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Turning Points: Learning from Scientists on the Job

When filled with angst over choosing my career more than 10 years ago, I felt relieved when I found other people whose anxieties mirrored my own. At a science communication course at Oregon State University in Corvallis, I met an engineer who wanted to become a technical writer and a botanist who planned to write about basic scientific discoveries. Drinking beers or coffee with these folks proved as helpful in my becoming a science writer as did writing courses—and we've kept in touch. Bu

Karen Young Kreeger
When filled with angst over choosing my career more than 10 years ago, I felt relieved when I found other people whose anxieties mirrored my own. At a science communication course at Oregon State University in Corvallis, I met an engineer who wanted to become a technical writer and a botanist who planned to write about basic scientific discoveries. Drinking beers or coffee with these folks proved as helpful in my becoming a science writer as did writing courses—and we've kept in touch.

But not all graduate students can find people who share their goals; nor do all have access to information and counseling to help them consider options. A recent informal survey by the authors of a policy forum in Science asked the administrators of 10 US biology departments if they maintained job placement data regarding their alumni, to help current students build relationships with working scientists.1 No...

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