Life After the Ph.D.: Finding a Post-Doctoral Fellowship

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					“Life After the Ph.D.: Finding a Post-Doctoral Fellowship”

Interview and Follow-up
Donna H. Korzick, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Physiology and Kinesiology The Pennsylvania State University EB 2004

Interview and Follow-up

The Interview
Preparation for you visit: homework
During your visit: listen and ask questions


The Follow-Up
After your visit: homework


The Negotiation: salary, moving expenses, etc

III. The Decision

How Long Does a PostDoctoral Experience Last?
2 – 5 years Usually in one place Years 1-2: learn new techniques (tools in the toolbox) low risk project handed to you Years 3-5: high risk project make the project “your own” find YOUR niche Remember: Your #1 competition will be your Ph.D. advisor, find your niche

Preparing for the Interview
Get an itinerary beforehand (communicate with the secretary/administrative assistant)

Do your homework Become familiar with the individuals on your itinerary Perform a literature search/know their research Have you been asked to give a seminar? Obtain information on the type of room in which you will be presenting (large vs small group) Know your audience and plan ahead

During Your Visit
 Listen carefully -To what is said and unsaid - Be attentive  Ask questions of current trainees -examples
“What is an average day like in the lab?” “ Do you meet with Dr. _____ often?” “What kind of projects are you working on?”

Questions You Should Ask Any Potential Post-Doctoral Mentor
Where will you fit in the general scheme of the lab? To Whom will you report? your mentor? some middle-management flunky? How much freedom/flexibility will you have? What is his/her vision/goals for you?

Questions You Should Ask Any Potential Post-Doctoral Mentor, cont.
 Low Risk vs High Risk Projects – make them articulate this plan

 What is their philosophy on training post-doc’s?  Other career development issues: -Publishing -Grant writing individual NRSA transition awards (NIH KO1, AHA SDG)

The Follow-Up: After Your Visit
 Thank you letter - avoid overly effusive language - be honest with a timeline for your decision
 Talk to previous trainees about “what it’s really like” - get names from potential mentor - what they tell you or don’t tell you means alot!

 Get input from your current mentor
 Get input from senior investigators in the field about the mentor/laboratory

How Do You Negotiate An Offer Once a Mentor has been Identified?
Things you should eventually ask about/expect:

- “When and How” do you ask for this stuff? - Moving Expenses (this can be done by asking to start your salary one month earlier if moving expenses are not customary) - Guaranteed two years of support NIH Stipend: $35,568 (0 years experience) - Supplemental Pay: cost of living? - Full Benefit Package - Travel to at least one meeting/year

The Decision: How Do you Select the Perfect PostDoctoral Mentor?
 Follow Your Heart!  Environment/Resources  What is his/her reputation  Big Lab vs Little Lab? Lots of pressure vs less pressure  Pedigree goes a long way and opens doors!  Talk to people at meetings – What kind of reputation does he/she have?

Korzick’s Words of Wisdom
Good post-doc’s write their ticket…. Take advantage of every and any opportunity that comes your way – you’ll never have that much freedom again! Publish Publish Publish Get your own NRSA Get a career development award to take with you! Demonstrate independence and creativity every chance you get Always do MORE than you are asked Don’t be afraid to do something different – nothing is permanent!

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