The most important things are people and ideas. They are transcendental. People working at their full capacity can do anything. Ideas can change everything.
Deji Akinwande stressed people and ideas in our interview. He is an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Texas at Austin and was awarded a 2016 Presidential (PECASE) Award by President Obama.
His three pieces of advice for graduate students:
- Invest in and nurture your ideas
- Networking is critical
- Communication, communication, communication
An immunologist and science policy analyst, Dr. Kenneth (Kenny) Gibbs offers three pieces of advice for graduate students. These are his views alone and do not represent official views of the NIH or National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), where he is currently working as a Program Analyst in the Office of Program Planning, Analysis and Evaluation. His opinions were shaped in grad school and by his research on STEM Ph.D. and postdoc career decisions.
Kenny offers three pieces of advice.
- Remember that Ph.Ds. are beginnings not endings.
- Go to a school and work with an advisor where you can see yourself doing well as a person.
- Manuscripts (and theses) only get written when you write them.
“I don’t want to be a faculty member.” This realization dawned during the first two years of Stacy Hartman’s PhD program. Forthrightly, she told one of her faculty advisors, who encouraged her to explore other options. Today, after finishing her PhD in German Studies in five years, she is leading the Connected Academics program for the Modern Language Association. Located in New York City, the MLA is the professional association for scholars in English studies and modern languages. But bear in mind that the advice Stacy offers is her own, not the MLA’s.
Stacy offers three pieces of advice for graduate students:
- Manage your time. Your day-to-day time, but also your time in graduate school.
- Talk to people. Lots of people. Lots of different kinds of people.
- Do what you need to do to feel positively about yourself. A positive attitude toward your job search is not only helpful but necessary.