Graduate Research Assistant 

(Male, Age 23) from Tallahassee, FL

This is a REAL-LIFE job profile written by a Male aged 23 who works as a Graduate Research Assistant in Tallahassee, FL. We have removed all names and personal information in order to protect privacy. This professional kindly spent a bit of their time to complete one of our job profile surveys so that prospective job seekers like you could read their insights. Please excuse any punctuation or grammatical errors in this profile.

At a Glance

Current Job

Basic data on your current job

Job Title Graduate Research Assistant
Salary $18,500
Other Compensation None Set
Company Size (not answered)
Location Tallahassee, FL
Years Experience 1.5 years

Career Ratings

Opinions on your CAREER overall (i.e. not just your current job)

Years in Career 0
Education (not answered)
Income Rating 0 / 10
Interest Rating 0 / 10
Work-Life Rating 0 / 10
Fulfilment Rating 0 / 10

Current job Q&A

Describe the type of organization you work for.
The organization is a large university. It is intended to disseminate knowledge to students for the purpose of furthering their career.

Describe your job role and responsibilities.
I conduct research for a professor at the university, both to further the program and complete work for obtaining a PhD.

Please list an additional benefits (beyond compensation) that you receive.

Do you feel you are under/over or well/fairly compensated at your current position?

Does your job entail you working with others on a daily basis? Is this something you like/dislike about your job? Please explain.
Yes. I enjoy working with others. It not only changes the dynamic of the day by introducing stimulating situations, but can also help to develop new ideas by discussing the work we are currently doing.

Do you work collaboratively with supervisors/managers?

Do you work collaboratively with your co-workers?

Describe your work location (e.g., office, home, theatre, in the field) and what you like/dislike about working in it.
I work in a chemistry lab. I sit next to a window providing natural light which I enjoy. The lab setting is very pleasing aesthetically, as the building is moderately new. I do dislike that there are some small amenities which were not included when the building was built.

Please rate each of the following aspects of your current job on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest/best):
Income: 6
Benefits: 7
Hours: 4
Co-Workers: 8
Supervisors: 8
Job Title: 4
Level of Responsibility: 7
The Actual Work: 8

A day in the life of…

Please describe a typical workday for you in your current job:

5am to 6am
6am to 7am
7am to 8am Met with a colleague to discuss a current article related to their research. The article was found in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. We do this activity twice weekly to help ensure that we are current with the published literature.
8am to 9am Read current literature on topics related to my current research. This includes browsing several popular journals completely, while using a search engine to find articles that may have been recently published in lesser read journals.
9am to 10am Plan out experiments to be run throughout the day. This is based on previous experiments that I have run. I browsed through a record of my previous data to establish that which should logically be done next, and design a new experiment.
10am to 11am Class on inorganic materials chemistry. While not my major field of study, the PhD program requires classes to be taken outside of ones major field (mine is organic chemistry). Magnetic materials were covered in this class.
11am to 12pm Set up experiment to run through the afternoon. This is based on the design earlier in the day.
12pm to 1pm Lunch.

Following lunch, I check on that which I have set up prior to lunch to ensure that it is running smoothly.

1pm to 2pm Complete the experiments I have set up earlier and analyze the results. Sometime experiments take longer. The particular day to which I am referring allowed me to completely analyze my results.
2pm to 3pm After analysis of my results I have designed yet more experiments that stemmed from the results. During this time I designed the experiment and began the set up.
3pm to 4pm I have completed the set up for the experiments during this block of time, and allowed them to run. while running, I browsed through more journals to find new ideas for experimentation.
4pm to 5pm Coffee break.

Trip to the stockroom to pick up supplies. The current supplies I had were running low for what I needed and I needed to restock them.

I read a journal article for review later in the day.

5pm to 6pm Meeting with advisor and rest of my group.
6pm to 7pm Meeting with advisor and rest of my group.
7pm to 8pm Meeting with advisor and rest of my group.

This meeting, we reviewed a journal article. The article was suggested by our advisor. We read through the article, critically evaluating their ideas, methods and conclusions. This helps to ensure that we know how to critically evaluate previous work.

In addition, we have each presented on the work completed the previous two weeks by way of a short power point presentation. Others comment on that which is presented to help inspire new ideas and develop or draw new conclusions.

8pm to 9pm Completed the experiments started earlier and completed the analysis of the results. In the morning, I will again design new experiments for running that day.
9pm to 10pm
10pm to 11pm
11pm to 12am

Table of Contents

How you got your job

How did you get your current job?
Through high school interest in chemistry and an undergraduate degree in chemistry.

What was the application process?
Submit an applicationto the graduate school, including things like GPA, standardized test scores, resumes, activities and honors and essays.

Did you have to interview for your current job? If yes, what did the interview process entail?

If you can remember, what questions were you asked during the interview?

Do you feel your employer properly prepared you for your job? Explain.
Yes. I was well versed in the language of research and capable of carrying out the experiments I need to for this research position.

Was there training for your current position? If yes, what did it entail?
Undergraduate degree in chemistry. Class intensive chemistry major. I also worked with several professors conducting research for them.

Do you feel your educational background prepared you for your job? Explain.
Yes. For the same reasons above…my education was and is my preparation.

If applicable, do you feel your internship experience helped you prepare for your job?
Yes. I also held research internships which furthered my love and knowledge of research. It also gave me experience necessary for acceptance in to a great graduate program and for allowing me to be skilled in research.

If someone wanted to go about getting a job similar to yours, what would you recommend for him or her to do?
Complete an undergraduate chemistry degree. Try to involve yourself in independent research. If you thoroughly enjoy the research, then you should enjoy the task of getting a PhD in chemistry. But the PhD path is more intensive and you should also be prepared for that.

What skills do you think a person should have if they want to pursue a position like yours?
Independent, forward-thinking, excellent social and public speaking skills, self-motivated, adept with hands.

Do you feel that you need a certain level of education or training to be successful in your job?

What advice would you give to someone who was about to start work in your position/ line of work?
Be sure to motivate yourself to work as hard as you can toward the degree. It is difficult and time consuming work, but the reward is well worth the effort.

Long-term career plans

Is your current employment part of your overall career plan? Why or why not?
Yes. This employment is necessary to obtain my PhD. My PhD will be necessary to obtain the principal investigator position at a pharmaceutical company, which is my long term goal.

What are your current career goals?
Principal investigator (or head of a research group) within a pharmaceutical company.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your career?

Prior work history

Please list your most recent jobs prior to this current job:

Title Length Salary Description
Prior Job 1 Graduate Teaching assistant 1 year 18500 Taught chemistry lab to undergraduate students. Worked from a prepared curriculum, but was responsible for knowing the necessary information
Prior Job 2 Research Intern 2 years N/A Conducted research as an undergraduate. This has again been helpful in teaching me how to conduct research and scientific experiments. I was responsible for carrying out work that fir the research interests of the principal investigator.

Educational background

Please list your educational background:

High School GPA:4

GPA School Degree
College (Undergraduate)
or Technical/Vocational
Prefer not to share
Graduate or Professional
(Masters or Doctorate)
Prefer not to share

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