- Interview Overview
Interviews by: Anjana Chandrasekhar
Editing: Alexandra Bortnick
1. Could you please list your previous department at UC San Diego and provide a brief description of the research you conducted?
At UCSD, I was in the Department of Psychiatry. My research was focused on understanding the neural mechanisms underlying nicotine dependence.
2. Could you describe your current job profile?
My current position is Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology at Ohio Northern University. My current job profile involves teaching 4th and 5th year pharmacy students principles of neuroscience and neuropharmacology. In addition, I will conduct research on neural mechanisms underlying drug addiction.
3. What made you decide to transition into your current position?
My current position involves both teaching and research and it was ideal for what I was looking for.
4. Apart from the research you conducted, do you feel like anything in particular has helped you to acquire your current position?
I always loved to teach. Luckily at UCSD, there are some great opportunities for people who want to be involved in teaching. I particularly recommend a course called ‘The College Classroom’ which I took. Dr. Beth Simmons and Dr. Peter Newbury conduct the class as part of the Center for Teaching Development at UCSD. They also conduct regular workshops on different techniques to improve teaching in the classroom.
5. Could you list some of the most striking similarities and differences between your post-doc and current position?
The striking difference first: My postdoc was very research intensive and my current job will be teaching intensive. The similarity between the two positions will be that I will continue my research work on drug addiction.
6. Is there any specific challenge (during the entire process of transitioning) that you would like to highlight and if so how did you overcome it?
Because I transitioned into a teaching institution, I needed to learn a lot of new things about advising students and preparing for lectures. However, I have been lucky so far as senior faculty at my current institution were happy to provide some pearls of wisdom. So my only advice is don’t hesitate to ask for help, someone will be always willing to help you out.
7. Could you describe your goals and ambitions for the next 5 years?
My goals for the next few years include 1) Being an excellent teacher 2) Setting up my laboratory and 3) Starting my own independent line of research 4) Setting up collaborations and obtaining grant funding for my research. All of these individual goals ultimately arch into my overall goal of being tenured at my institution and excelling in my research and teaching.
8. What do you feel you could have done more, as a Postdoc, to help prepare you for or acquire your current position?
Yes, there is always that hindsight. I could have been more targeted in my search early on in my postdoc and seeked more teaching opportunities.
9. What do you feel is the most important advice you can give to a current UCSD Postdoc in order for them to obtain a position such as yours?
I would advise postdocs to keep an open mind, network hard and be flexible while looking for jobs. I would like to quote my mentor at UCSD Dr. Athina Markou who always told me that a job is what you make out of it.