Kerry's Korner

what the PhD entails…
June 22, 2007, 10:54 PM
Filed under: grad school

Here is a copy of an email I sent to a group I am on since there seemed to be a general lack of understanding/knowledge as to how the PhD program is set up and what it entails.

OK, so the way a PhD works in the Biological Sciences…. in my case Immunology and Microbial Diseases…

You have a BS and maybe a MS – or really good grades, references and GRE scores with your BS (which was what I did) and apply to all these schools. Most of the upper tier schools with PhDs in Biomedical research offer places in the program that come with garaunteed tuition waivers and stipend support. I only applied to schools that garaunteed support. Some schools require teaching or other various positions in order to receive the support, but not the one I am in.

So, first year students are required to take Biochemistry, Molecular Cell Biology, Immunology and Microbial Diseases. Three lab rotations which involve working in a lab for 10-12 weeks. At the end of the third one you choose the lab you want to stay in as your thesis lab and the PI (primary investigator) will be your mentor for the remainder of your graduate career. Also at the end of the first year are the qualifiers (which I described previously) which must be passed in order to remain in the program.

After 1st year classes are over there are a certain number of electives and upper level “advanced” courses that must be taken over the remainder of your time. The rest of the time you are doing research in the lab, writing your thesis proposal and defending it, writing papers to publish (that are nasty to read if you don’t know what they are talking about) and going to and presenting your work at seminars. Various PIs have different requirements for when you are “ready” to graduate. In my case, my mentor is one of the tougher and I have to have 3 papers published that are at least the quality of a particular journal. Dept regs say 1 paper. Then you write and defend your thesis and finally graduate anywhere from 4 – 7 years after you

Lab research is FT plus… doesn’t follow the business clock and can be very frustrating and exasperating… and is also the coolest thing in the world!

So, in case you were wondering, too, here you go…. 🙂

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June 20, 2007, 10:42 PM
Filed under: Uncategorized


I PASSED!!!!!!!

Part II is done. I do need to redo the paper and resubmit it, but that is OK.

I cannot begin to explain to you how absolutely relieved I am.

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this is good
June 18, 2007, 10:51 PM
Filed under: Uncategorized

You have to see/hear this one…

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Last game of the season…
June 17, 2007, 9:03 PM
Filed under: Uncategorized

I have to hand it to them… Mitch’s coaches took a group of girls and turned them into a pretty good team 🙂 The league divided the teams for playoff – the top half ranked had their own set and the bottom half had playoffs. These girls – quite a few had never played before – did poorly the beginning of the season. By the end of the season the games were lower scores and they won a few. They went to play offs and won them all – they are the champs for the lower division. I heard one of the coaches say he thought our team had to be the most improved overall.

They played great – and they were SOOOOO excited!!!

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Mitch’s trip to the Bronx Zoo
June 17, 2007, 8:35 AM
Filed under: Uncategorized

Mitch and I went to the Bronx Zoo last Thursday (6/8) with her class from school. Here are the pictures from the day…

It is a private album, if you don’t know the password and need it – email me. I will only give it to you if I know you 🙂

Photobucket Album

time for an update
June 16, 2007, 8:13 PM
Filed under: Uncategorized

Wal-Mart – sent my order to a different store, picked up my photos. Whew. One down.

Paper – finished and handed in. Afraid it isn’t what it should be. The whole thing is so new to me, I wasn’t sure what was appropriate to do. I’m a little concerned.

Remember I said I passed part I? Well, it wasn’t like I passed with flying colors or anything. I needed a 70 and made a 77.3. I’m not much for blaming anything but me – and mostly, it was me. I didn’t put the effort into it that I should. I didn’t target my studying logically. I also have a much harder time at completely ignoring my family than I thought I might. I don’t want anyone miserable, but I thought for a couple weeks until I got through this…. but no, I don’t seem to do that well… I need an office – as in a “go and close the door away from everyone” office. My closet room I’m using right now just isn’t cutting it.

Anyway – 2 of the 5 of us have to repeat a secion of that first exam. Not what they want to do, but for one of them it is kind of funny…. we needed a 70 overall, minimum of 17.5 on each section (25 pt/section), minimun of 5 on any given question (2 – 12.5 pt questions per section). So, this guy got a 91 overall…. He got a 4 – yes a 4 – on one question. 12.5-4=8.5 and then he lost .5 points on another question. He has to retake that subject because of the 4. Seems not really right, if you ask me… 🙂 He isn’t worried about it, but it is a little frustrating.

So, my last hurdle is to have successfully done my paper and do an oral defense of it.

Praying that I get through it… I need this to be behind me. Really – seriously…

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the Wal-Mart saga…
June 12, 2007, 8:43 AM
Filed under: family, photos, shopping

Still no pictures… apparently the tech guy hasn’t come to fix their machine yet 😦

So, I asked the guy at the counter if he would cancel the order and I would resend it to another WM. He was very nice. I’m sure he had people yelling at him all day about that machine. …not that I yelled, I was very nice to him.

I sent them out last night, so I’ll go pick them up today sometime.

So, my children have 2 new cousins on the way! Chris and Joy are having a baby boy in September or October – I don’t remember which one – and Greg and Lisa are having baby #2 in February – I guess her due date is Paddy’s birthday. So, Esther will have a sibling almost exactly 2 years younger than she is. Have you seen Esther lately? If you are family and know the website – you have to go check out Lisa’s blog. Esther is too cute! …yes, Paddy is, too. Can’t leave him out. MOm has a blog going with Paddy pics and there are some cute ones on there.

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