How a decision-analysis tool helped one scientist couple make some tough career choices
When ecologist Rachel Katz was offered a government job in a region with few academic options for her partner, herpetologist Sean Sterrett, a decision-analysis tool helped to solve their ‘two-body problem’.
One Ph.D., hold the pastries
I never thought I would spend so much of my time and money setting up still-life–worthy displays of flaky croissants and shiny fruit for people who are judging my science, and that of my colleagues. Yet that's the expectation: At my university, and many others, students bring food to our thesis committee meetings and defenses, adding to the already sky-high pressure. My first taste of it came 5 years ago, for my first committee meeting. I prepared furiously. I meticulously proofread my written proposal and aligned all the figures. My slides all used the same font. I had even prepared some extra slides to address possible questions my judges might ask. Even so, I was sure the meeting was doomed—because I didn't know how to make coffee. </br>!</img> ILLUSTRATION: ROBERT NEUBECKER > “Committees shouldn't expect students to provide lavish spreads.” In my mind, one drop of burnt coffee would cause my judges to kick me aside like a stray dog. One bite of stale pastry would put t