1. Why did you select this individual to interview?
I selected the graduate student from my lab, Sara Sabihi to interview. I did this because although I have talked to several physicians and health care staff about their career, I wanted to get insight from someone in a different field, academia. I feel it is important to explore all of the options available in order to make an informed decision.
2. Describe the major responsibilities associated with their current role.
Sara has many responsibilities as a graduate student and she was able to provide me with a lot of information about what it is truly like to be a graduate student day in and day out. On top of designing experiments and planning projects, she completes all aspects of each research project including surgeries, ordering animals, slicing brains, mounting brain slices, staining and counting cells, analyzing data, writing up papers for publication, and managing a team of undergrads.
3. Discuss how the person prepared for this role, and if they provided you with any advice as what you might be able to do to prepare for a similar career.
Sara said that she originally was preparing for dental school, but found that her interests changed and she decided to pursue a PhD in Neuroscience. As a result, she emphasized the importance of research during undergrad and suggested that I continue my involvement in lab if I decide a career in research is right for me. She suggested that I also take classes that are related to neuroscience but different, in order to gain experience in fields that I previously would not have thought of. Sara was very clear that I should only pursue graduate school if I am absolutely certain that I love research, since graduate school is so long and arduous.
4. Summarize any insights from the interview that might be helpful in your academic or career preparation.
From talking to Sara during the interview and on a repeated basis, I have gotten a much better understanding of what it is like to actually pursue a PhD in neuroscience. Many undergraduate students do not have an entire grasp on all of the different responsibilities of a graduate student. Just because you have an interest in a certain field and like research doesn’t mean it’s something that you should do forever. I have realized that a career in health care working with patients is better suited for me.