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Visit Mentors' Round Table to read our interviews of women in the fields of science and health. These are women of varying levels of experience and backgrounds, brought to the table to answer your questions about everything from work-life balance to financial management. Read on, be inspired, and leave them (and us!) a comment!

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PhD Student of Cell Biology

Obtaining a PhD can be a long process, but it can open up many interesting career paths. Below please find an interview with a 3rd year female, Orthodox, PhD student. We hope her responses help you get a better feeling for what life as a PhD student is like. Visit our Research Scientist/PhD career page to learn more about becoming a research scientist.

Interview with a PhD Student (Cell Biology)

What is your career?

I am a 3rd year PhD student in cell biology.

How did you choose your career?

I enjoyed science research as an undergrad.

Were there any obstacles you had to face in your training or later career?

Experiments don't always work as you would like and getting data takes a long time

Have there been any problems in your work life or training that have arisen because of your religion?

I've had to miss some class for Shabbos and Yom Tov (Jewish holidays) but professors are usually understanding.

What do you like best about your career? What do you like least? 

Flexibility. You can make your own schedule and come up with experiments to answer questions that interest you.

Are you married? 

Yes.

Do you have children, how many? 

Yes, 2.

How do you balance family and work life? 

Live close to work, have a supportive husband, a great nanny, and an understanding P.I. (Principle Investigator, the "boss" so to speak).

What does your spouse think about your career? 

He is very supportive.

What does your family think about your career?

They are also supportive.

How do/did you handle the financial stress of training? 

We try to save money and look for good deals.

Are things turning out the way you planned or are they different?

More or less how I planned.

Do you have any advice for students aspiring to be where you are?

Make sure that you really like research before starting out otherwise it will be a long and excruciating 5 years. I enjoyed science research as an undergraduate. This was key.

What is your career? PhD student in Cell Biology
Where are you in your career (training, practicing, residency etc)? 3rd year PhD
How did you choose your career? I enjoyed science research as an undergrad.
Were there any obstacles you had to face in your training or later career? Experiments don't always work as you would like and getting data takes a long time
 
Have there been any problems in your work life or training that have arisen because of your religion? I've had to miss some class for Shabbos and Yom Tov but professors are usually understanding.

How do you handle ethical questions that arise? 
What do you like best about your career? What do you like least? Flexibility. You can make your own schedule and come up with experiments the answer questions that interest you.
Are you married? yes
Do you have children, how many? yes 2 
How do you balance family and work life? Live close to work, have a supportive husband, a great nanny, and an understanding P.I.
What does your spouse think about your career? Supportive
What does your family think about your career? Supportive 
How do/did you handle the financial stress of training? try to save money and look for good deals
Are things turning out the way you planned or are they different? Is your career different than what you expected when you chose it? More or less
Do you have any advice for students aspiring to be where you are? Make sure that you really like research before starting out otherwise it will be a long and excruciating 5 years.
If you could do this over again would you? Is there anything you would change? No I think I would still choose the path I chose.

What is your career? PhD student in Cell Biology
Where are you in your career (training, practicing, residency etc)? 3rd year PhD
How did you choose your career? I enjoyed science research as an undergrad.
Were there any obstacles you had to face in your training or later career? Experiments don't always work as you would like and getting data takes a long time
 
Have there been any problems in your work life or training that have arisen because of your religion? I've had to miss some class for Shabbos and Yom Tov but professors are usually understanding.

How do you handle ethical questions that arise? 
What do you like best about your career? What do you like least? Flexibility. You can make your own schedule and come up with experiments the answer questions that interest you.
Are you married? yes
Do you have children, how many? yes 2 
How do you balance family and work life? Live close to work, have a supportive husband, a great nanny, and an understanding P.I.
What does your spouse think about your career? Supportive
What does your family think about your career? Supportive 
How do/did you handle the financial stress of training? try to save money and look for good deals
Are things turning out the way you planned or are they different? Is your career different than what you expected when you chose it? More or less
Do you have any advice for students aspiring to be where you are? Make sure that you really like research before starting out otherwise it will be a long and excruciating 5 years.
If you could do this over again would you? Is there anything you would change? No I think I would still choose the path I chose.

What is your career? PhD student in Cell Biology
Where are you in your career (training, practicing, residency etc)? 3rd year PhD
How did you choose your career? I enjoyed science research as an undergrad.
Were there any obstacles you had to face in your training or later career? Experiments don't always work as you would like and getting data takes a long time
 
Have there been any problems in your work life or training that have arisen because of your religion? I've had to miss some class for Shabbos and Yom Tov but professors are usually understanding.

