Research Associate 

(Female, Age 24) from Baton Rouge, LA

This is a REAL-LIFE job profile written by a Female aged 24 who works as a Research Associate in Baton Rouge, LA. 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 Research Associate
Salary $35,000
Other Compensation None Set
Hours/Week 40
Company Size (not answered)
Location Baton Rouge, LA
Years Experience 2 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.
A major state university : Louisiana State University

Describe your job role and responsibilities.
Supervising a research lab including the graduate students and undergraduate researchers who comprise the lab population while conducting my own scientific research and mentoring others on their research projects

Please list an additional benefits (beyond compensation) that you receive.
Health insurance, annual leave, sick leave, 401k, 403b

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.
Working with the people in my lab is fine but I detest interacting with others in the department. Research is actually a pretty ugly field and since my lab has been sabotaged 6 times by a department employee unaffiliated with my lab we have had to install security cameras in my lab.

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.
A basic scientific research lab. I also do substantial work in the field which can range from urban areas to swamps.

Please rate each of the following aspects of your current job on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest/best):
Income: 1
Benefits: 2
Hours: 5
Co-Workers: 3
Supervisors: 4
Job Title: 8
Level of Responsibility: 6
The Actual Work: 7

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
8am to 9am Checked and answered emails from the previous night. Took phone calls and worked with an undergraduate researcher on a research proposal.
9am to 10am Pinned multiple ants and prepared shipments of ants to be sent to taxonomy experts on Monday. Drowned live ants in ethanol to be used for DNA testing purposes. Fed and watered ant colonies.
10am to 11am Checked and answered emails. Worked on Career Project survey. Did a literature search on salt water consumption of ants.
11am to 12pm Went to the pre-seminar gathering to meet the guest speaker. Attended seminar.
12pm to 1pm Attended seminar.
1pm to 2pm Pinned and sorted ants. Worked on a research grant.
2pm to 3pm Sorted through old publications and placed orders for items in danger of going to the recycling bin. Did a phone consultation with a woman concerned she has “Rasberry” ants in her home.
3pm to 4pm Taught insect identification to a student worker: went over basic morphology and terminology, discussed the use of keys, went through a a key together with one specimen, then I selected five random specimens,removed their identification labels and gave them to the student as a quiz.
4pm to 5pm Student finished with their quiz, I rechecked their work, and we discussed the identifications that were wrong. Using a teaching microscope we identified the ants step by step using they keys. This allows me to see what the student is getting confused on. Student was sent home with “homework” and told to study morphology charts.
5pm to 6pm Went home for the day. Will work from home a little bit later in the day.
6pm to 7pm Edited an exam that will be administered to my boss’ students next week and returned my edit to my boss.
7pm to 8pm
8pm to 9pm
9pm to 10pm
10pm to 11pm
11pm to 12am

Table of Contents

How you got your job

How did you get your current job?
I had already been employed in the lab for 4 years as a student worker

What was the application process?
Resume, cover letter, 3 reference letters and an interview

Did you have to interview for your current job? If yes, what did the interview process entail?
Yes, it was an informal lunch time interview that involved a combination of questions about previous work experience, research goals, and hypothetical questions about problems that could arise in the lab.

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

Do you feel your employer properly prepared you for your job? Explain.
I wish I would have known there was as many interpersonal problems in the department as there are. If I would have known I would have taken my chances elsewhere.

Was there training for your current position? If yes, what did it entail?
My training mainly comprised the four previous years I had spent in the lab plus a “supervisor” training course I took when I first started in the new position.

Do you feel your educational background prepared you for your job? Explain.
My degree is in sociology but much of my coursework was in biology. My work now technically comprises research in the field of sociobiology so I do feel I was adequately prepared education wise.

If applicable, do you feel your internship experience helped you prepare for your job?

If someone wanted to go about getting a job similar to yours, what would you recommend for him or her to do?
Take a student worker position in a university run lab while they were still a student.

What skills do you think a person should have if they want to pursue a position like yours?
Meticulously organized, a strong eye for details, patience, and strong reading comprehension are must have skills for this field

Do you feel that you need a certain level of education or training to be successful in your job?
Yes, I started in the lab when I was a sophmore as a student worker. Once I graduated I was offered to stay on in the lab as a salaried Research Associate

What advice would you give to someone who was about to start work in your position/ line of work?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and never fully trust anyone outside of your own lab. Always trust your gut instinct about people and situations. Stay current on all literature pertaining to you field of research.

Long-term career plans

Is your current employment part of your overall career plan? Why or why not?
I certainly hope not. I could continue this path and be happy but only if this path took me into the private sector and away from the university.

What are your current career goals?
My ultimate career goal has nothing to do with my current career. I’d like to be the first woman to win the academy award for directing.

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 Undergraduate Researcher 4 years 8.25/hr Assisted the research associate and graduate students with their projects
Prior Job 2 Personal Assistant 6 months 20/hr Basically, I managed someone’s life for them for 6 months. I balances checkbooks, chased down delivery trucks, planned parties, cooked, cleaned, ran errands, etc

Educational background

Please list your educational background:

High School GPA:3.8

GPA School Degree
College (Undergraduate)
or Technical/Vocational
3.5 LSU Sociology
Graduate or Professional
(Masters or Doctorate)

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