Archive for the 'tenure-track OTJT' category

the hiring crap-shoot

Aug 28 2012 Published by under hiring, tenure-track OTJT

One of the hardest things of running a lab is hiring decisions. At least it is for me. My group is not so large yet (< 10 people), so we are pretty susceptible to the "dominant negative". If one person is a drag it can really slow things down. For everyone. I've been thinking about this a lot recently, because I'm in the process of hiring a technician. The first tech I hired I ended up firing, and that SUCKED. I really want to have a better outcome this time.

I had many, many applicants to the job that I posted, and I screened through CVs looking for those that had some relevant experience. And were able to write coherent sentences. I tried not to get too upset when folks claimed "proficiency in word"* or "excellent manual dexterity"** I narrowed down to about 8 that looked reasonable, and then I contacted references by phone. I feel like phone calls give me a chance to get somewhat "off the record" responses, and they take less effort than a letter. After talking to references I brought in four people for interviews. This is where things get difficult. There are two folks that I think would be good. HOW TO CHOOSE??

Seriously, I'm having a hard time here. Both of the candidates are fresh out of undergrad and looking to work in a lab for a bit before they go off for an advanced degree. They both have some undergrad research (not just lab courses), though one has slightly more experience here. All the references loved them, etc etc. I feel like it is now a crap shoot. No matter what I choose, it could be a disaster (or not), and one person is going to be disappointed.

I'm pretty sure it is bad for morale if I hire them both for a month and let them compete it out, Hunger Games style. Right?

 

*This is code for "I don't really know how to use computers but I can kinda turn them on and open really easy programs". ugh.

**um...WTF?

29 responses so far

Gerty goes to study section, part 3

Jul 15 2012 Published by under academia, tenure-track OTJT

It is about time! I got a little distracted, but it is time to finish telling you all about my study section experience. In case you can't remember, in part 1 I wrote about how I ended up as an ECR on an NIH study section, and in part 2 went on about what I did leading up to the meeting. Now part 3 - the meeting!

You guys, the meeting itself was exhausting! We started at 7:30 am, and went until 6:00 pm. We were meeting in a conference room with a giant table. Everyone had an assigned seat, and you got a seating chart so you would know who everyone is. The first few minutes are milling about and getting coffee/pastries*, setting up your computer and getting it connected to the wireless, etc. Then the meeting starts with the SRO welcoming everyone and explaining the rules. You all check your COI form to make sure that it is correct. Then she hands the meeting over to the Chairperson of the study section.

The Chairperson then starts the review process. The first grant is announced, and anyone that is in conflict leaves the room. For each review, it basically went the way it is shown in the movie made by NIH. Each reviewer announces their primary impact score. Then the first reviewer gives a short description of the grant and what were the strengths/weaknesses that led to its score. Then the other reviewers add anything that they considered to drive their score. At this time, everyone else is listening and looking over the grant, particularly the Project Summary and Aims but you could pull up the whole grant on your computer.

After all the reviewers spoke, then anyone could ask questions. There were lots of questions. Questions could be about the science or the scoring. For example, you could ask a reviewer why they gave a grant a 1 but had many concerns about the approach. Or you could ask for clarification about what experiments they were (or were not) proposing. Or you could ask about the interpretation of the preliminary data. The reviewers answered the questions (which is why it is so important to make sure they have all the information they need to advocate for your project!). After 10 minutes or so the Chairperson summarizes the discussion, and asks the Primary Reviewer if there are any concerns about animal use or reagent sharing (seriously people, don't forget to fill these sections out). Then the original three reviewers announce their final impact score, which may (or may not) have changed. This sets the "range". The Chairperson then asks if anyone will be voting outside the range, and you have to raise your hand if you are. If you didn't say anything at all during the discussion but then indicate you are voting outside of the range, the Chairperson may ask why. They mostly want to know if it was something in the discussion or something else. Then everyone enters their score on the online form. And then on to the next grant.

The order that the grants were reviewed was based on preliminary impact score. The R01 from ESI were the first group, with the "best" scored grants first. We only discussed the top half, the rest were "not discussed" (aka triaged)**. But every grant was announced and we all had to agree to triage, so if one person wanted to discuss the grant, then it was discussed. After the ESI R01, we went through all the top half of the rest of the R01 applications. Midway through this group we got a 30 min break for lunch (seriously, it was a LONG day). Then we started on the R21 and R03. There were so many R21. SO MANY. After about 10 hours of this, we stopped and all of us went to dinner, which was pretty awesome. The SRO made sure I got introduced to everyone, especially the BSD in my field that were there, which was awesome. The next morning we met again to finish the R21. We worked through lunch, and finished early in the afternoon. It was crazy.