How do you handle ethical questions that arise? 
What do you like best about your career? What do you like least? Flexibility. You can make your own schedule and come up with experiments the answer questions that interest you.
Are you married? yes
Do you have children, how many? yes 2 
How do you balance family and work life? Live close to work, have a supportive husband, a great nanny, and an understanding P.I.
What does your spouse think about your career? Supportive
What does your family think about your career? Supportive 
How do/did you handle the financial stress of training? try to save money and look for good deals
Are things turning out the way you planned or are they different? Is your career different than what you expected when you chose it? More or less
Do you have any advice for students aspiring to be where you are? Make sure that you really like research before starting out otherwise it will be a long and excruciating 5 years.
If you could do this over again would you? Is there anything you would change? No I think I would still choose the path I chose.

What is your career? PhD student in Cell Biology
Where are you in your career (training, practicing, residency etc)? 3rd year PhD
How did you choose your career? I enjoyed science research as an undergrad.
Were there any obstacles you had to face in your training or later career? Experiments don't always work as you would like and getting data takes a long time
 
Have there been any problems in your work life or training that have arisen because of your religion? I've had to miss some class for Shabbos and Yom Tov but professors are usually understanding.

How do you handle ethical questions that arise? 
What do you like best about your career? What do you like least? Flexibility. You can make your own schedule and come up with experiments the answer questions that interest you.
Are you married? yes
Do you have children, how many? yes 2 
How do you balance family and work life? Live close to work, have a supportive husband, a great nanny, and an understanding P.I.
What does your spouse think about your career? Supportive
What does your family think about your career? Supportive 
How do/did you handle the financial stress of training? try to save money and look for good deals
Are things turning out the way you planned or are they different? Is your career different than what you expected when you chose it? More or less
Do you have any advice for students aspiring to be where you are? Make sure that you really like research before starting out otherwise it will be a long and excruciating 5 years.
If you could do this over again would you? Is there anything you would change? No I think I would still choose the path I chose.

What is your career? PhD student in Cell Biology
Where are you in your career (training, practicing, residency etc)? 3rd year PhD
How did you choose your career? I enjoyed science research as an undergrad.
Were there any obstacles you had to face in your training or later career? Experiments don't always work as you would like and getting data takes a long time
 
Have there been any problems in your work life or training that have arisen because of your religion? I've had to miss some class for Shabbos and Yom Tov but professors are usually understanding.

How do you handle ethical questions that arise? 
What do you like best about your career? What do you like least? Flexibility. You can make your own schedule and come up with experiments the answer questions that interest you.
Are you married? yes
Do you have children, how many? yes 2 
How do you balance family and work life? Live close to work, have a supportive husband, a great nanny, and an understanding P.I.
What does your spouse think about your career? Supportive
What does your family think about your career? Supportive 
How do/did you handle the financial stress of training? try to save money and look for good deals
Are things turning out the way you planned or are they different? Is your career different than what you expected when you chose it? More or less
Do you have any advice for students aspiring to be where you are? Make sure that you really like research before starting out otherwise it will be a long and excruciating 5 years.
If you could do this over again would you? Is there anything you would change? No I think I would still choose the path I chose.

What is your career? PhD student in Cell Biology
Where are you in your career (training, practicing, residency etc)? 3rd year PhD
How did you choose your career? I enjoyed science research as an undergrad.
Were there any obstacles you had to face in your training or later career? Experiments don't always work as you would like and getting data takes a long time
 
Have there been any problems in your work life or training that have arisen because of your religion? I've had to miss some class for Shabbos and Yom Tov but professors are usually understanding.

How do you handle ethical questions that arise? 
What do you like best about your career? What do you like least? Flexibility. You can make your own schedule and come up with experiments the answer questions that interest you.
Are you married? yes
Do you have children, how many? yes 2 
How do you balance family and work life? Live close to work, have a supportive husband, a great nanny, and an understanding P.I.
What does your spouse think about your career? Supportive
What does your family think about your career? Supportive 
How do/did you handle the financial stress of training? try to save money and look for good deals
Are things turning out the way you planned or are they different? Is your career different than what you expected when you chose it? More or less
Do you have any advice for students aspiring to be where you are? Make sure that you really like research before starting out otherwise it will be a long and excruciating 5 years.
If you could do this over again would you? Is there anything you would change? No I think I would still choose the path I chose.

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