Request for Guidance

tivol at tivol at
Mon Nov 28 18:55:53 EST 1994

Eric Fredrickson asks for advice re his brother's interest in genetics career
Dear Eric,
	It would seem that there should be a lot of places for "average" and
"enthusiastic" students in the biotech industries, but that is now, and who
knows what will happen in five-to-ten years?  I *strongly* suggest that your
brother pursue a field in which he is interested and let the job market take
care of itself (in any event, it *will* take care of itself).  First, life is
too short to spend it at a job which does not interest one.  Second, everyone
tends to do better in a subject in which one is interested, so your brother
will get better grades, recommendations, etc. if he tries for a career in
genetics.  It may even be the case that his interest will get him good enough
grades to move him above the "average student" catagory.
	Speaking as a "better than average" student who followed his interest
through some pretty rough times vis-a-vis employment, I found that I could
always get a job which interested me (although I had to change fields), and
I have ended up (for now) with an excellent job which combines many of my
scientific interests.  Furthermore, my education in physics gave me a unique
viewpoint when I went into biochemistry, and I was able to use this viewpoint
to advantage in my work.  I am now in charge of a high-voltage electron mic-
roscope doing crystallography (physics), x-ray microanalysis (chemistry) and
biological electron microscopy (biology, obviously).
	Your brother should enroll in any school with a good program in bio-
logy.  The specialization in genetics should come later.  A good state school
will have room for the average student--especially one who is a resident of
that state.  The State University of New York has such a program, and if your
brother still maintains his voting address in NY, he may be elegible for res-
ident status (and tuition rates).  He might also move and work for a year to
establish residence before attending college.  His grades might be better for
the extra year of maturity, and if he can get a technician's job in genetics,
he might find that he is more enthusiastic (or quite possibly, less so).
	Good luck.  I hope the above is a help.
				Bill Tivol

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