[FUN_Mail] Alternative careers in Neurosci for undergrads ...

Hildebrand, John G - (jhildebr) jhildebr at email.arizona.edu
Thu Oct 5 11:38:49 EDT 2017

Fellow FUNsters,

My advice on this topic is as follows: Don't refer to "alternative careers." I have been offering mentoring sessions on the subject for many year, especially at the MBL in Woods Hole, and I have learned that students at all levels prefer my approach. I discuss with them the huge range of potential career paths for which a baccalaureate or advanced degree in a life science can prepare them. I lead discussions of the different terms of engagement in diverse careers, the pros and cons, the tradeoffs, the rewards, the challenges and excitement of various options. If the students have been educated correctly, they are problem-solvers and critical thinkers who potentially could thrive in any of many careers. An academic career like mine (or yours) is only one of the many paths open to the students. Using "alternative" to describe non-academic careers is discouraging to students, especially those who already aspire to non-academic work. Finally, what really matters, in my view, is that each student find and thrive in a career path that is exciting and fulfilling for that student - no matter how dramatically it differs from a traditional academic career.

Best wishes, John Hildebrand

John G. Hildebrand, Ph.D.
Foreign Secretary, U.S. National Academy of Sciences
Regents Professor
Department of Neuroscience
University of Arizona
PO Box 210077
1040 East 4th St.
Tucson  AZ  85721-0077, USA
tel: 520-621-6626
fax: 520-621-8282
email: <jhildebr at email.arizona.edu>
Website: http://neurosci.arizona.edu/

From: FUN_Mail [mailto:fun_mail-bounces at lists.funfaculty.org] On Behalf Of Malchow, Robert Paul
Sent: Thursday, October 05, 2017 7:15 AM
To: fun_mail at lists.funfaculty.org
Subject: [FUN_Mail] Alternative careers in Neurosci for undergrads ...

Greetings, fellow FUN members,

Each spring, we hold an Alternative Careers talk for our 140 Neuroscience undergraduate majors.  Past talks have focused on jobs in the pharmaceutical companies and in bioengineering companies developing electrophysiological equipment and making prosthetics.  Often, we find that these get pitched with the assumption that students will go on to PhD programs before considering an alternative career.

This year, we would specifically like to focus on what Undergraduates with a BA/BS in Neuroscience can do.  Potential ideas for this year are working for non-profits (museums, perhaps) or science writing.

Suggestions for good contacts for these?   Other potential areas that would be worth considering?


Robert Paul Malchow, Ph.D.
Director, UIC Laboratory of Integrative Neuroscience
Master Teacher, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Associate Professor, Biological Sciences & Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences
University of Illinois at Chicago
Summer Scientist and Whitman Investigator, Marine Biological Laboratory
phone 312-413-1552
email: paulmalc at uic.edu<mailto:paulmalc at uic.edu>

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