In the spirit of National Chemistry Week, this post is my addition to the Chem Coach Carnival.
Your current job. I am a graduate student in a graduate program at a large research institution.
What you do in a standard “work day.” As a grad student, there really isn’t a standard day. Depending on your year in the program and where you are in your research, things can be very different. First years mainly take classes and teach, second years teach and do research, and it continues to change from there. My typical day can include lab work, writing (I am currently preparing for my comprehensive exams), reading, teaching other group members, fixing things, getting things fixed…I could go on and on, but I think you get the point!
What kind of schooling / training / experience helped you get there? Of course an undergrad degree in Chemistry with good grades/GRE scores and research experience got me into my graduate program. The one tip I have for anyone who is thinking about grad school is to get research experience in an actual lab (not just your lab courses). This will help you decide if you actually like lab work and will give you a leg up during admissions and getting into an advisor’s group.
How does chemistry inform your work? I get most of my information through the primary literature (found through SciFinder and Reaxys as well as my daily RSS feeds). Valuable information can also be gained by talking to senior group members and your advisor, I feel that a lot of people underutilize these valuable sources. Sometimes just talking things out makes them click!
Finally, a unique, interesting, or funny anecdote about your career. I think any chemist could write a book of their stories. In high school, I had 6M nitric acid spilled all over me (yes, I got to use the safety shower). Just recently I had a reaction tube explode (but it was behind a safety shield inside the hood).