Debbie Knight

A Day in the Life: August 9, 2012

In A Day in the Life, research log on August 9, 2012 at 9:00 am

From time to time, I will give a glimpse into the “glamorous” life of a research associate and talk about what I’m doing in the lab on a particular day. These entries I will call “A Day in the Life…”

One of the benefits to working at my university it that I can take classes for free. In fact, that’s how I earned my master’s degree several years ago.

I am currently working toward a journalism degree on a part-time basis. The goal is to become a science writer in some shape or form.

As I advance through the curriculum, the courses are more demanding and time-consuming. It has become a major undertaking to balance my research performance with my coursework. And there are times when I’ve had to put my coursework on hold while I push to complete experiments needed for grant proposal and/or manuscript submissions.

I am at such a cross roads for the fall semester.

The grant funding we have will run out the middle of next year. Because my job depends on grant money, if we are not able to get more grant funding (something that is increasingly difficult to get these days), I will have to leave the lab in which I work.

This thought makes my stomach turn a little queasy.

The grant funding depends on submitting a grant proposal (or two) that is scored in the upper atmosphere of scores. It has to be that good. Olympic games good. And to get it to be that good, it requires great ideas with great data to back it. And a whole lot of luck.

So my quandary: taking the class would keep me on track and put me in a good position to switch my career from working in the lab (which I love) to working in some form of science communication at the university (something I think I would love, but have yet to test). But cranking on data could buy me more time in the lab setting and more time to take classes later.

I’ve made a pros and cons list. And things are coming out pretty evenly.

It seems a gamble either way.

I’m not sure what I’ll choose. But I suspect I’ll place an “all in”  bet on research.

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  1. Keep working hard, Debbie.
    It’s cool that you get to take free classes. Would Journalism be your 2nd M.S.? What was your first?

    • My master’s is in Pathobiology. However, the journalism degree I’m working toward is a bachelor’s (I had nothing to master in journalism when I started) 🙂

  2. Good luck with the grant Debbie, I wish you could keep going with your research 🙂

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