When aquatic toxicologist Greg Smith recalls the way he got his first job after receiving his Ph.D. in 1988, he has every reason to consider himself lucky. For one thing, unlike many other newly hatched scientists, he never had to answer a classified ad. Smith, now employed at Battelle Memorial Institute, a nonprofit research institute in Columbus, Ohio, was spared a lot of the hassles of job-hunting because he took his degree in a specialty that happens to be in extremely high demand.

Although Smith recalls that he had "started to scan the classifieds," as soon as he was done with his academic training at Oklahoma State University, he was pursued by four different prospective employers. He chose Battelle because the job allowed him to work on specific, small to medium-sized aquatic toxicology research projects and because he considered Columbus a good location, halfway between where his parents and his...

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