Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Plans for the future?

This is always a difficult question to answer. To understand why I blog about this, I should mention that just finished my Master's last fall so I am in the beginning of my career. I finished with top grade (13 on the Danish scale), which made everybody assume that I would be able to pick and choose between jobs or Ph.D-positions. Sure I was appointed as a research assistant two weeks after my exam, but the position was time-limited - only 3 month. There was a chance that it could be prolonged, but this has not happened due to financial issues. Though of course it was sad to exchange salaries for daily allowance, I can't say that I am sorry that I could not continue with the work, because it was not that inspiring or challenging. When the 3 month was almost out, I got an unexpected mail from a scientist at the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes. He is Danish but has been working as assistant professor at UCHSC in Denver. He is the head of a small research group working with developmental biology in the hunt for a cure of type 1 diabetes. He mailed me because he had read a popular paper for which I was awarded the Herbert Price 2005 of the Faculty of Natural sciences, University of Southern Denmark (SDU), and wanted to give me some credit for it. At the same time he wanted to tell me a bit about the research that he and his group were doing, as it might be of my interest. It was, and so was his open offer to maybe do a Ph.D in his lab. I have been in contact with him on a regular basis the last couple of month. It is a big decision to go the US for 3 years, and my boyfriend certainly does not share my enthusiasm about getting such an offer thrown at you. Jimmi (my boyfriend) is not willing to move nor will he fully accept the possibility that I would go by myself and then follow the courses of the Ph.D program here in Denmark whenever possible. He has changed his mind about it regularly, getting a little bit closer to a compromise, but not enough, and it kind of disappoints me that he cannot support whatever decision I will get to, trying to make things work as smoothly as possible. I do not think he quite realizes how big this opportunity actually is, and how deep impact it will have on my future career to get a Ph.D, and especially one obtained away from Denmark. With this you will have both a Ph.D and experience from living in a foreing country, which is what many employers like to see. It would make it so much easier to get a job in a private company or in the academic society when returning to Denmark. I must admit, I was not so sure about going away for 3 years when I first got the offer, but the more against it Jimmi is, the more I want to make it happen, despite the difficulties it will entail.

It would be easier to say no the offer from USA if I had an equal or even better one from home. I do not at this point, but of course I have been seeking for it. I have applied to several position, but I must admit that it has mostly been because I need to be able to prove that I am actively seeking employment rather than because interest. Last week a friend of mine from the lab told me about the possibility of getting into a research lab or a company by wage subsidy with the possibility to continue in a Ph.D. position afterwards. She did that herself, and I know of a couple of other people who have also used that trick, but I was not aware of the actual offer and the rule about it. We sat down and made a list of more than 20 scientists and companies that might benefit from getting a skilled cand. scient in biomedicine with experience in mass spectrometry into their house at low costs. I mailed all of them Friday, receiving the first answer only 10 minutes later, and over the weekend I got positive feedback from a total of 6 people and companies who would like me to come by for an interview. Thus, the first three days of this week has been very busy with 3 interviews Monday, 2 yesterday and 1 today. 3 of the interviews are of particular interest to me, so now I have to sit down and make a decision on where to place my bet: 3 years in USA, employment as research assistant with open possibilities to obtain fundings for a Ph.D in two different groups at the Medical Biotechnology Center, Odense or in a small private company. It is going to be tough!


Kerri. said...

Hi there Heidi.

I just came across your blog through a random googling of my blog name and saw you had me linked here. Thank you for linking me! I appreciate it.

I was reading about your pending decision to move to the US to pursue the Ph.D in Denver ... quite a big hurdle you have ahead of you. I wish you the best of luck with your decision (and hopefully Jimmi decides he should pack up and come with you)!

I'm not sure if you've been a silent reader of my blog for a while now, but feel free to come on over and comment. It's a nice, comforting community to be a part of and it makes the diabetes part of my day a little less lonely. (That, and I'm running a Top Five questionaire at the moment and would love to see your responses!)

Would you mind if I linked you from Six Until Me? Let me know.


Heidi said...

Hi Kerri

It would be an honor to be linked from Six Until Me, so feel free to do that!

I don't what the out come of Denver-question will be, but I have taken a few measures now that I hope will convince Jimmi to give it a chance, and if not I think thant he will definitely owe me some trips - the longer the better ;-) - if I get a ph.d. here in Odense.

Best wishes,