Sunday Thoughts

Phew! Sunday is done. First was the post-doc “breakfast” (a.k.a. muffins), which was not the networking event I had envisioned. But it did get me up at 7am, and gave me plenty of time to get to the K+ channel talks. Even though I’m now working on Na+ channels, I think the K+ channel session was more useful to me this year. My project involves “C-type” or “slow” inactivation, and there is definitely more active research on this going on in the K+ channel realm.

Later, I attended another platform session, went to the CPOW luncheon, went into the biomolecular dome, presented my poster AND started my collection of sweet vendor swag. I even got my hands on a little bag of popcorn. So far, all my BPS 2014 wishes are coming true!

What’s left is mostly career seminars. Like my fellow blogger, Susan, I am also looking forward to hearing about different career options. Academia seems to be my default path, but after two years of post-doctoral research, I’m wondering if it’s the end point I truly desire. Perhaps I would enjoy a job that doesn’t put me in a perpetual grant cycle, or one that doesn’t rely so heavily on funding from a public that is increasingly distrustful (and uneducated) about science.

Then again – when I think about ditching academia, I can’t help but imagine myself plummeting into the gender gap. Do I want to be one of those women who get their PhD, then leave? Do I want to add to the statistical problem? Fun fact: out of almost 300,000 science-related faculty positions in the United States, there are only about 200 women of Native American descent (of which I am) who have tenure or are on a tenure track. Do I really want to give up the chance to improve THAT statistic someday? But then fun fact #2 comes into play: men in science and engineering make a median salary of $100 000 whereas women make $75 000.

I guess when you’re trying to break the glass ceiling, you’re going to have to take some cuts.

–Rheanna Sand


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