Advice needed

Ellen LeMosy ellen.lemosy at
Wed Mar 26 20:04:23 EST 1997

Hi, Laura. I went to Duke for graduate school and may even know who you
are talking about. Everyone that has responded is right. Get out of the
situation. $18,000 is not out of line for some of the fellowships there.
It sounds like you are in an unprotected situation  - while the
department may have forced him to give you the same stipend as the other
students, there is no guarantee they will back you up in the future.
Save the I'll-put-up-with-anything-to-work-on-this-project philosophy
for later in your career when you can call more of the shots. Grad
students are just too vulnerable, and I know from personal experience
and that of fellow students that Duke (probably like many schools) does
not provide much, if any, backup to students in problem labs. Filing a
grievance is likely only to label you as a troublemaker. Look around and
see what other options exist, at Duke, as well as UNC, NCState and the
Triangle. Changing departments is relatively easy there. You're smart to
be thinking about this change now rather than wasting more time. Having
a productive and not-too-long grad school experience is more important
than ever, and I can say ruefully that prospective employers and
granting institutions will not forgive early mistakes if they impact
your total (paper) productivity in graduate school or postdoc. Good luck
on taking the grant money with you (it will look good on the CV and give
you more independence), but remember that most PIs will find money for a
good student and don't stay in a bad situation because of this grant.
Find a PI who will help you to develop the project you deserve! Best
wishes. Ellen

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