Postdoctoral Training and Intelligent Design: If We Want to Attract the Best Students to Science and Nurture Their Talent Most Effectively, We Need to Rethink the Current System

By Finneran, Kevin | Issues in Science and Technology, Winter 2005 | Go to article overview

Postdoctoral Training and Intelligent Design: If We Want to Attract the Best Students to Science and Nurture Their Talent Most Effectively, We Need to Rethink the Current System


Finneran, Kevin, Issues in Science and Technology


"Kids, I'm here today to tell you why you should become scientists. In high school, while your friends are taking classes such as the meaning of the swim suit in contemporary TV drama, you can be taking biology, chemistry, physics, and calculus. College will be the same, except the labs will take a lot more time. After that, it gets better. While your classmates who go to law school or business school will be out on the street in three years looking for work, you can look forward to seven to eight years of graduate study and research. Sure, many of your college buddies will be earning more than $100,000 a year, but a few will be scraping by on $60,000.

Don't be impatient, because your day will come. When you earn your Ph.D. and celebrate your 30th birthday, you still don't have to get a real job. You can be a postdoc. This means you can spend an additional three to five years working in a campus lab, but now you will be paid for it. That's right, $30,000 or even $40,000 a year--almost half what your 23-year-old little sister with a B.E. in chemical engineering will be earning. You won't have health benefits, but you will be so hardened by your Spartan lifestyle that you will never get sick. And you won't be eligible for parental leave, but you won't have the time or the money to have a baby anyway.

When the postdoc finally ends and you're wondering if you'll ever spend any time away from a big research university, salvation is nigh. You see, there are very few tenure track positions at the university, so you will have the opportunity to develop new skills and look for other types of jobs. While your hapless contemporaries are already becoming bored with their careers, anxious about their teenage children, and worried about the size of their retirement accounts, you will be fresh, childless, and free of the burden of wealth. There used to be a TV ad that promised that 'Life begins at 40.' For you it could be true."

The past decade has seen a rising tide of concern about postdoctoral research appointments, and with good reason. The fundamental promise of postdoctoral study--that one would move into a tenure track faculty position at a research university after completing what was essentially a research apprenticeship--has been broken. For far too many talented and hardworking young scientists, the postdoctoral appointment has become an underpaid and overworked form of indentured service that seldom leads to a faculty job and is poor preparation for alternative careers. Although no one has bothered to collect detailed information on what happens to these young people, the best estimate is that only 10 percent grab the golden ring of a faculty position in a major research university. What happens to the rest is open to conjecture.

In a country where everyone believes that science and engineering are vital to the nation's economic prosperity, national security, and personal health, where we make enormous efforts to give the very young the skills to succeed in these fields, where we agonize at our inability to attract enough students (particularly women and minorities) to scientific careers, and where we provide a demanding undergraduate and graduate education to weed out the less qualified and less motivated, how is it possible that we treat this rare and precious resource of gifted, disciplined, and motivated Ph. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Postdoctoral Training and Intelligent Design: If We Want to Attract the Best Students to Science and Nurture Their Talent Most Effectively, We Need to Rethink the Current System
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.