Jonathan Weitzman – Part 1 – Enriching Your Academic Career

Even academic and professional paths that look straighforward from afar and in hindsight were built on highs and lows, opportunities, obstacles, time-outs. Today’s conversation illustrates this perfectly and shows how these irregularities are part of what makes the journey interesting.

Academia, Teaching, Career Skills

Jonathan Weitzman is a professor of genetics at the Université de Paris, founding director of the Centre for Epigenetics and Cell Fate, and director of the Magistère Masters in Genetics Porgram.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Plans can and will change – be ready to adapt
  • The importance of taking your time to mature as a researcher
  • What you can gain by taking career training while in graduate school
  • How universities are changing the way they look at the potential of PhDs
  • Jonathan’s unique approaches to graduate training
  • The opportunities and outlets that exist today for scientific writing and science communication
  • The importance of trying different things during graduate school to learn not only what you like, but what you’re good at

This episode’s pearls of wisdom:

“When I became a professor, it was the beginning of a transition where we were being more honest with the students about the fact that most of them would not go into academic careers. And what we’re trying to defend today is the idea that the PhD is just an excellent training for any career. That being in a lab and having a research project, and all the ups and downs of a PD is just a fantastic training for anything afterwards.”

“I think there is a transition in many science-related careers. If you were the science correspondent of a national newspaper 20 years ago, you didn’t need a PhD. Today, you need a PhD. If you were a patent lawyer, even in the life sciences, 20 years ago you didn’t need a PhD. Today, you do. So there are many professions where today, if you want to do those successfully and compete you need to have a PhD, whether it is patent law, whether it is science communication, and I could go on and on.”

Jonathan’s links: Twitter – @Epigenetique; LinkedIn.com/in/JonathanWeitzman; TEDx Talk – Who am I ? Learning to read the genes in your unique genome book.

You might also like the following episodes:

Chris Kent – Biotech Startup CEO: PapaPhD.com/11

Sathy Rajasekharan– Science communication: PapaPhD.com/16

Fábio Rosa (PhD student), Gil Costa (scientific illustrator), Patrícia Monteiro (principal investigator): PapaPhD.com/24

Margaret Magdesian – Biotech Startup CEO: PapaPhD.com/21

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