Archiv des Autors: Francesco Ortelli

DoctorYou S02E05: Student life as MSc vs. PhD with Stefano

19.03.2019: Stefano Danzi, PhD student at the Department of Materials, guests on DoctorYou. I already interviewed him in the first season of DoctorYou. Today he is back to talk about the differences between MSc and PhD studies.

It is difficult to summarize this episode in few words since we touched on many points and shared a lot of experiences.

Similar but different as 🚲 vs. ✈️

We make the comparison with a bike and an airplane: listen to the episode to know more!

Main points we touch:

  • Getting a salary with the connected feeling some people can have to have to show right away to have to give something back…
  • Different responsibilities
  • Long feedback loop until the quality of your work is assessed by third parties… This might tougher for people with strong need for external validation, while it might be seen as an advantageous point stimulating the development as independent researcher from other people.
  • Different sociality: if you spend a lot of time in the office or in the lab, probably you are going to meet not so many people during your workday. Moreover you usually meet more or less the same people every day. This can be quite different from Master Studies. If you took different courses in slightly different areas, you probably met more and different people every day. This can be sometimes noticed in a different sociality during your PhD studies, than the one you had during your Master Studies.

Next week: peer mentoring!

Next week a Postdoctoral researcher who initiated a peer mentoring group is going to guest on DoctorYou! It is a perfect occasion to ask her about tricks and do’s and don’ts when it comes to running a peer mentoring group!

If you are curious, have a specific question or just want to know more, you are welcome to leave a comment in the social channels of the program! DoctorYou is present on:  InstagramTwitter, and YouTube.

See you on Tuesday at 17:15 on radioradius.ch!

Francesco

DoctorYou S02E04: Settling in as international student with Aditi

12.03.2019: Aditi Chatterjee, third year PhD student at the Department of Earth Sciences guests on DoctorYou. She shares some stories from the times when she arrived in Zurich and from the process of settling in in this new environment! How did she do? What phases did she go through? What are her tips and advices?

Expose yourself

One of the main points of this episode is Aditi’s advice to recently arrived international students to expose themselves to many different environments, for instance by participating in courseworks, talks, workshops, excursions, student activities ecc. This makes it easier to meet new friends, local and international, and to understand how things work at the university by talking with the people you meet in these contexts.

Ask questions

Aditi also tells us about her first times in Zurich, when she was very very careful both scientifically and socially because she didn’t want to make errors. But still there were some questions she had regarding the lab or the social environment, as „Can this contaminate my samples?“ or „How do you reply to ‚Entschuldigung‘?“.

Picture from the e-pic archive of ETH Library

After a short stay back in India, she decided to start to ask these questions to people in her environment and this helped her settling in!

Why is it important to settle in? For Aditi, the feeling of being settled in and of being embedded in a social environment is important to enhance productivity, creativity and to feel more resourceful.

Moreover, having a group of friends and colleagues you regularly talk to might help you manage small and less small problems that can arise during your studies. For instance, if you are isolated and make a mistake in the lab or do not know how to do and administrative task like creating a bank account, it might be easy to start to overthink and make the problem bigger than it is. On the opposite side, sharing the situation with some person in your environment might help you find solutions and might help you to set the situation in a different perspective.

Resources and where to find them

There are many opportunities and resources for students available at ETH and in Zurich, you just have to find them. Look for what you need, ask the people you know and if you do not find it, then maybe it is time to start your own student initiative!:-)

Much more

During this radio talk we covered many more topics… Like the major difference Aditi feels between India and Switzerland, how to make friends, the language barrier, ecc. We also shortly made a small comparison with Aditi’s internship at Caltech. In the video below you find a small teaser. The interview will be soon available on Mixcloud!

How was your experience regarding settling in in Zurich? Discuss on our social media!

DoctorYou is present on:  InstagramTwitter, and YouTube.

Next week

at 17:15 on radioradius.ch I am going to discuss the differences between MSc studies and PhD studies with Stefano, who already guested on the first season of DoctorYou! Don’t miss it!

Francesco

DoctorYou S02E03: Relation student-supervisor with Emily and Henner

05.03.2019: Dr. Emily Rose Ciscato, freshly graduated PhD student, and Dr. Henner Busemann, supervisor, guest on DoctorYou! Henner and Emily both work at the Department of Earth Sciences and they are not in a directly hierarchical relation.

This radio talk is a unique occasion to get and compare answers from the two sides of the so called supervision curtain: what does a student need? What can be factors of pressure on a student? And what does a supervisor need and what can put pressure on the supervisor?

We start by discussing the German words Doktorvater resp. Doktormutter and the role of a supervisor as academic „parent“ of a student and how the experience of supervision one makes as student could influence one’s eventual future role as supervisor.

A topic we touch is communication between supervisor and student.

I asked Emily and Henner to prepare some tips for students and for supervisors. These are of course personal tips, which, depending on the context, might function for some people but not for other. Anyway it can be useful to listen to them and to take them as a starting point for some reflection.

Tips to the student

  1. Emily: ✉️keep your supervisor updated
  2. Emily:♻️ 📜make use of the experience of more senior colleagues. By talking with more senior colleagues and finding out what your supervisor likes/dislikes and which ways of communicating and behaving your supervisor has, you can better direct your behavior and prevent misunderstandings and conflicts.
  3. Henner:🕝 realize the boundary conditions of your supervisor
  4. Henner: 👤👤👤 In difficult/controversial/tense situations or when there is the risk for misunderstanding, have a third person in the room when student and supervisor meet. This can help to keep the focus on the issue to solve and avoid that the situation escalates. (Tips for a student but also for a supervisor).

