3:15 – Courtney talks about how she became a professor at Washington State University. She just came off the road the day before our conversation!

4:15 – Courtney talks about her progression from a PhD in Dr. Gunsch’s lab to working as a postdoc in the Nicholas school at Duke University.

5:00 – Courtney answers the question: Do you know what your job is? She talks about going to a land grant university and how that is mostly research and mentoring with teaching more on the side. Teaching will be one of the biggest learning curves for her.

7:00 – Courtney talks through her thought process for mentoring and hiring graduate students heading into the the job. It is one of the biggest concerns she has taking the job.

8:00 – How she is going to attract students to a more remote location like Pullman, Washington. She talks about the cost of living being significantly less and the strength of her department. Her strategy for mentoring will be to pick someone who scientifically matches her so she can focus on mentoring the person and learning those skills. She does not want to drag down her energy with lab technique teaching.

11:20 – As a postdoc she mentored people in a technical capacity. The ins and outs of the mentoring process will need to be learned on the job. She self-identifies as shy and introverted, so she is looking for someone at first that has similar strengths and weaknesses to her.

13:30 – Thoughts, concerns, strategies about her approach to building a research program. Collaboration and finding funding is the most intimidating. She is not extroverted and avoided networking. She will need to step up and find people to collaborate with inside and outside her department. Becoming more professionally extroverted will be what she needs to work on the most. Heather Stapleton and Claudia Gunsch taught her to look for other sources of funding from foundations that prioritize science and engineering. The department she is going into is creative when it comes to funding sources.

18:00 – Important to be authentic to who you are as a person and apply that to your research approach. This echos some themes from Jose Cerrato in Episode 2.

20:00 – Systematizing and prioritize the things that you are doing to setup all the tasks you need to do. As a postdoc she was insulated a bit from the administrative tasks. She did do some annual reports for grants. She recognizes that she does not know what she is doing, but will get plenty of support from her department.

21:50 – She kept a strict schedule as a postdoc. She structured her time in terms of hour blocks.

23:30 – Importance of having her lab up and running before she hires students. She does not want to set the precedent of having people with nothing to do in her lab.

24:40 – She talks more about time blocking and Dan Ariely books on how people behave. She schedules time to get things done and sets things for times when she is most likely to get those things done well. An example would be to schedule all the writing tasks on her calendar in the morning.

26:00 – First impression questions

  • What is one mistake she has learned from? Not talking to people. She needs to pick her spots for alone time.
  • What is your biggest win so far? Getting a PhD. She was the first in her family to go to college. Her mom came to see her graduate.
  • What is your biggest fear? Failure, she does not want to end up being a bad fit for her university.
  • What are you most excited about? No humidity. She grew up in Florida then moved to Durham. Washington state means she does not have to

29:10 – What she does for mental health is reading books. She won a prize of hockey tickets in 7th grade for reading the most books in her school.