High School Student Question about Future Jobs

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High School Student Question about Future Jobs

Postby Logan » Wed Feb 02, 2005 6:10 pm

I really want to look into something along the lines of genetic research, medicine research,or even pharmaceuticals. Could someone please post a link or send me an e-mail with as much information on these jobs as possible. Also good colleges to attend for this area of interest would be nice. Scholarship information would be great as well. I am a freshmen in High School and I am looking desperately already for a career to consider. This is what I think would be for me. Thanks so much

High School Student Question about Future Jobs

Postby Dave Jensen » Wed Feb 02, 2005 6:51 pm

Hello Logan,

Our forum is for people who are much further along in their careers, but we'll leave your post up for a few days in case you get some direct email responses. My suggestion is that you take a look at the links shown on the Biotechnology Institute website, which is

Also, is a site which has a number of informative links about biotechnology,

Regards, Dave Jensen
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High School Student Question about Future Jobs

Postby MPB » Wed Feb 02, 2005 6:59 pm

Hey Logan,

Probably the single most important thing in considering a future science career is planning ahead. The fact is that there are many relatively low-level positions and few chances to move to the higher ranks, especially if you want to do academic research. So it's good that you are planning early. There are so many factors to consider in selecting a college, but one thing I would recommend for the areas that you mentioned is to try to go someplace with a medical school. You want to get involved in doing laboratory research, either as a work-study or individual study, as soon as you possibly can, and a med school will give you more opportunities to do that. When you start college, you literally need to be thinking 20 years ahead if you want to have a research career in the life sciences.

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What would everyone here have done differently?

Postby Lora » Wed Feb 02, 2005 7:30 pm

If you all were in Logan's shoes, and you had known since early high school what you wanted to do for a living, what would you have done? I know when I was in high school I devoted most of my intellectual energy to my garage band and the physics of balancing 20 kg of food and plates on a tray without spilling.

I wish I could have gotten into one of the six-year MD programs. They're only open to incoming college freshmen and usually only new high school graduates; I worked for a couple years before starting my undergrad, so I wasn't eligible for them. I would have had my MD done at age 23, I could have done a PhD by age 27, and done nothing but clinical pharmaceutical research for happily-ever-after.

Logan, it's great that you're so motivated.

What would everyone here have done differently?

Postby julia » Thu Feb 03, 2005 1:20 pm

Logan; reading your post really made me smile.

At 14 I started telling everyone I wanteed to be a geneticist/pharmaceutical/mol bio researcher. By my final year in High School (17, not in the US) it was Pharmacology. Then to the BS & PhD (specialty in DM/PK that most people think is incredibly boring) and currently 3 years into a post doc. I LOVE my job. I LOVE the bench. I LOVE my silly kinetic and clearance models. I LOVE reading, writing and reviewing papers and thinking about "where to from here". I dont even mind grant writing. Errm actually I've recently decided I'd *love* to be an academic.

Just so the rest of the contributors to this forum know that I'm not smoking anything illegal - all this doesnt that I'm always happy especially when I've just had 2 weeks worth of experiemnt fall down on me (are you prepared for that Logan?) Also, I'm currently facing unemployment and somewhat anxious if not quite depressed about it. This is another of the pressures of a career in science - the large pool of soft money, temporary jobs that most scientists seem to get stuck with for quite a while.

The only othe thing I would tell you Logan is that Science as a career is a little cloistered (academia more so than Industry it seems) and exceedingly competitive. But if you enjoy it enough, work hard enough and have just a teeny bit of luck I am sure you will be fine. Just make sure that while youre still in high school you keep your options open to change your mind. In my case because the English system undergrad is more specialised than the US and my course was restricted, once I got to University I was pretty focussed on the main goal and there wasnt much room to change. Also, university liason offices are a pretty good resource while youre still in high school as are university "open days" where you may be able to have a chat to someone who is active in you area of interest and who can give you more in-depth advice. In terms of industry, I'm afraid you will have to ask someone else (Mr Jensen is pretty fabulous) about that as I'm pretty green there.

Best wishes and good luck

Monetary returns matter too!

Postby Jim » Thu Feb 03, 2005 5:16 pm

Hi Logan,

I to think that it is great that you are thinking so far ahead. Since you are, I'll throw in some suggestions on concepts that I have learned along the way.

Why do we work, as you will find out late in life, is mostly governed by our needs and wants for money. After all, this is a captialist economy we live in here in the U.S. What will most likely govern the amount of dollars that you'll want in return is influenced by the standard of living that your parents expose you to as a young person. Most people want to afford the same stardard of living as their parents or even a higher level. So, start by asking your parents how much income they've made in the middle of their careers. Then start reading up on how much positions currrently pay some fields that you are interested in for the different levels of education (Bachelor's, Master's, Ph. D's, M.D., etc.) needed in most cases to be competitive for those positions. This way, you can have some educational goals to shot for in life, i.e. scholastic goals, what grades you'll need, etc.

I think the income portion of the equation is important. Many people invest a good deal of time and energy, (and latter their own money), pursuing fields of work that they later find out will not afford them the standard of living that they would like to afford. Things like houses can be very expensive depending on where you live or will want to live. Let alone family needs.

I hope this line of thinking adds just another piece of the puzzle for you to consider. I know it's helped other young people I know.

Life is what YOU make of it. A long term plan is helpful. Being realistic with yourself and your efforts will matter. And of course, hard work over LONG periods of time will effect your efforts and outcome.

Best of luck to you!!

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