The whole process was fascinating, really. We all know that there is no formula that derives an impact score, but it is really amazing how each grant was evaluated differently. For some grants, the approach was KEY. But there were some where the reviewers noted significant concerns about the approach but still gave it a very good impact score because of the investigator, or vice versa (for instance). Every so often the SRO would interrupt the discussion to make sure that we were following the rules. For instance, we were not allowed to say "This grant would be better if they had controlled for widget frequency". You could only raise concerns. This was to prevent people from assuming if they did everything the reviewers "suggest" that they would get a better score. Because who knows? There were also some times that the SRO would ask someone to clarify their score, if it wasn't clear that they were following the scoring system rubric. This was to try to avoid score compression. There was also a program officer there, but she didn't say anything during the meeting, just watched.

Being on study section was really interesting experience. I think that I knew many of the concepts of what was happening (thanks for folks like DrugMonkey and PhysioProf, etc.). But seeing it in person really brought it all home.

Now all I have to do is translate this experience into my own successful grant!

Do you guys have questions, or requests to expand on something? I don't have a plan for a Part 4, but I am open to suggestions.

 

*apparently this is the last meeting that will have these, though. New rules prevent the NIH from buying food or coffee for these meetings.

**You get notified that day if you are triaged, based on my personal experience. But you don't get to see your preliminary scores for a while after that.

8 responses so far

The appropriate use of your time

Jan 06 2012 Published by under exhaustion, tenure-track OTJT, venting

Today Dr. O used her space on the Guest Blogge to make a record of how she spends her day. A commenter, Moss, was quick to point out how inefficient she was at using her time. I couldn't agree more.* Since I know that Dr. O is going to be starting her tenure-track position soon I thought I would show her the right way to use her time by sharing how I spend my day**:

4:30 am: Jump out of bed without an alarm because I'm just so damn excited to start working!
4:35 am: shower while listening to news on NPR [pro-tip: if you are only doing one thing at a time it is a total waste].
4:45 am: call labbies to make sure that they are on their way to lab while making coffee [now that I'm a PI it is my job to make sure the folks in lab are Doing Science].
4:50 am: drink coffee, scan through new papers on Pubmed or in TOC.
6:00 am: go for a run
7:00 am: get Mini-G ready for school
7:30 am: catch bus to take Mini-G to school, drink more coffee
8:00 am: get to lab. Check in on labbies, making sure to point out new papers they should have read as I saw them over 3 hours ago.
8:15 am: write grant
12:00: eat lunch at faculty seminar
1:30: back in lab. help rotation student set up experiments, make sure grad students have read the papers I mentioned before.
2:00: work on grant
5:00: work on grant some more
7:00: walk to bus stop. Miss bus. Get a sandwich and beer while waiting for next bus. Read ms sent to me for review.
8:00: get home, a little too late for bed time.
8:10: work on grant
11:00: grant not making sense. Start reading grad student applications.
1:00: go to bed.

Now clearly I'm still a n00b here. I'm sure that there are folks out there that can help me be even MOAR efficient. The most important thing to realize is that as scientists we have a very important job. There is simply NO EXCUSE for wasting your time with stupid things that are not Doing Science. I would ask how you all manage to be so efficient and such, but I'm sure that no one is wasting their time reading this blog.

 

 

*I also appreciate that s/he made a point about the waste of time that blogging is by...commenting on a blog. Just fantastic!

**I sure hope that Moss can help me find unimportant things to cut out of my day so I can be a better scientist, too!

edited to fix links (I hope)

28 responses so far

Not the time to say No

Jan 05 2012 Published by under academia, tenure-track OTJT

Hey everyone! I'm still buried under my grant. I'm trying desperately to beat it into submission. Right now I think the odds are pretty even about who is going to win, but I'm working hard to not get beaten up too bad. I'm lucky to have supportive friends like Namnezia and PLS to make me feel better about freaking out. Here are their responses to one of my tweets (read from the bottom up):

Fig. 1: thanks, guys...I think

That's right. I might be peaking in my freaking. Awesome. While I duke it out with this grant, though, I realize that some of you out there are having your own struggles. One tweet earlier today caught my attention, from @dr_gena:

I agree with PLS's reaction to this that turning down an interview isn't really a good idea. Negotiating a two-body problem can be tough, even if the other body is not looking for a spot on the tenure-track. And it may very well be that there is not really anything for Body #2 at this institution. But (as mentioned by @SciTriGirl), interviews are about more than just trying to get a job. Interviewing for tenure-track positions is a networking gold mine. You will get to speak to a lot of people, some who are very important. You will automatically be on the radar as a person that is "good" (I mean, you interviewed in their Dept., right?) and as a new independent PI. So I say, go to interviews. You never really know what is going to happen until it does. There can be surprises. At the very least you get practice interviewing, have a chance to market yourself and may even get an offer that you can use for negotiating.

