What did they mean by “You can do anything”?

Science majors are always hearing we can do “anything” with our degrees. Personally, as a physics major in college I heard this a lot, especially when I attended the Women in Physics Conference my senior year. But to me this phrase wasn’t comforting, it just made me wonder what career options that really included.

After college graduation I decided to go to graduate school for mechanical engineering to study fluid dynamics. Now as a first year PhD student I have already begun to be posed the question “what are you going to do with your degree?” And this has reminded me of my previous problems with the vagueness of being told I can do anything.

I have been training and working in science for five years now, and in that time I have met so many people working to get or in possesion of science degrees. I have learned that introducing myself as a physics major and now a PhD student can lead to an interesting conversation about the diverse career opportunities after getting a science degree. It has proved to be a good practice not only at networking events but also while I was traveling in Europe before starting graduate work.

There seem to be as many possible directions as there are degrees awarded. The goal of this project is to learn more about how specific people have found their own paths. To create an archive of interviews with scientists. To ask about what they wanted to be when they were in college, find out the unexpected twists and turns their paths took, and get advice for those of us still on the early phases of our lifelong journeys. I want this project to be a place where any future scientist can come and find at least one interview they can connect with.

With this goal in mind I’m looking for all sorts of people to interview. All levels of science degrees in as many fields as possible; people that I already know and people I have not met yet. If you or someone you know has gotten a science degree and is now working in or out of that field (even in or out of science) and wouldn’t mind answering some questions, please let me know!

If you’re in school right now and trying to figure out what to do with your degree after you graduate feel free to send in questions that you would like to have answered and I will try and pose them to the appropriate people.

My goal is to post one interview a week here, but you can also follow along on the twitter or instagram dedicated to this blog, @aScienceDegree. Let’s get started!

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