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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Funding is Not Fun

Right after Mr. Murphey and his ruling hand took away my lab's funding I began looking for my own funding. I told everyone I saw in my department about our lab's sudden loss of money and asked them if they knew of any professor who might want to hire me as an analytical chemist or instrumentalist.

When that didn't work I began schmoozing professors who would be needing TA's for their winter quarter classes. Since I couldn't apply for TA positions for several more weeks I finally decided to schmooze the professor I have long dreamed of working with some day. He's a soil organic matter genius (swoon!) and I already have a good track record with him and several of his students (a few of us have formed a "thermal guild" where we meet to chat about using thermal analysis techniques on soil organic matter...so interesting to you all, I know). I wrote him an email telling him about our situation (which he already knew about since he's also the vice dean of the department) and asking him if there was any way I could work in his lab, at least temporarily. We met, we chatted, I reminded him of my research and career goals, and he agreed to take me on for at least winter quarter on a brand new project. He was originally going to hire some post docs to do the work (heavy field work in the beginning followed by lab work) but he thought that maybe I could do it instead (I'm taking that as a compliment...even if he just means that I'm cheaper labor than a post doc).

So...now I have a lab and funding for at least next quarter. As of yesterday he still hadn't submitted a funding plan for me (so my tuition, health insurance, and student fees hadn't been paid) so I asked the nice office lady to get him to do the appropriate paperwork. The last thing I need is to come back to campus in January only to discover that there's an outstanding balance on my account and I have no insurance. Anyway...I hope it all gets taken care of this week so I don't have to worry about it.

My current research professor actually told me he thinks I should switch labs permanently since it would be better for my thesis research. I guess we'll have to see how this coming quarter goes and see if I like the project enough to make it "my" thesis research (and if the professor will take me on permanently, which would be super cool).

On another academic note, I received a passing grade for the class I just finished this quarter (transition metals chemistry) which means that I'm officially DONE DONE DONE with coursework for my graduate degree. Woohoo!

2 comments:

MrsTina said...

good job schmoozing!!!!

huntfamily said...

no that i understand all this stuff you're talkigna bout but i can tell this is a GREAT thing...good job!