Blog badge, Occam's cornerBy Steve Caplan. Are students discriminated against for choosing poor or unsuccessful mentors? Scientific life isn't fair, so choosing wisely at the outset is crucial for student success. Recently I was "volunteered" to deliver a seminar at my institute, to explain – from a reviewer's perspective – what the major criteria are for submission of a competitive PhD student fellowship application. I anticipated a small turnout and even suggested to the organisers that a small seminar room that held 50 people would be more than sufficient. After all, the eligibility for most fellowships in the US today is exclusively for US citizens or those with permanent resident status. And our graduate student body is comprised of a large number of international students. I found myself rather shocked to find the large auditorium almost packed with PhD students, post-docs and mentors, regardless of nationality. I guess that in the age of a major "scientific recession", the interest in ways to support students and post-docs is greater than ever. Read more...