aaa's timeline

AAA

AAA, in his mid-twenties, completed a BA degree, working as an undergraduate research assistant, before he
moved universities and began the PhD program in 2009 in Canada, and joined this research project in 2010. AAA chose doctoral study with the initial goal of becoming an academic, and held a lucrative and prestigious
scholarship. When AAA joined this project, he was in the process of collecting and analysing data for his
dissertation, and had published 2 peer-reviewed papers. He married and had a child during the first two years of
the program. After completing the PhD in 2011, AAA moved to the US for a post-doc position, and his second
child was born during this contract. 

What struck us about AAA’s story was:

Birth of his children and financial issues upon transitioning to post-doc.

Extensive collaboration and enjoyment of supervising students.

Consistent interest in academia.

 

PhD

Year 3

 Post-PhD

Year 1

Post-PhD

 

Year 2

Post-PhD

 

Year 3

 

PhD

Year 3

Cared for his child and engaged in exercise for mental health.

Prepared for comprehensive oral exam.

Planned to attend medical school and then work as a physician and do research—“great way to help people”.

Immigration permit expired due to prior misdemeanor, putting him and family on “applied status” while they waited for result.

...

...

Health insurance expired as result of immigration issue.

Presented at conference in Europe, and felt like an academic when talking with other attendees.

...

Partner diagnosed with gestational diabetes, resulting in medical bills and hiring a lawyer…”probably the most stressful part of…graduate career”.

Spent time working with undergraduates; “a PhD…should also be able to disseminate their knowledge”.

...

Received support from partner who helps “talk me down”.

Applied for medical school.

...

 

Post-PhD

Year 1

Second child was born.

Defended thesis.

Accepted two-year post-doc position.

Relocated to different city for a post-doc, which meant he had to “rebuild…social structure”.

Began post-doc, which he found by “taking advantage of connections that…PhD supervisor had created”.

Decided not to pursue medical school due to family commitments, and hoped to work in academia instead.

Experienced significant cut in funding after PhD.

Submitted papers based on doctoral work, which he worked on with PhD supervisors via email.

....

Focused on earning money so that partner can “start pursuing what she wants to do”.

Engaged with other postdocs and a researcher on a possible collaboration.

...

 

Post-PhD

Year 2

Spent time caring for children.

Collaborated with other postdocs, his supervisor, and other researchers on data collection.

Continued to work towards pre-tenure track position at research-intensive university in North America.

Oldest child started school and partner began working part-time to pay for preschool.

Worked on organizing a conference that he became involved with through current supervisor.

...

...

Applied for a fellowship that will help him towards professorship position by providing “transitional funding’.

....

...

Post-doc research broader in scope than PhD, which he believed “will help me success as a professor ultimately”.

...

 

Post-PhD

Year 3

Cared for children and spent time with partner.

Worked on various data collection, analysis, teaching, and writing tasks.

Planned to transition to tenure track position in next two years.

Busy with family emergencies; father had alcohol-related depression and youngest child in ER for stitches.

Published paper in top tier journal, which was first “big” paper.

Hoped for position in academia, despite knowing that work in industry would pay better; “best science is don’t in academic setting” and likes “grooming young students”.

Both children in preschool, which added to financial strain.

Invited to chair two “fairly well-known” seminars, which are “really good opportunities…to increase my recognisability”.

....

Concerned about work-life balance and hoped to achieve a lifestyle that accommodates work and family/leisure.

“Fortunate” to have supervisor supportive in his goal to transition to tenure-track position.

...

 

What struck us

The birth of his children and the financial struggles that came with the transition to the post-doc.

Extensive collaboration and enjoyment of supervising students.

Consistent interest in academic career.

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Researcher Identity Development (2017). This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License