Mary Ann Sesma msesma at
Sun Aug 9 11:31:30 EST 1998

Posted to List WomeninBio at 7:30 am, PDT, on Saturday, August 8, 1998


Megan Brown,   I  and Susan Forsburg (our Facilitator) wish to extend  our
gratitude to the contributors on the  Women in Bio list.    Those who wish
to remain anonymous as authors-- your help is our strength. For all those
who filled out and criticized the innumerable drafts-a very special thanks.
This was an enormous and time consuming task in your demanding days.
Multiple brains are indeed an asset.     Your willingness to provide
assistance in anyway possible is a strong indication of interest and need.
The development of this Questionnaire gave enhanced meaning to electronic
communication as none of the authors ever met or used the telephone.

We are  knowledgeable regarding the current  multitude of surveys that have
been developed and  have  data presented in this area.   We believe that
this survey will  prove valuable because it is not solely "numbers " or a
single academic association questionnaire.     As the questionnaire evolved
it became apparent that insignificant data reflected by  "numbers"  did not
tell the real story.  Our survey requests that the respondents (if desired)
reflect  candidly upon their experiences.   These responses will be
generously used in the presentation of the data,  Names of respondents and
addresses  remain  confidential..

Our survey differs from past surveys by national organizations in two
important ways. Some surveys have polled Ph.D.-holders so soon after
graduation that they have not had time to complete postdoctoral training
and obtain permanent jobs. Our survey is different, because individuals are
polled 7-11 years AFTER receiving their Ph.D.'s. In addition, our survey
looks at entire cohorts of graduates, i.e. ALL students who received
degrees from selected departments and institutions, not just those
scientists remaining in academia or those with memberships in professional

The idea for this survey arose from a desire by scientists to answer
career-related questions such as: What careers have recent Ph.D.'s in the
biological sciences chosen? What factors have influenced those choices?
What accounts for the composition of the applicant pool for faculty
positions? What professional issues face the best young scientists? These
questions are the subject of frequent discussion in numerous forums,
including biology departments, search committees, admissions committees,
and in scientific venues on the Internet. As a grassroots effort to answer
these questions, the BIONET Women-in-Biology Internet newsgroup proposed
that a general career questionnaire be sent to the recipients of Ph.D.'s
between 1987 and 1991 from several top-ranked institutions.  Our first
choices are MIT and UCSF.  By choosing only outstanding programs for this
study, we hope to control for the quality of the students and their
education. The career issues faced by top students are likely to reflect
crucial issues in science as a profession, and not lack of preparation or
poor qualifications of individual candidates.

The selected departments from UCSF are the following:
Biochemistry/Biophysics, Anatomy , Immunology and Genetics.    The MIT
solitication will be sent to the Division of Biology.

The personal engagement of the respondents is essential.  We invite the
Alumni from these institutions to participate.  Your assistance could take
one or more of the following forms:  a note to your  alumni friends, a
note/ letter of support for this survey to the Dean(s), names of alumni
whom you would be able to contact.   A short note to either Megan Brown >
mbrown at> or Mary Ann Sesma >msesma at< that
indicates your willingness to participate would be appreciated.

The first step in the dissemination process is to send the letters to all
appropriate faculty and staff members at these institutions.  During the
week of September 16-22.  letters  to Faculty and Staff will go out in hard
copy and the questionnaire will be attached.   A followup letter will be
sent approximately two weeks later.

The  final questionnaire may be viewed at the following web site:

Again many thanks

Mary Ann Sesma

Mary Ann Sesma                          e -mail
1621 Sunnyhill Drive                    msesma at (preferred)
Monterey Park, CA 91754            sesma at
phone; (323)261-5860

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