What Came First: The Grad Student or the PI?
By Dora Farkas on December 2nd, 2011
I was wondering if you could settle an argument for me – what came first: the grad student or the PI?
-EJ, grad student
That’s an easy one! The PI, of course. Many young professors start their academic careers with no graduate students. In addition to teaching and writing grants, they perform experiments and analyze their own data. With the tough funding environment these days many (even not so young) professors have no students and have to be the PI and the grad student at the same time.
PI is actually a generic term, which is also used in industry for the lead scientist in a project, even though there are no graduate students involved.
Dora Farkas, Ph.D. is the author “The Smart Way to Your Ph.D.:200 Secrets from 100 Graduates,” and the founder of PhDNet, an online community for graduate students and PhDs. You will find links to her book, monthly newsletters, and discussion board on her site. Send your questions to DearDora@benchfly.com and keep an eye out for them in an upcoming issue!
Stay tuned for the next Dear Dora in two weeks! In the meantime, check a few of Dora’s recent posts:
- Problems Communicating Science to Family? It’s Not Them, It’s You
- How to Address the Funky-Smelling Lunch Problem
- Does a Fellowship Yield Scientific Independence or Does the Boss Rule?
- The Arrogant Labmate: Face ‘Em or Forget ‘Em
- Is Grad School or Postdoc Success More Important for My Career?
- Can We Skip the GRE Subject Test If It’s Too Expensive?
- The Ethics of Mooching
- Stuck Sharing a Project with a Lazy Labmate?
- Repetitive Strain Injury: The Hidden Lab Hazard
- Take My Figure Off Your Poster…Or Else.
- How to Tell on Someone Like an Adult
- Who Opened the Thiols? Oh- That’s Your Breath?!
- Reviewing Papers from Your Past: Is It Legal?
- Is It 2-Hour or 2-Week Notice? Telling the Boss You’re Leaving
Submit your questions to Dora at DearDora@benchfly.com, or use the comment box below!