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alternative career paths

Julia A. Keith Julia.A.Keith at dartmouth.edu
Wed Aug 31 14:50:44 EST 1994

I've been busy at the bench for a while and opened my newsgroups today
to find that women in bio had taken a turn for the nasty with someone
VERY upset responding to things in a negative manner and it finally
prompted me to get off the sidelines and add to the conversation.  I'm
a woman in graduate school (3rd year) divorced with 3 children and I
might even fit this person's definition of a "real scientist" because I
have 2 first author papers in refereed journals-but they were done
before I came to grad school.  I worked in a government lab, with a BS
degree, and was given the freedom to apply for in house grants and do
the research when they were funded.  I've even had some experiences
with harrassment, but I've also had some experiences with wonderful,
supportive scientists of both genders, so I don't think it does any
good to lump people by genders.

  The bottom line is, it can be done-grad school, post docs, et al, are
possible with other obligations, they just aren't easy. But that can be
a good thing, in that it forces me daily to ask myself "Why am I doing
this?  Is this what I want?  Is this the path to what I want, or the
path others set for me?"  I see a lot of people, male and female, in my
department and elsewhere who follow "the path" to large university
academia because it's "what you do if you're good".  I was encouraged
to hear in a recent posting that's not so, because as an NSF
predoctoral fellow, I'm often expected to be shooting for "the big
time" when all I really want to do is teach, with a little research on
the side.  I'd love to hear from others who chose the road less

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