From the MiSciWriters Editorial Board
What qualifications does one need to demonstrate in order to get into a PhD program?
In the United States, there are a few requirements that most PhD programs use to select their students: statement of purpose, recommendation letters, Grade Point Average (GPA), and results from a standardized test. One widely used standardized test is the general Graduate Record Examination (GRE), which is divided into three sections: verbal, quantitative, and writing. The test compares your performance to other test-takers, showing your performance for each section by percentile rank.
Although GREs are required by many PhD programs across the nation, some PhD programs, like the one at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, do not require the GRE (although sending your GRE score is highly recommended).
Since this spring, the community at the Program in Biomedical Sciences (PIBS) at the University of Michigan brought up the possibility of making the general GRE optional. PIBS director Dr. Scott Barolo initiated the idea of having a public discourse about whether to drop the GRE in the list of requirements for PhD admissions. Several PIBS faculty and staff contributed to a white paper presenting their arguments for either keeping or removing the requirement to submit the GRE. On August 3rd, PIBS hosted a town hall meeting to discuss both sides of the argument and get input from other members of the community.
Continue reading “PIBS GRE Town Hall Meeting Recap”
Author: Peter Orchard
Editors: Theresa Mau, Bryan Moyers, Alisha John
Almost 100 years ago, the English biologist and statistician Dr. Ronald Fisher was enjoying a cup of tea with his Cambridge University colleagues when another biologist, Dr. Muriel Bristol, made an interesting claim. Bristol asserted that just by tasting her tea, she could infer whether the tea was poured into the cup before the milk, or the milk before the tea.
Continue reading “P-values, or: infinite shades of grey”
By Ellyn N. Schinke
Growing up, I was an avid soccer player. But, I never wanted the glory of being a team’s leading scorer. Defense was my home. That is until I scored my first goal. I was elated, but quickly realized that I had never in my time on defense received anywhere near the validation that I had for that goal. I could save goals or shut down the other team’s star player, but that usually went unnoticed. If anything, I was typically criticized for something I didn’t do more often than I was praised for something I did. This experience taught me something important – defense is a thankless job.
The same pattern that I saw in my soccer experience happens all the time with public health.
Continue reading “Defending human health: A thankless job”
By Bryan Moyers
In the film Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, there is a scene where the quartet of male leads is screaming at their boss. They are outraged over the hiring of a woman for the position of news anchor. At one point, David Koechner’s character leans forward over the desk and announces:
“It is anchorMAN, not anchorLADY, and THAT IS A SCIENTIFIC FACT!” Continue reading “Science behind-the-scenes: “And that is a scientific FACT!””
By Alison Ludzki
April is Stress Awareness Month
April is a natural fit for Stress Awareness Month, playing host to inevitable final exams and tax season. But is there a way to avoid the stress that comes along with them?
Stress means different things to different people, making it hard to define. Most importantly, stress is a hormonal response to danger. However, stress can also occur in response to not-so-dangerous occasions in our day-to-day lives, including routine events like work, family interactions, and other daily responsibilities. When these stressors are ongoing, they can have physical and mental health consequences. Continue reading “Don’t sweat the small stuff: Exercise is Medicine® for stress relief”
By Alisha John
BREAKING:Planet Earth is under attack by alien species from out-of-place. They may be lurking in your backyard right now. These invasive species take many forms – from plants to fish to mammals. But one thing is certain: they threaten the delicate balance of our native ecosystems.
Invasive species threaten native ecosystems and wildlife
As defined by Executive Order 13112 signed by President Clinton in 1999, an invasive species is an alien species which causes harm or is likely to cause harm to the environment, economy, or human health. Continue reading “Invasive species: An alien attack from out-of-place!”
By Bryan Moyers
Do you remember being taught the “Scientific Method” in school? There were always slight variations, but it went something like:
- Ask a question
- Do background research
- Form an educated guess (hypothesis)
- Test your hypothesis by doing an experiment
- Analyze your data and draw a conclusion
- If your hypothesis is wrong, return to step 3 with a new hypothesis.
- Communicate your results
These steps seem like a great tool to introduce students to science. They’re simple and easy to understand once the teacher explains words like “hypothesis” and “experiment”. If you’re like me, perhaps you remember it seeming straightforward—scientists follow a linear set of steps that produce powerful results. Teachers drilled that method into us grade after grade. If only they weren’t completely wrong. Continue reading “Science behind-the-scenes: (Almost) Everything grade school taught you about science is wrong”