Tips to the supervisor

  1. Emily: 👤be conscious that you are a role model.
  2. Emily:🔌 adapt to different types of student.
  3. Henner:💎 be clear and straight with your decisions and with how you communicate them to the student.
  4. Henner: 🏠don’t take everything personally, don’t take everything at home… if something did not work, try again!

It seems that a very important ingredient in a good and constructive relation between student and supervisor boils down to finding good channels for communication and keeping these channels open!

Thank you to Emily and Henner for guesting on DoctorYou! To know more details listen to the talk with Emily and Henner, soon available on Mixcloud

Emily recommends a book on the topic: The Art of Being a Scientist: A Guide for Graduate Students and their Mentors, by Roel Snieder and Ken Larner

The channels to communicate with the radio program DoctorYou are always open:  InstagramTwitter and of course radioradius.ch on Tuesday at 17:15!

Next week a PhD student coming from an international background is going to share her experiences regarding her first times as PhD student in Zurich. Tune in!

Francesco

DoctorYou S02E02: The Leaky Pipeline with Elisa

26.02.2019 Elisa Araldi, PostDoc at the Department of Biology, guests on the second episode of DoctorYou. The phenomenon we consider is the leaky pipeline in STEM (science technology engineering and mathematics): in some fields of STEM the percentage of women decreases in the higher steps of the academic hierarchy.


Note that, as written in ETH’s Gender Monitoring 2017/2018 „The analysis of the leaky pipeline is based on a series of annual observations used to chart the ratio of women to men at successive levels of academic achievement and rungs in the career ladder. However, the data presented in this way does not reflect the full impact of changes. […] Therefore, the current charts may indicate a more extreme view of the leaky pipeline than might actually be the case. „

We talk about role models, in particular female role models in fields traditionally dominated by men.

Elisa and Francesco in the studio

Why do we observe the leaky pipeline? What are its causes? It is of course not an easy answer and is very complex. Elisa makes the example of a study where the same academic curriculum was rated by a panel. Once on the curriculum stood a male name and once a female name, say John and Jennifer. It turned out that overall John’s dossier was rated as belonging to a more competent person than Jennifer’s. See here.

Moreover Elisa explains also the amplification technique, which can be used to make a workplace more inclusive. Amplifying means taking up and confirming good ideas of colleagues. For instance, let’s say that a colleague had a good idea and spoke out to tell it to the others but was not noticed. If this good idea is not amplified, there is the risk that somebody else will catch it up at some later point and sell it as one’s own. But there is also the risk that the person who initially had the idea will not contribute any longer to the discussion.

Sternbild Wassermann from the e-archive of ETH Library

Let’s say that J. had a good idea and brought it up in a group discussion. Then amplifying J.’s idea means to say in front of all the group „What a good idea! Thank you J!“ for instance.

What can be done to try to fix the leaky pipeline? Elisa takes part in two mentoring programs, which are part of the initiative „Fix The Leaky Pipeline“. These two mentoring programs are a one-to-one mentoring program and a peer mentoring program respectively.

The topic is very broad and in our very short time we were able to touch only few aspects. Moreover we simplified the discussion to a binary gender conception but of course there are also other (gender) identities and some of the considerations done could apply there as well or for shy people regardless of the gender identity.

The interview with Elisa will soon be available on  Mixcloud but in the meantime you can have a look at our short video.

If you are interested in the topic, here you find Fix the Leaky Pipeline and the Gender Monitoring 2017/2018 at ETH.

Next week a supervisor and a recently graduated PhD student will guest on the program to discuss about what makes a good supervisor resp. what makes a good student.

Stay tuned!

Francesco

DoctorYou S02E01: Networking/Communication with Erica

19 February 2019: Erica Erlanger guests on DoctorYou and shares her experience and expertise in networking/communication. What is networking exactly? Why should one network? And when should one start?

Networking in 3 Emojis:🤔😩🙂:

To network or not to network?

I asked Erica to prepare 3 Emojis to describe the process of networking. Here they come:

  • 🤔 thinking, pensive emoji, due to the long-term nature of networking both in building and maintaining a network.
  • 😩 sighing emoji, because the effects of one’s efforts in networking are not immediate.
  • 🙂 smiling emoji, because once you’ve established a network, this will allow you to get help from your network and to help out people in your network.

Moreover Erica shares also some points it can be worth to think about when networking, such as asking a(n English native speaker) friend a feedback on the way one speaks (loudness, speed, etc.) , choosing the right clothes, being a little bit brave and starting small by getting involved in departemental activities for example.

Picture from ETH Library’s e-pic archive.

Of course a network to last has to be maintained over time! And again good communication is key!

Wanna be a spider? Listen to the interview (soon available) on Mixcloud

We also made a short video, where Erica shares some tips about how to introduce yourself by email. Watch it on YouTube

DoctorYou is back next Tuesday 26.02 at 17:15. The topic will be the leaky pipeline!

Stay tuned with PhD life at ETH and see you soon on air!

Francesco