Friday, July 4, 2008


A lot of people have been asking me about this one. My fellowship is 1-2 years. It’s renewable after the first year and it comes from the South African government through the National Research Foundation administered by the University of Cape Town (whew!). Here in the ZA (RSA or SA), people (students) tend to look for jobs and apply near the end of the year before the year that they need the job. For instance, if they were on the US schedule and they would start work in the 08-09 school year, many wouldn’t apply for work until April, May, June, even July of 2008 after they had graduated. So it’s a bit different since I’m used to people applying for summer jobs and permanent jobs and even universities and graduate schools from SEPTEMBER (the first full month of school). So people since my advisor didn’t want to set my time at 2 years as I told him I was happy to do, I had to apply for US jobs when I arrived back in September. If I stayed for one year I wanted to have something to welcome me when I returned. (I am fine with just doing some writing work and compositions) So I applied for some jobs. Here are three that I’m looking at.

I’ve applied to be an astronaut. You know this and I’ve written about this extensively in late 2007. It’s a year long process, so even if I got in on my first time (very rare) I wouldn’t be accepted until May 2009 or so. The deadline for application for this round (every 2 years) is June (or so) 2008. So it’s next month I believe. I finished my app around when they put it online back in October.

There was a job at MD Anderson Cancer Hospital for which they sought a mechanical engineer to help with cancer research in West Africa. They were interested in me due to Jose-Miguel and my surname. But they are on a 3 month hiring freeze which (last time I checked) went up to 6-8 months. So it’s a possibility for next year I guess. I’ll wait to hear.

So it looked as if I would stay for another year for sure (assuming ZA still wants to renew) but then I was offered an interview for a professorship at a university called RIT.

Specifically it’s in the department called NTID—National Technical Institute for the Deaf. If it doesn’t work, switch the ntid and the rit.

They want to hire me to be an assistant professor (support/instructional staff). I would be a tutor for deaf students in the normal 4-year science and technology majors within RIT, and I would teach courses in the 2-year associates program for deaf students in the NTID department. I would probably advise students who are transitioning from the 2-year NTID-RIT program into the 4-year RIT program for a bachelors degree. We had a 3 hour video conference interview (They didn’t want to fly me to NY). It went well except my presentation which was within the area that they wanted but too high a level. The first questioned asked after my 20 minute teaching lesson was what level was the presentation? I immediately said “4th year students” (which is true I do have a 4th year [honors] student in the course (I just used slides from a lecture for a course because I was short on time)). Anyway, it went well even with that. They could possibly offer it to me in which case I would have to learn sign language and be fluent by year 2 at which point the tenure clock would start. The nice thing about RIT is that it’s actually a teaching college so tenure is not so heavily weighted on research. But they do have a new president who is trying to push research. I asked about what would happen if I got these research grants (mentioned earlier): would I be able to carry them to RIT and work on them or would I have to give them up if I got the job. They said that the new president would love for faculty to do more research and I could most definitely use them. But when they gave me the percentage of time allotted for it, it was small, maybe about 10 percent of my time. So that would be about 4 hours per week. So I would have to think about that. If I got the HIV grant I would definitely have to consider that because I want to go somewhere where I could work on it. But it’s a wonderful opportunity to work with deaf students, learn a new language, and become a prof doing a bit of research. So we’ll see.

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