Choose Your Own Adventure

In just a month or two, I’ll be choosing what Professor and lab I’ll be working with for my next 4 or so years of graduate school. That’s a big, scary choice, and so I have a lot to think about. So I’m soliciting advice– take a look!
To that end, I thought it might be cool to elicit opinions from the peanut gallery. Of course, the decision is mine to make in the end, but a little advice from friends never hurt.

Barring unusual circumstances, I have 3 choices: Reich, Jaeger, or Morse.

Norbert Reich works in the Biochemistry department, doing research on DNA-based bio-materials (cool!) and enzyme kinetics (not as cool, to me). (slightly out of date group website) Norbert is known for being… well, a bit of a slave-driver. Working in his lab, I saw a bit of that, but I think it’s somewhat exaggerated. Mostly, he seems to want results and hard work. When his students needed to take time off from sickness or what-not, he seemed totally cool with it. He’s also a very, very bright guy, which I respect. He seems to demand a more “aggressive” interaction method (so agrees everyone who works with him)– you have to be willing to stand up to him, or he’ll bowl you over and you’ll end up working 12 hour days on a project you don’t love. 😉

Luc Jaeger is a relatively new Professor from France. He’s very motivated and enthusiastic, but not a very good people person– he gets angry at his graduate students over research setbacks and changes his mind about projects on a daily basis (while rotating through his lab for 5 weeks, I was on 3 different projects). The people in his lab, inexplicably, are all very cool. Contrasting this, his research is exceptional– he’s doing really neat things with RNA structures, and has exciting ideas of where to take the research in the future. The only problem I foresee is that RNA is his only love: Heck, he took the helm on the bio-materials literature class and changed it’s focus to nucleic acids. Limiting the possibilities of research like that isn’t as appealing.

Dan Morse is the professor that I’m set to be with for my last rotation, so I only have second-hand knowledge of him, from others who have been in his lab. Apparently, he’s a genius at getting funding and a very interesting guy… but I’ll never see him. He doesn’t spend much time in the lab these days, leaving his post-docs as the higher-ups for the most part. His research is really neat, if a little bit too “wet” for my taste (lots of animal work and such). But it’s applicability to nano-tech concerns and processes is top notch.

So, that’s the front-runners. If I really can’t find a lab right away, provisions can usually be made to delay it another quarter, but that’s just delaying the inevitable. Any advice, questions, comments?

3 Responses to “Choose Your Own Adventure”

Jaeger seems like he would be a bit of a pain to be working with, though it seems like his lab is doing really interesting things. As far as the other two, it seems to be more a personal preference, would you rather have Reich with his aggressive approach or the lack of prescence of Morse as well as the fact that it is more “wet”? Hope you don’t have too much trouble making a decision.

mcmillan - January 31st, 2005 at 2:38 pm

Go with the first one!

Fleepy - February 1st, 2005 at 11:28 pm

I would go with the second one. I have been in a few jobs were the reward of the work easily offset the chaos and disorganization of the work environment. My theory is this. My theory: It is important to love what you are doing more than who you are working with. Unless you are making mad money then niether matter anymore 🙂

Kyle - March 3rd, 2005 at 4:27 pm

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