alternative careers for PhDs

Laurel Spear Bernstein lbernstein at
Mon Aug 25 09:15:21 EST 1997

Rae Nishi wrote:

 > Another friend of mine got a PhD,
> did a postdoc, and decided that science wasn't for her.  She enrolled
> in a two year science journalism class and is now working full time for
> Science magazine.  The technology transfer officer at my university has
> a PhD from Caltech and did a postdoc at Stanford.  She worked in the
> tech transfer office at NIH and now is director here.  Another friend
> of mine did not want to be a PI (even though he has a PhD).  He is a
> valued senior research associate in a lab here.  He never has to write
> grants, gets to do all research and is very happy.  The imaging
> specialist at a microscope vendor in the northwest is a former asst.
> prof. Another friend of mine "bailed" out of science and is now putting
> together science presentations and demos for the local elementary
> school.  I don't consider these people "failures".  Rather, they are
> successes because they found jobs in which they are considerably
> happier than when they were in the lab.

This was a very supportive and informative post, but you inadvertently
tripped a pet peeve of mine-  I would not say these people have "left
science." They may not be at the bench, but they are very much still in
science. Graduate students and postdocs in science have been taught for
too long that there is only one way to do science, i.e., at the bench.
We are finally beginning to get beyond that- so let's keep it up!
  Congratulations on your promotion!


Laurel Bernstein, Ph.D.
Registered patent agent
Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

More information about the Womenbio mailing list