GellaBella

Penn Vet V'14
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Nov 9, 2008
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Philadelphia, PA
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Veterinary Student
I was wondering if any of you had thought about contacting PIs in laboratories you were interested in working in and seeing if they would be willing to pay you for your time doing research while you were in vet school?

I'm figuring if I weren't going to vet school (I haven't applied yet, so this is all hypothetical), I'd be doing a post doc in which the PI would pay me around $40k/yr (at least around here). PIs need postdocs in their labs...so...what if once I get into vet school I were to market myself as a 'cheap' postdoc. like, obviously I wouldn't be able to be in the lab 60 hrs/week, so I wouldn't expect to be paid full post doc salary, but they are essentially obtaining a person who has substantial research experience and a postdoc mind...not that my mind is worth much more right now than microbio and biochem but still.

any thoughts? Anybody thought about trying this before? Success? failures?

haha its just really kind of scary to think of living only on my fiances post doc salary while i'm in vet school. I would like to offset the financial strain a bit if I can.
 

JumpHigherLivie

10+ Year Member
Jan 14, 2009
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I would think that it would be worth a try, with the right lab... since vet school will essentially be 9-5 (plus study time) it would need to be a lab where the PI was ok with you pulling odd hours early/late. It would probably be helpful to choose PIs within CVM so that they would be more understanding? And maybe be a more convincing sell after a semester too, when you KNOW (well kind of how much "extra" time you'll have.

I'll still be working on my PhD in vet school this fall and my PI is keeping me on at a 25% assistantship. I'm going crazy this summer trying to get a bunch of "bench" work done so that I can do a lot of analyzing the first few months ... which I think will be more conducive (since I can do it anywhere from my laptop).
 

quakk

10+ Year Member
Jul 19, 2005
84
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Non-Student
this is a brilliant idea. i have to believe it's possible.

i've recently taken a break from the vet course to do a phd. i'll be interested to see what you find out.
 

No Imagination

I
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Sep 19, 2008
1,023
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Veterinarian
Well, as I posted recently in the vet forums, if you've gotten your PhD, it may be possible to fund yourself. New Investigator grants are easier to get then ever.

3 caveats I can think of however:

1. If you think you would like to go tenure track after vet school, probably wouldn't want to 'waste' your new investigator grant (think you have to use it 5 years after you get your PhD, and you only get one)

2. You need to have a good project (and I think if your not completely sick of the work, you can just continue with your PhD project. I am sure we all have experiments we would still like to run)

3. Probably need some form of Post Doc (either at the vet school, or in another department - Reason, I don't think you can get a grant without institution support, and without a staff position, no school is going to support you). Not that hard to do actually, been talking to some people, and should be able to get one were I don't actually get paid by the department/school, but paid by my grant.

4. (Ok, 4 caveats) - You can't do this on your own. You can't and wouldn't want to take the responsibilies of being a PI on a grant while in vet school (just the progress reports would kill you if you don't have experience with them), so i think you would need to have STRONG collaboration. But, since your bringing in the $$$, I am sure some young PhD would jump on the chance.

If I (or anyone) could pull this off, wow, you will be set if you decide to go into academia. Think about it, More Publications, a PhD, a DVM, and evidence that you know how to manage your time, money, and able to write grants?

I'd hire me, and I know better!

Ill let you know if and when I am able to pull this off.