Careers in Life Science

I came across this wonderful resource for learning more about careers in Life Science that I want to share with you.  It is part of the Collaborative Learning Space for Science supported by website (Scitable by NatureEDUCATION).

I encourage you to take a look at this terrific guide to life science careers to learn more about choosing a career, understanding your career options, exploring career paths, and getting the job that you want.

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How are students evaluated?

Getting accepted into graduate school can be a bit mysterious for students. This is especially true for research focused programs because supervisors are looking for qualities that are important for a budding scientist.

Let me help to demystify the evaluation process by addressing the qualities that a potential supervisor uses when selecting a student. Continue reading

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Happy New Year… now let’s get to those grad apps

With the New Year I’m sure that many have made resolutions to get to their grad apps before the very last minute rush.

Here are a few hints to help get organized for submitting your grad application. Continue reading

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GRADsKool 2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Fresher than ever.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 4,600 times in 2010. That’s about 11 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 6 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 14 posts. There were 4 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 170kb.

The busiest day of the year was May 4th with 60 views. The most popular post that day was Applying — It’s May and I have not heard from grad school.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for what can you do with a phd, gradskool, paperology, finding a supervisor, and sonali lokuge.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Applying — It’s May and I have not heard from grad school May 2010


Applying — Finding a Supervisor December 2009


Applying — Choosing a grad program, supervisor and lab January 2010
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Applying — Ask a Professor December 2009


Applying — Reference Letters January 2010
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Ah, application season is almost here

Hi Folks

Its been awhile since I wrote a new article for the blog, and this will be a short one because I’m heading out the door to a conference. But I do not want to leave you without any guidance while you start the process of selecting which grad schools to apply to for next fall.

The most important advice that I can give you is to talk to your current professors. Ask them for advice, tell them what you are interested in doing for your grad studies and ask them which programs and supervisors might be a good fit for you.

This is probably the single most important thing that you can do to help you find the right grad program.

More soon. Bye for now.

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Applying — It’s May and I have not heard from my top choices… Now what?

May is a month of changing emotions for students. As you finish up your undergraduate degree there is the elation of graduation and end of term parties with friends.  Then there is the realization that its time to figure out what’s next.  For those that applied to grad school “what’s next” includes whether you have heard from your top choices and if you’ve heard that you were accepted.

Continue reading


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Olympian Melanie Kok torch video

Check out the video of Canadian Olympic Bronze medalist and MiNDS graduate student — Melanie Kok — carrying the Olympic torch.  Watch the video.

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And now for something completely different

Here’s another take on neuroanatomy — nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more — so enjoy something completely different from the great comedian John Cleese.  Click on the image to watch the video.

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Filed under Careers

Reference letters

Asking for a reference letter can be a stressful process.  This is because you know how important letters of recommendation are for gaining admission to a grad program

So how should you go about getting letters of recommendation?

Read the rest of the article here.

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Choosing a grad supervisor, program, and lab

As neuroscientists we know how important it is for the developing brain to choose the right connections.  That developmental process depends on experience.  It is an active process designed to optimize the maturation of neural circuits to support complex functions and behaviors.  To us this is a nice analogy for the process of choosing a graduate program.  You need to apply your experiences to help sort through the various grad school options.  You want to select the program and supervisor that will be the best fit for you and help you develop to achieve your full potential.

So what factors should you consider while choosing a program and supervisor?   We asked our students — MiNDS grad students — about the factors they considered when deciding to choose the MiNDS program.  Here’s what they had to say.

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Filed under Applying to grad school