Author Topic: Advice on Science Career Paths  (Read 4172 times)

Offline redliox

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Advice on Science Career Paths
« on: 03/22/2021 07:48 pm »
I'm interested in pursuing a science career; for example becoming a principal investigator.

Currently what I'm stuck with is a slightly lame Associate of Arts from a community college in Illinois.  Since then I've moved to Arizona and want to devote myself to increasing my skills and knowledge; but if the best route is to follow what you love my love is for planets, the possibility of alien life, and finding ways for humans to explore and possibly settle the planets.  Those are not easy to translate into average-joe skills.

I'm going to work my way up to the Earth and Space Exploration program in ASU and aim to somehow at least get a Bachelor of Science with them with Astrobiology as a focus.  However I want to know what helps best in addition to a Bachelor's or Master's degree and what otherwise would be wise to steer onto an academic career path in Arizona.

On a side-note, the job I am starting involves working in a clean room, which I hope becomes a handy reference point.
"Let the trails lead where they may, I will follow."
-Tigatron

Offline Jim

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Re: Advice on Science Career Paths
« Reply #1 on: 03/22/2021 08:11 pm »
I'm interested in pursuing a science career; for example becoming a principal investigator.

Currently what I'm stuck with is a slightly lame Associate of Arts from a community college in Illinois.  Since then I've moved to Arizona and want to devote myself to increasing my skills and knowledge; but if the best route is to follow what you love my love is for planets, the possibility of alien life, and finding ways for humans to explore and possibly settle the planets.  Those are not easy to translate into average-joe skills.

I'm going to work my way up to the Earth and Space Exploration program in ASU and aim to somehow at least get a Bachelor of Science with them with Astrobiology as a focus.  However I want to know what helps best in addition to a Bachelor's or Master's degree and what otherwise would be wise to steer onto an academic career path in Arizona.

On a side-note, the job I am starting involves working in a clean room, which I hope becomes a handy reference point.

PIs are typically PhDs that are published and have worked other missions as grad student and as a new Dr.

Offline awbyrdjr

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Re: Advice on Science Career Paths
« Reply #2 on: 03/22/2021 08:49 pm »
Get that B.S. to start.  Treat studying and attending class like a second full-time job so you can keep your grades up and get into a good Ph.D. program.

A part-time job in ASU's astronomy department will introduce you to a lot of people who are already doing the job you want to do and can give you advice on how to achieve your goal.  ASU probably has some internal website designed to hook undergrads up with these jobs.  Meeting people in the planetary science community is going to be super important so start early.  If a part-time job doesn't arise, find an excuse to hang around the department a lot.

As you approach graduation, apply for Ph.D. programs.  Get in to a good one - the faculty in the ASU astronomy department can tell you which ones.  Research, find cool unsolved problems, research more, publish.  Work on projects: ground-based observations, unmanned probes, whatever manned stuff might be going on.  Keep making new friends in the planetary science community.  The old saw about what-you-know vs. who-you-know applies in academia as well as anywhere else.

Write your dissertation, defend it, get minted a shiny new Ph.D.  Nothing really changes lifestyle-wise.  If you're lucky, get a job as an entry-level professor, if not, be a postdoc or a researcher or whatever they're calling it by then at a university.  Keep researching, keep publishing, keep writing proposals, keep making friends.  Make yourself a known and respectable figure to a lot of people and you'll get pulled along into missions that get approved and funded.

It's a long road, and hard work won't get you there along - you'll need a little luck too.  But if you're genuinely interested in science and academia, it'll at least be interesting and fun.

Offline peterhend

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Re: Advice on Science Career Paths
« Reply #3 on: 08/12/2021 05:14 pm »
You have great goals, my friend. If you work hard, you will succeed in your business, and I see that you have it in you. And I'm currently thinking about which trade school to enroll in. I was advised by teachers from my high school, a site where you can find many trade schools for yourself https://www.onlytradeschools.com/. However, I'm thinking about who I should study and what profession to choose because it's so difficult. I am very jealous of people like you who know what they want from this life and have goals that they then achieve. I admire you because you decided to devote your life to science, and this causes me great respect.
« Last Edit: 08/20/2021 10:10 am by peterhend »

 

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