My background is physics. I eventually bridged this over to the applied world and medicine, but having a good foundation makes it possible to do anything. Each student has to be theoretically solid and capable of getting their hands dirty when the research inevitably goes applied. Each summer I go through the same recruiting exercise where I try to recruit very theoretically sound students. This summer is no different than the rest in that I try to create a diverse lab with talented students on the theoretical side, computational side, and experimental side. I’m especially hurting for an experimental person. Especially someone more on the biology side. But because of the nature of the work, they have to have a good physics background. These don’t always go hand-in-hand. Bio people want to do bio, and typically don’t have the most solid background in math or physics. On top of this, I haven’t been happy with the lack of gender diversity lately, and want to hold my lab as an example.
Now begins my big issue: I have found a couple female students that are great theoretically, but want to do bio. As a lot of people know, there is a general interest of women in biologically based research. My lab does this, but not like the hardcore bio labs running blots and transgenic experiments day-and-night. So I’m having trouble recruiting the students I want because they want more bio or maybe because they didn’t study enough math as an undergrad. So for the first time, I’ve decided to relax my requirements and basically pull in a student from a more unfocused discipline (like bioengineering) that can maybe do a little of a lot of different fields. This allows me to get a female student that is willing to dabble with a little variety. I’m not happy with this, but I’ll make due. One of my initiatives has been to get female students into more math and physics with sprinkles of biology rather than the other way around since these fields are sorely lacking. I’ve noticed some uptick, but I’m definitely not happy with my progress.
On the personal side of things, I was having a solid couple of months, and now I am nauseous all the time. This needs to end now.