Steve’s Blog

Becoming a non-traditional engineering student

I am something akin to the poster child for the non-traditional graduate student. Took a terminal M.S. in Nuclear Engineering to support my parents, moved across country and worked a handful of menial jobs until I wound up with a job tangentially related...

Am I competitive for a nuclear physics PhD programs?

Lately I’ve been posting under the pseudonym DrSteve on the excellent and long-standing physics board physicsforum.com. The site hosts physics questions but, more relevant for the purposes here, academic and career advice. A typical question involves...

Education, research, jobs oh my

Today the Chronicle of Higher Education had yet another provocative article on the link between education and jobs, here in the context of @ElonMusk and his decision to relocate @TeslaMotors battery manufacturing to Nevada, where there is a deficit of...

How many years should you spend in med school?

The debate rages on whether to shorten med school duration (not residency) from 4 to 3 years. This experiment is not new but has been revived in recent years in response to skyrocketing costs and a perceived shortage of physicians. A very recent NY Times...

Help is on its way?

You can’t claw your way to the kitchen in the morning to grab a cup of coffee without stumbling on one or another article raising alarms about skyrocketing college tuition. You may have gotten so inured to the whole topic to not even have noticed...

Depressing look at grad school in the humanities Part 1

The Chronicle for Higher Education devotes periodic issues to particular themes like graduate students. Periodically there appears articles that are must read yet are painful to read this one does everthing it can to discourage students from pursuing...

Obama talks up STEM

Here President Obama meets with young science entrepreneurs as a backdrop for announcing expansion of an existing AmeriCorps program in an effort to improve STEM education for 18,000 low-income students. In an era of austere budgets coupled with a lack...

Tution freezing?

Purdue has taken up the tuition freeze cause. The former Indiana governor and current Purdue president is quoted as saying “Instead of asking our students’ families to adjust their budgets to our desired spending, let’s try to adjust our spending...

Statement of Purpose: Part 2

After 87 days on the road, two weeks since I’d slept indoors, in the middle of the seemingly endless plains of Eastern Kazakhstan, I watched in horror as the oil drained out of the bottom of my motorcycle’s shock absorber. This was not good. I was...

Statement of Purpose: Part 1

A very frequent question is how to write an statement of purpose, which is the most important tool at your disposal to distinguish yourself from your competition. In this blog I offer up one sample statement of purpose. Two things have to come together