My advice: keep your options open, and don't limit your possibilities before you even have the offer.

What do you all think? Are there good reasons NOT to accept an interview when you are on the job market?

 

 

 

18 responses so far

GOOOOOOO Labbies!!

Background info: I played a lot of sports as a youngster, but I was never a cheerleader.

One of the crazy things you have to learn to do when you start up a lab is figure out how to keep people motivated and productive. I am certainly not an expert in this area, and I'm sure that I have made some real mistakes. But, the general approach I have been using is to try to emulate some of the great mentors that I have had. Many of these were not ever my actual lab PI, but they are folks that I have talked to about mentoring and lab management or witnessed vicariously through friends that were in their lab.

So, what did I learn that I am trying to use in my own lab? Well, (obv) everyone is different, so you can't have the same mentoring relationship with all the peeps. But in general, I try to be a cheerleader. This was explicit advice from one of my most-trusted mentoring mentors. I give advice, and try to nudge folks to do what I want. But often I just try to encourage the peeps if they are having difficulty nailing down an experimental result, finishing a fellowship application, or whatever. Because sometimes doing science is hard. It can be discouraging, particularly as a new student. I have good students in my lab. They are smart and work hard. Most of the time I just have to cheer and stay out of the way. This does NOT mean that I am not critical with the folks in my lab. If you fuck up, you'll know. We have discussions on areas in which they need more work. But this is all in the realm of constructive criticism.

I was thinking about this recently because of an interesting interaction I had when I was talking to another Asst. Prof I had called to get a reference for someone that had applied to be a postdoc in my lab. This was the second person I had talked to on the phone about Dr. PD App, and everyone was very enthusiastic. But I was asking open-ended questions and trying to see if there were any red flags (or strengths/weaknesses that I should know about if s/he was in my lab). In the course of this discussion, Asst. Prof mentioned was talking about how independent Dr. PD App was and how s/he had never needed a lot of "cheerleading". This was meant as a compliment to indicate that they were very self-motivated and persistent even when shit didn't go their way. Fair enough-score 1 for Dr. PD App! What was surprising is that Asst. Prof went on to lament about how many of his students did need cheerleading and how this was one of the most exhausting and irritating parts of his new job as the head of a lab.

I totally agree that learning to manage people in the lab can be overwhelming. But..."irritating"? Not so much. I rely on the folks in my lab to be productive so that I can write papers and grants and get tenure. In return, they get an education and a chance to develop as a young scientist. Sure, I didn't have any formal management training before I moved from the bench into the office. It is a lot of work (and pressure), but it is also rewarding. I guess I didn't really mind taking on the role as lab cheerleader.

What do you think - is cheerleading is part of being a good mentor?

 

 

12 responses so far

Did I just get dumped?

May 05 2011 Published by under academia, jr faculty, tenure-track OTJT

I got along well with my postdoc advisor. We worked well together, and he was very supportive of me as a trainee. When I started in the lab, we talked about my goal was to land a TT job. I started up a couple of new projects in the lab, and we agreed that I would take these with me when I left. Years passed, I wrote papers and fellowships, blah blah blah. I don't know if I would say my PD advisor was The Best Mentor, but I really think that I got what I needed out of the relationship. Then I went on the job market, and managed to wriggle into a position as an Assistant Professor. YAY!

And THIS is when my relationship with pd adviser started to get weird. All of the sudden, it became very difficult for me to have a normal conversation with PD advisor. When we chat, I keep getting the feeling that he is being very guarded. I asked him what was going on, and he basically said that he felt like I needed "some space". He seems to think that having too much interaction with my pd advisor will make it seem that I am not Independent.

