If HR Tools Had Hearts; Here's the Professional Profile From Mine
Recently, a former student of mine approached me in a local supermarket; saying that they just wanted to thank me; that even though (at the time) they didn't always grasp the surface content and/or deeper meaning of my lectures --they did think I was a cool person, and one of their favorite professors/teachers during their time in school. I am always moved by such encounters; and never take them for granted. Here's why:
Ultimately, even though I have been working in academia for over a decade, I am as fascinated and passionate about my chosen field of Behavioral Neuropharmacology as I was as an undergraduate and graduate student.
I have considered it a privilege to be able to continue working in university and medical school settings; teaching, and contributing to our shared understanding of the principles of Behavioral Neuropharmacology via engagement in both collaborative and original research spanning multiple levels of analysis from complex behavioral measurement to more molecular phenomena such as in vitro receptor binding assays, single neuronal electrophysiology, immunohistochemistry, fluorescence, etc. and more recently, (harnessing the possibilities offered by modern imaging techniques such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Optogenetics, etc.) simultaneous, real time measurement of pharmacologically induced alterations in both biochemical and behavioral phenomena.
My rejoinder to the former student is still fresh in my mind:
“I probably don't need to tell you this, but It often happens in higher education that policy makers, university board members, and administrators have a different vision than what I (as you may recall) refer to as ‘facultystudents’. My vision has always been education; devoting my energy to:
1) developing a love of learning in students and
2) strengthening my own love of that feeling of ‘leaning a bit too far back in one's chair’; that first step on the way to learning something new.” I went on to say that “even though these are uncertain times for traditional higher education --and I continually keep on top of the latest developments in psychology and neuroscience, I am also considering opportunities with younger people, in the areas of STEM or STEAM education --toward the goal of making a difference in students before they even get to college.
I am also open to pursuing opportunities in the environmental industry in research, education, or education in non-traditional settings, i.e., adapting what I've learned in comparative neuroscience in the lab to the ‘real world’, i.e., into the field; studying various animal species and how they are affected by, and respond to rapidly changing conditions in their traditional habitats --in zoos, estuaries, nature preserves and other ‘atypical classrooms’...In fact I would be extremely grateful if you keep me in mind if you hear of any opportunities in any of these areas.”
Later I realized that I couldn't have said it better myself; I already had.
© Gerald Hecht, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Gerald Hecht with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.