Friday, September 26, 2008

My students are awesomer than yours...

I know everyone thinks their kids are the best. But as I don't have any kids yet, I think my graduate students (and my undergrad) are the best. Whether or not this is true, I have no idea, but I think they are. I am fully aware that I am biased. However, I have gotten confirmation that my undergrad is indeed awesome - she got an award. And, today, I got confirmation that one of my grad students is awesome - he won a fellowship.

His fellowship benefits both of us. I didn't fully appreciate this fact when I was a graduate student (by the way, I did not get a fellowship). I saw fellowships as mostly benefiting the student - after all, fellowship students make more than non-fellowship students. However, now that I am not paying my student 36k+overhead a year, I can buy more equipment, which is overhead free. So I basically get 60-ish% more for my money. (Yes, overhead is overly high).

And he is extremely happy with the extra money. He doesn't realize it yet, but he should be more happy with the title which will help him get a job in the future. And as he wants to go into academia, the more "honors and awards" one has, the better.

In any case, this particular grad student is exceptionally awesome. Every assistant professor should have a graduate student like him. He works on weekends, is extremely independently motivated, and never complains that something is "not science". For example, I worked with grad students as a post-doc that complained that writing software to analyze data was "not science". Taking data was science, but building the testing set-up to take the data or writing the software to analyze the data was "not science". Essentially, if it couldn't be plotted, the grad student didn't want to do it.

Anyway, my grad students are awesome. They have all dug in and helped build the fundamental backbone components of my lab. If only I could get them all fellowships.


Anonymous said...

I have/had some awesome students myself. One former labbie is working 2 hours away from me now and we see each other every few weeks for shopping and hiking - she rocks. Another undergrad labbie spent Tgiving with me and friends last year back at my PhD school (his BS school) - he has a new baby and we paraded the munchkin around the faculty. I chat online with my former mentees pretty frequently about anything/everything. I'm so proud of them - I get all sappy just thinking about all the things ahead of them. I'm just getting to know my current bunch (4 women) - I think they all have great potential.

Candid Engineer said...

Congrats. It also helps when said students have good mentors.

The difference in $ is amazing when the 60% overhead disappears- that's the overhead at my U, too, and it just seems incredible to have to pull in so much money just to get anything done.