To be clear: I am not trying to maintain collaborations with my old lab. But one thing that I have found is that being a new Asst. Prof can be a little...well...lonely. My colleagues are actually great, and I talk with them a lot. But no one has the same insight and background for talking about my specific research like my old pd advisor. And, though I am building my own group, right now there are times when I really miss the scientific interactions that I was used to as a postdoc. In short, I just don't understand how having a conversation with my pd advisor every 6-8 weeks is impeding my quest for Independence.

It has been exceedingly difficult for me to get him to sit down and submit the last couple of papers I have been working on. We finally got one submitted, but it was like pulling teeth. Even more than usual, I am NOT looking forward to dealing with the reviews. I have another manuscript in progress that I am also sort of dreading. This is a project that I started in PD lab, but most (60-75%) of the work was done in my own lab by my students. I will be senior and/or corresponding author, but since pd advisor will still be an author (I assume), there is the real possibility that he could make the whole thing a little more painful. Or at least slower.

And then, a few weeks ago I went to the same Conference as a new student in pd's lab. In the course of this meeting, it became clear that my pd advisor was continuing to work on one of the projects that we had agreed I would take with me for my own lab. I was floored. I am apparently now competing with my old pd advisor 🙁 I really did NOT see that coming. My colleague friends around here have advised me that I should pretty much quit talking to my old advisor, to reduce the likelihood that I get "scooped". AAAARGH!

So, WTF? I'm still trying to figure out exactly what is going on. Is this a normal "birth pang" of starting up a new lab?

 

EDIT: I had to add this, sent to me on the twitter by @kzelnio 🙂

36 responses so far

the chalk talk (archived from LabSpaces)

Dec 05 2010 Published by under tenure-track OTJT

originally posted 11 Dec 2010

In a recent post, I threw out a few tips regarding the academic job search. In the comments, Odyssey raised a super point:

I'd like to emphasize the importance of the chalk talk. If you don't nail it, you're screwed. It's really, really important to show you've thought about what you're going to do and how you're going to try to fund things.

This was followed by requests for me to write a post about what goes into a chalk talk. I love it when I get input on topics, so of course I'm going to oblige!! But first you have to go read PhysioProf's excellent post on this exact topic. While you are at it, you should read his other posts on the job search. And also go visit drdrA at Blue Lab Coats. There are a whole host of fantastic posts on the job search, interviews, negotiating, etc. Read them all!

Go ahead, I'll wait.

 

Alright then. So, after your reading you will understand that the chalk talk is much different than the job talk. And in many cases, even more important. Job talks can be practiced and perfected. But you can't fake a chalk talk. It is one of the best ways to separate the top applicant from all the others. The chalk talk is your chance to convince the faculty that not only have you done well (in the past) but you have a real plan to be succesful in the future. And that you have really, really thought about how you want to run your own lab.

Going into the chalk-talk, you should be prepared to go through your first R01 application (but you knew that from your previous reading, right?). Based on my experiences, you should actually have reasonable plans (with timelines) for 2 R01 applications. You need to be able to demonstrate that you have thought about how graduate students and postdocs will have projects that will get your shit done. And that you know how to split these projects up into Aims for grants that will be fundable. Make it clear that you have thought about the timeline to get preliminary data, publish papers, etc. in order to be able to submit competetive grant applications.

Be prepared to answer these kinds of questions (in addition to attacks of your science, as in CPP):
-What will your first graduate student work on?
-What are the first papers that will come out of your lab? (hint: they better be preliminary data)
-When do you plan to write your first grant?
-Who would want to fund your research? (NIH? which institute?)
-How is your field? What makes your research unique in your field, and how can you compete against established labs (including your postdoc mentor)?

OK, assuming that you have thought about all of these things, what do you actually do when you are standing in front of the room? Everyone will have their own style, of course. I have seen 10-15 chalk talks (not including the ones I have given), because at my postdoc institute anyone that was interested could go to the chalk talk. The most common way to fail is to get defensive with the questions, or otherwise be an ass. So don't do that. Always be polite and answer every question with data and logic, no matter how "mean" it is.

This was my strategy: Before the chalk talk, I wrote the "title" of three projects across the top of the board. Each of these was an R01 (some more developed than others). Below each title I wrote 3-5 Aims. At the beginning of the talk I spent 5 min recapping the highlights of my postdoc research that were most important for what I wanted to talk about. My first "grant" was based largely on my K99 (clearly fundable!). I added a couple of Aims that I could see being the basis of the follow up R01. I also highlighted aspects that I could submit for the fancy foundation fellowships. My second application had a reasonable amount of preliminary data to support it. The third was less developed, but I had a few unpublished observations that were the key data. When it was time to start, I launched into the first project: experimental approaches, pitfalls, alternatives, what I expected to find, etc. This went pretty quick, because it was already funded. Then I started in on the second grant. This almost always took the rest of the hour, so I almost never even got to #3, which was OK because I think the main point is that I had thought about it. (I was actually freaked out about this, but several people told me that I did a super job, so it was apparently OK).

