claude's timeline

Claude

Claude, an international student in her mid-twenties, moved to Canada for her undergraduate degree and then PhD. She chose to undertake doctoral study based on intellectual interest, and a desire to increase her knowledge of the field. Prior to beginning the PhD in 2008, she taught for one year at the college level. Claude joined this study in 2010, and had completed her comprehensives and dissertation proposal. When Claude began the PhD, she intended to work in academia, but due to personal circumstances and dissatisfaction with the academic culture, decided to return home following the PhD and pursue other interests.

 

What struck us about Claude’s story was:

Her mother’s death and relocation to home country.

Issues with collaboration and competition between labs .

Move away from interest in academia to pursuing farming and gardening interests.

 

PhD

Year 3

PhD

Year 4

PhD

Year 5

PhD

Year 6

 

PhD

Year 3

Had partner also in a PhD program in same department, who she goes to for advice.

Received advice from supervisor on interpreting unexpected results.

Saw herself as a postdoc or research associate at a university, but not as a professor; cannot “deal with the pressure of writing grants all the time”.

Goes to the gym and swims for leisure.

Spoke with a collaborator, which made her feel like an academic.

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Attended a conference where she felt like an academic through networking and presenting.

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Discussing her research with others helped her to reflect on whether she wanted “to go into this field for…future work”.

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Began collaborating with a lab in another city, but felt there was competition between labs for publications, and was not comfortable with collaboration.

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PhD

Year 4

Joined a gardening group and enjoyed working outdoors: “ I…can see...directly what’s going on and at the end of the day I…have like food and…honey to bring home”.

Completed comprehensive exams.

Hoped for postdoc position in North America, but also noted that others in academia appear bitter and exhausted.

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Worked with another student in the department, which was helpful in her experiments.

Considered part-time research and permaculture over the next year following the PhD.

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Worked with a collaborator, which made her feel like an academic and made her more positive about collaboration.

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As her supervisor was away, she consulted others in the department for advice on acquiring a piece of equipment needed for her experiment.

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Felt emotional and stressed about completing her project.

Consulted lab mates and took course to acquire programming and cloning skills, which could be helpful on job apps.

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Hoped to graduate soon.

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PhD

Year 5

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Tried to finish experiments so that she could “start writing at home”.

Hoped to be either in home country or North America following PhD, and thought about doing technical or science writing part time.

Moved to home country for 5 months to care for ill mother; essentially stopped PhD work.

Worked on data collection and engaged with committee member, which made her feel like an academic.

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Mother passed away, which left her feeling “a bit lost”.

Needed help from supervisor on joint paper, but he did not respond to emails, which “slow[ed] down…progress”; made her feel she was not his “priority”.

.Hoped to work in farming and perhaps pursue science education in future.

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Lab manager away, so data was not backed up, and databased cataloguing samples was lost; “just trying to write up what I already have and then finish”.

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Collaborator declined to be put as author on collective paper, which made her feel uncomfortable; collaborator previously published paper “very similar” to her work; felt she was “scooped”.

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Partner graduated and was thinking of medical or law school; probably would not want to move to her home country.

Just wanted to finish.

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PhD

Year 6

Moved back to home country due to family issues following her mother’s death.

Visited a seed saving farm for two weeks and became interested in saving, permaculture, and how it could be applied in her home country.

Hoped to pursue some type of academic career, either in home country or nearby country, as she doesn’t like the grant-driven competitiveness in North America.

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Completed PhD.

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Continued interest in gardening and farming; wanted to begin “gardening project” with family.

Worked on finishing a paper with supervisor; committee member expressed interest in a collaboration.

Also interested in community development projects.

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Continued to look for employment; contacted acquaintance from North America about teaching in a “natural school”.

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Applied for community grants to learn about traditional farming and “food security” in home country.

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What struck us

Mother’s death; Relocation to home country.

Issues with collaboration and competition between labs; trying to find application for work interests in home country.

Move away from interest in traditional academia to pursue farming and gardening.

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