sophia's timeline

Sophia, a European in her mid thirties, was working as an environmental consultant when she began the PhD, and was in a pre-tenure position at a North American university when she joined this study. Sophia was involved in publications, teaching, and grant applications, and was hoping to stay in North America. Sophia was married with one child, and welcomed a second child during her fourth year of participation in this study.

What struck us about Sophia’s story was: 

Balancing childcare and partner’s work schedule. 

Receiving large grants. 

Finding position with partner; consistent desire to stay in academia. 

 

Post-PhD

 

Year 3

Post-PhD

 

Year 4

Post-PhD

 

Year 5

Post-PhD

Year 5

 

Post-PhD

Year 3

Reasonable work-life balance; spent time with partner and daughter.

Received excellent reviews for a large collaborative proposal on which she was PI.

Focused on working towards tenure.

Moved into new home and completed renovations.

Invited to participate in an important international research committee.

...

Partner finishing a post-doc and future unclear, but “we are definitely here”; not planning to relocate.

Experienced negative interaction with colleague who sent letter “behind my back” to “revert” a decision.

...

...

Concerned about large teaching load; could not get this adjusted.

...

 

Post-PhD

Year 4

...

...

Continued to work towards tenure.

Partner received a fellowship and seemed to be “enjoying” his post-doc work.

Reappointed; received positive comments from reappointment committee.

...

...

Received large grant and hired students; wanted the lab to grow.

....

...

One of her students accused of plagiarism by colleague and “everybody got pulled into it”; negative view of department politics.

...

 

Post-PhD

 

Year 5 

...

...

Intended to continue in current position.

Had a baby; went on maternity leave.

Nominated and awarded a Tier II Research Chair; was “great validation”.

...

Partner looking for faculty positions.

Received grant funding; grant was small but an “achievement” because proposal was ranked 3rd out of 160.

...

...

Invited as guest lecturer to teach short courses in Europe over the summer.

...

Returned from maternity leave; leave as “set back” on “tenure clock”.

...

...

Considered possible relocation depending on where partner finds work; though they prefer not to move.

...

...

 

Post-PhD

Year 6

Challenged to juggle family commitments (children, partner’s work) and her own work; “family and academic life are intertwined”.

Spent time teaching and interacting with research group; made sure to prepare lectures in advance.

Continued to want to work in academia; “I never question my career decision”.

Went to Europe for the summer to teach; parents accompanied her to help with childcare.

Interacted with researchers at European university; setting up “potential future collaborations”.

...

...

Worked on “big” grant and prepared upcoming for courses.

Accepted new position beginning in a year’s time; partner found position at same university.

 

What struck us

Balancing childcare and partner’s work schedule.

Receiving large grants.

Finding position with partner; consistent desire to stay in academia.

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