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genegeek CAN

Hi. I'm genegeek (aka Catherine Anderson). Thanks for stopping by. I realized during my PostDoc that I preferred learning and explaining new results to doing science so I started a non-traditional career of teaching and outreach. I'll be using this space to explore public perception of genetics and other cool molecular biology stuff.

My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

*I know that some people were hoping for an interesting review of pinball machines and I'm sorry to disappoint.

So we are all answering the question: What would I do if I wasn't doing my science? Well, I just quit my day job so am figuring out the question for real!

Some would argue that I haven't been doing 'science' for some time now. I teach 'foundations of medicine' at UBC medical school, focusing on genetics but also other parts of biology and clinical skills - and I am still working there. I just quit the job running an outreach program in genetics and it took most of my time...so what to do now?

I'm not that freaked out by the lack of direction in my current situation. I've never followed a straight path and have been lucky to:

  • travel around the world for a year (and continue to travel to fun places)
  • work as a counsellor for children with special needs and their families
  • work as a paramedic (cool job but I'm too little to meet some of the physical requirements)
  • do a PhD (avoid 'real life' - no, I loved my project)
  • dabble in music industry (got enough exposure to realize that it isn't for me)
  • teach at universities and high schools... (super fun, more at end of post^)

I'm not sure why I have bounced around a lot. I guess I've always taken the opportunities that sound like fun. My dad doesn't have a lot of education but he is a really smart man. He always told us to do a job that you love and you won't need external 'stuff' to make you happy. You see, he did a job that he hated to provide for our family and he didn't want us to get trapped - although now I think he wishes that I would settle on one thing. We also had a good role model in my mom who went back to work for a career she liked. It's true, when you love your work, life is a lot more fun. When a job has more crap than fun, I start to look around - and have been lucky to find things. Most of my jobs haven't had a lot of money but have hopefully involved 'making the world a better place'.

If I wasn't doing science, I would...

hockey refereeTo be honest, if I was pining after another career, I would go for it. So I'm going to answer this question without being limited by my abilities. If I could do any job in the world, I would be an NHL referee. This would require me to keep my love of hockey but gain some serious ice skating skills...and probably a penis. So why be a referee? They get the thrill of the games and crowds, good salary, longer career than a player. I like the idea of imposing order and being crucial without being famous as an individual - although I might be popular because I would allow clean fighting.

It is liberating to look at the world without any limits. However, I'm also a realist so have to decide the next step for me in my current body. Suggestions? What should I be when I grow up?

I have a great idea for physiological research re: NHL players...maybe I should go write that proposal right now.

 

^How did I end up in science education?

I HATED science in high school because it was so boring. I hoped to study music and had a spot at university for piano performance. But I changed my mind and went to study microbiology instead - not sure why but it was definitely the right decision. (I didn't have enough talent or drive to make it as a pianist.)

I always wanted to go to medical school and teaching there gives me what I wanted = get to learn all the cool stuff without having to be a clinician at the end. (Feet really gross me out.) I still do a bit of research here but I'm still learning the new field of medical education.

Creating an outreach program for genetics seemed to bring all my experience together. Plus, the program provided hands-on activities to make that boring textbook stuff into real life experience and learning. Hopefully it helps out kids like me that liked the subject matter but not the classes.

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Thomas Joseph
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Now I have The Who's Pinball Wizard playing in my head. Thanks for todays science soundtrack!


Evie
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A hockey ref would definitely be a cool job!! Good choice! And love the fact you've been doing work that 'makes the world a better place', I hope to do the same.


Nikkilina
Washington University School of Medicine
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I love hockey! I keep saying that my next husband will be a hockey player. My current husband doesn't appreciate that so much though!


Thomas Joseph
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Someone I know used to work in marketing for a professional hockey team. They said those players carried more STD's than a beaker full of syphilis.


Nikkilina
Washington University School of Medicine
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@TJ Way to crush my dreams!


Evie
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Haha.. that's pretty funny TJ, though I'm pretty sure they're not as bad as most So Cal residents..


genegeek
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I don't know if most hockey players are husband material. I guess an older player who has settled down a bit might be better. I have a few friends who are pro hockey players and I'm always amazed to see the women lining up to sleep with them. One friend had to learn his position in football terms so the groupies would understand what he did. Yuck!


Nikkilina
Washington University School of Medicine
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That's just a shame! Oh well, I'm pretty happy with the one I have anyway.


Brian Krueger, PhD
Columbia University Medical Center
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Imagine that, a Canadian who wants to do something associated with Hockey :P  I was half expecting David Manly to say he wanted to be a skate sharpener.

I'm impressed with your outreach program.  Let me know if I can help!


genegeek
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Hey, don't mock the game! I thought David or other Canadian would say that I should be a Zamboni driver.

I'm taking a break from the outreach program but might go back - or start another one... I'll let you know!


JanedeLartigue
UC Davis
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Oh no, I can't think of anything worse than being a ref, you'd be the most hated and shouted at person on the pitch!  Though maybe hockey refs are a bit better respected than English footie refs, a bit more like rugby refs who command a lot more authority, footie refs in England just get sworn at a lot.  I don't think I could hack the pressure!  That's an idea though, maybe the players would feel like they couldn't yell/swear at a female ref!


JanedeLartigue
UC Davis
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Eek, I meant to say good luck with new career paths/decisions though!


genegeek
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Sadly, hockey refs are yelled at a lot - but there is glass between you and the spectators :) Maybe it appeals to my judgemental nature or something...think it would be fun!

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