break from a PhD program—mental health can dictate you take a break, can be quite stressful

All the music on our episodes/show is by Luis Estevez (host), and copyrighted to our show, What's The PhDeal?.

« Newer Episodes

Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App