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confidence and science

SQUID QUEEN jahoar at ac.dal.ca
Sat Jul 23 11:02:47 EST 1994

In article <Jul21.050718.36288 at acs.ucalgary.ca>, ktetro at acs.ucalgary.ca (Kelly Tetro) writes:
> Mary....I am doing a MSc. first and then a PhD somewhere els. I
> have found this good so far because I was also inexperienced. I
> feel that I have learned from my mistakes in choosing my MSc.
> supervisor, dealing with lab politics, defending my ideas etc.
> and I am looking forward to starting fresh, armed with this new
> knowledge, on the degree that really counts.
	As someone who is just writing up my PhD (sans MSc), I find
myself agreeing with Kelly that the MSc is a good idea.  I know that
I've found myself stumbling over the kinds of things that she mentions
as the stuff she learned from her MSc.  I think that it definitely 
took me a lot longer to feel really confident about my work than my
fellow grad students (females) with Msc did and that's even though I
had done an honour's BSc beforehand (in fact, Dalhousie U. will not 
let you go straight into a PhD without an honours BSc).  I haven't had
the problems dealing with some of the lab politics problems that many
women face, probably partly because my supervisor's lab is 3/4 female,
but I have had to deal with it from the other members of the department
who had trouble taking a West Coast blonde seriously (I've been told
this directly by faculty since).  I have a friend who started at the 
same time I did (although she had an MSc) and I could see a difference
in attitude towards the 2 of us, which I suspect may have been related
to her confidence in both herself and her ability to do research.  Now,
since I did a lot of stumbling in my first couple of years of research,
I think it probably would have helped to be more confident in how and
what I was doing, something that an MSc would certainly help with.

>  Things might be
> different in states, were a lot of people have been discussing on
> other groups, that an MSc. is seen as a consolation prize. I feel
> that my MSc. will open more doors especially if children come
> along unexpectedly. Any other thoughts on this from people who
> have been there? I would love to discuss this more from the woman
> perpective, where family is also a concern.
	My lab has a lot of women with children in it, both those who
had children before starting grad school and those whose children happened
along during either their MSc or PhD.  For those who have had children 
during their MSc, they've finished up and gotten tech jobs while the kids
are still very young, but they plan to go back for a PhD (some have done
this already, now that the kids are in school).  Those women who have had
children during their PhD have found it to really slow them down and it's
been incredibly hard for some of them to finish.  Of the women faculty in
the dept, both waited until after they had their PhDs before they had kids
(both also have partners who are research associates in the dept) and have
said that they think it's a good option to wait until after doing post-docs
and finding a place (we were discussing this yesterday).
	I hope this helps or informs...

* Jennifer A. Hoar          _____       If the Creator had indeed lavished   *
* Biology Dept	           /     \      his best design on the creature he   *
* Dalhousie University 	   | 0 0 |               created in his own image,   *
* Halifax, NS B3H 4J1 __   \  o  /   _____/      creationists would surely   *
* Canada           _____\__/ /|\ \__/_________   have to conclude that God   *
* jahoar at ac.dal.ca --------/ / \ \----------     is really a SQUID!          *
*                   ________|  |_______                 -Diamond, 1985       *
*(Boy, are octopuses ever hard to draw...!)                                  *

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