There were always a lot of questions. One of my current colleagues told me that they "threw hardballs right at my head". So be prepared. I actually really like these kinds of audiences, and my postdoc had given me plenty of practice. So I had a lot of fun. But it was intense.

Anywho, I hope that clears up the chalk talk. If I missed something, you know where to find me!

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today I had to fire someone (archived from LabSpaces)

Dec 05 2010 Published by under tenure-track OTJT

originally posted 2 Dec 2010

Today I had to fire someone. Well, actually I had to tell one of my lab peeps (let's call him Al) that they would only have a job for a few more months. This is not because Al sucks. Al helped me get my lab up and running and, though not a rock-star, has been solid. No, Al did not do anything wrong.

But I had to let Al go. Because the grant that was paying for Al is running out of money. And I was faced with a choice. Between keeping Al around or taking on another grad student. I thought hard about this, and I really think this is the right decision of my lab. Al was helpful in starting out, but the grad students I am considering are smart and motivated. And they can get on training grants.

So there you have it. I told Al because I wanted him to have as much time as possible to find another gig. But it sucked. It is the first time I have had someone in my office fighting to hold back tears.

I need a beer

One response so far

the joy of the interview (archived from LabSpaces)

Dec 05 2010 Published by under tenure-track OTJT

originally posted 29 Nov 2010

We are entering the season of the job interviews for folks that are looking for a tenure-track job this year. Just 1 year ago -almost exactly!- I was myself on my very first interview. So, as a service to folks going through the interview process this year, including our very own LabSpaces Aces, Dr. Becca (WOO HOO, Dr. Becca!!), I decided to share some survival tips*.

The TT job interview is usually  2-day ordeal. Over the course of the interview you will give a seminar to the dept., talk to many faculty members and perhaps give a chalk talk. You should get an itenerary before you visit so that you know what to expect. The first day will usually start between 8 and 9 am (depending on if someone takes you to breakfast). TIP #1: Every interaction is part of the interview. From the first moment that you start interacting with the department arranging travel, in fact. So don't be a douche! Don't be rude to the secretarial staff, don't blow off random student interactions in the hallways, etc.

In all the interviews I went on, your first meeting will be with the Dept. Chair, who will talk to you about the dept. and university environment and perhaps show you some lab space.This is very exciting, but don't get too worked up. You have a long day ahead! You seminar "job talk" will usually be on the first day. TIP #2: Give a fantastic talk. Practice it in advance, and get feedback from everyone you can. Especially people that have sat on a search committee recently. It is also good to get some old-timers to give you feedback. There will undoubtedly be some of these in your new dept., and they vote! Sometimes, the deadwood old-timers may throw around a lot of weight. Your job talk may also be used to judge your potential as a teacher (unless you are on an interview where you have to teach a class. I've heard of these, but have no experience with them whatsoever). So make sure it is clear, logical and easy to follow. The job talk is slightly different than a normal seminar. It is not just about data. Your job is to get the faculty excited about your problem, your approaches and YOU! This may be the only time you get to interact with some of the people that will be voting on the hiring decision. Spend time on background to set up the "big picture" of your research and why it is awesome. Folks are probably going to be sitting through a lot of these talks, so make yours memorable (in a good way). Tell a story that gives me a sense of what you are interested in doing and how you approach your science. Do not try to beat me into submission with data slides. Show me how your career so far has set you up to be succesful. BE EXCITED ABOUT YOUR WORK! And most importantly, whatever you do: TIP #3 DO NOT GO OVER TIME. In fact, end your talk early (aim for 45-50 min). You want to give everyone a chance to ask questions. The more questions, the better. Questions mean that your audience is engaged and are interacting with you. Win!

TIP #4: Bring water. Seriously, you will be talking for 10-12 h straight. Very few people will offer you anything to drink. I carried a 1L bottle and was still totally dehydrated by the end of the day. You may also want to bring some snacks. or Gu. I am not kidding. The job interview is like a marathon - it just keeps going. Also, you probably won't get to eat much lunch. I mean, there will be food for you. But you will also be talking to someone over lunch-maybe even a whole group of grad students. So don't expect to eat much. I was in the middle of training for a marathon when I was on interviews, and it sucked!

