Day 141: PI meeting result
Well I’ve had my first meeting with my main PI (vs my Co-PI). It went well, I’m very happy with the result and while I’m not at the end of my PhD (yet), it seemed like we were in agreement with my progress. I still have the meeting with my PI and Co-PI coming up, but let’s go over some of the things that we talked about in this meeting.
First, as with most meetings with my PI, there are a few new things on my to-do list now thanks to the meeting, mostly working on refining my writing ability. As an early career researcher, there are techniques I need to learn, skills I need to have, and I am expected to learn the major players in my field. Specifically because my research is so far out from the rest of the lab.
When I made the jump from engineering design to (basically) signal processing, I knew it was going to be a big change. The tools changed, the methods changed, even the way we talk about the work has changed. I’ve been at it for a year now (a year and three months to be exact) and there is still a lot of the basic things that I need to learn. Passing my QE helped give me an introduction to the way we do things in my new lab, but these were just the basics.
The essence of my meeting was to highlight some of the things I really need to understand, but also to plan out my time in the lab. I had a good conversation about the work we are currently doing and the work I wanted to do. Per my PI by the end of the year (or the end of the spring term at the latest) I will be defending my PhD defense proposal. A rather large milestone because that will dictate the work I am doing for the next 2-3 years.
This means there are a few things I need to do to prepare, namely be first author on a paper in our lab. I have several conference papers and one journal paper that is currently in review, but all of that was from my old lab. This is a bit of a different ball game. Thankfully the work I am currently doing should be the first authorship that I need before my proposal defense.
We also went over what I wanted out of the program, namely where I wanted work when I am done with my PhD. That was easy, DARPA is my dream job, unfortunately they are a tight knit group with very few openings, especially for a recently graduated PhD. We agreed that there are several other government agencies that would be a good fit, or there is always academia which I could use to springboard to the work.
At the end of the day, it was a great conversation and I look forward to the things coming up. I have to admit I love my program and my PI is awesome. I’ve been very lucky getting to this point and I cannot wait to take the next steps. This year should be a good one for me if all things go according to plan.
The picture posted with your blog appears to show an attempt at direct signal processing from human to tech interaction? (Cute bonnet 🙂 Have you thought of working in the private sector? I believe Elon Musk is delving into that field…
January 7, 2020 at 12:40 pm
I did think about going into the private sector. There are a few companies that seem interesting, and yes Elon Musk’s company is one of them. Thankfully I have some time to think about it, but it never hurts to start planning now.
You are correct, I took the photo and the devices in the center are for EEG recording (non invasive brain recordings) we use them in our lab to do brain-machine interfacing typically for prosthetics or exoskeletons, but we’ve also done a lot of other things using the equipment. For example, I’m using them for spinal cord injury research.
January 7, 2020 at 12:54 pm
Cool! Your work being noninvasive, would interface work better closer to the targeted area of the brain? I had read there were issues with targeting when using invasive procedures (like hitting a needle with sledgehammer or using a blow torch to connect a microcircuit – if that gives the correct picture). Does noninvasive equipment work around that?
January 7, 2020 at 6:22 pm
I started typing a response, but it ended up being long enough that I said screw it and I wrote a little something breaking it down, hopefully this helps:
Thanks for all your questions!
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January 8, 2020 at 10:51 am
ROTFL I’m flattered. I’m just a SciFi writer but found your line of work interesting as it sort of dovetails with a humanoid species I’m developing. Do you mind if I contact you via E-Mail? BTW my favorite xkcd is 220:_ Philosophy
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January 8, 2020 at 11:17 am