When you are going from office to office for the 1-on-1 interviews, your job is to show them that you will be a good colleague. You don't necessarily have to already be an expert on their work, but you have to be able to have a good conversation. The may ask you about your seminar or go straight into what they work on. I know some folks spend a lot of energy reading everything from everyone in the department. I didn't do this. I figured that I can talk about science with anyone, so I didn't do much interview-specific reading. But I am really comfortable asking questions about all sorts of random things. If you need some background, then read away. TIP #5: do not look at your watch/clock. I know you want to stay on time, but this is not your problem. It is the responsibility of the person you are speaking with to get you to the next place on time.

The chalk-talk can seem intimidating, but it is the most fun part of the interview IMO. About 75% of interviews that I am familiar with do a chalk-talk. These are informal presentations to the faculty (and sometimes others) about your future research directions. They are usually on day 2. I highly recommend that you DO NOT bring slides for your chalk-talk, even if you are allowed to. Your goal in a chalk-talk is to show the committee that you have thought about how you are going to organize your lab and funding. In my field, a common framework is to lay out the aims for your first 1-2 R01 applications (One of my interviews told me to be prepared to talk about 4-5 proposals!!). Be prepared to discuss how the projects will be split into graduate student projects. A common question I heard was "what will your first rotation student work on?". The audience will interrupt you to ask questions that challenge your approach, background, etc. The most important advice: TIP #6: DO NOT GET DEFENSIVE. Even if the questions are very aggresive or even hostile. Be receptive and responsive to criticism but stand up for yourself (respectfully). Try to control the room so that you don't get off topic, but don't be crushed if you don't get to everything you want to talk about. It is more important to show that you can interact with the other faculty.

During the course of your interview you will be asked many, many times if you have any questions. TIP #7: ask questions! But use some common sense - this is not the time to start negotiating for startup. It is appropriate, however, to ask about things like environment (Do you collaborate with anyone in the dept.? What about other depts. in the university? How are collaborations viewed wrt tenure decisions? Is there a faculty seminar series?) or shared resources (can I get access to the fancy machine? How is it maintained? Can I see it? Is is ridiculously expensive?) or grad students (are they good? Are the admitted directly to the dept. or an umbrella program? are there training grants?). It is important that you determine if you can be succesful at the place you are visiting.

TIP #8 Have fun.This is a rare opportunity. You will have many smart people that will spend 20-30 min focused exclusively on you and your work. Besides the interview, this is a networking dream! So try to relax and have some fun with all the attention Smile

 

 

*OBVIOUS DISCLAIMER: these are based on my own experiences, or of those people I talk to. Your experiences may vary. Please feel free to add in tips that I mis in the comments!

 

PS: I am sure that there are a lot of other great posts on interview strategies out there. But I didn't have time to track them down. Please link in the comments! Much appreciated.

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if you were an incoming graduate student... (archived from LabSpaces)

Dec 05 2010 Published by under tenure-track OTJT

originally posted 2 Nov 2010

I'm looking for some insight from folks out there that are (or interact with) new graduate students. You see, I would really, really like to get 1 or 2 good students this year to get my lab kick-started. Where I'm at there are several sources of students: the department, a MD/PhD program, and 3 different multidisciplinary "umbrella programs". In order to get any of these students to join my lab, I first need to convince them to rotate. I've done pretty well getting attention from the students in my home department. But it is really difficult to find a way to interact with these umbrella programs as a n00b faculty. But the other day I got my "in". One of these programs, that has really good students, is having a poster session*.

Now, I know how to make good posters, IMHO. And I'm familiar with Dr. Zen's excellent advice. The thing that sort of trips me up is the whole "new grad student" part. What are they thinking? How can I get them excited about my lab? It has been a while since I was a new grad student, and I never had PIs standing next to a poster to woo me. It has also been a while since I spent a lot of time with new grad students. There weren't all that many students at Big Postdoc Inst. I've kind of been in a bubble, student-wise.

So here's my question: what should one include on a poster to get new graduate students excited and convince them to rotate in my lab?


OK, I'm sorry. There is no bacon in this post. But I do love bacon. Yummmm.

*It's like a bizarro-world "social". The PIs are supposed to stand up and give posters and the students mill about getting "familiar" with the faculty. I assume only new faculty go to these things, but I have no idea really.

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