Turning Points books highlight faculty experiences

The newest edition of “Turning Points,” an annual book series produced by Rice’s Gateway Study of Leadership (GSL) that features the personal stories and insights of Rice professors, is now available online. This year’s five-book collection highlights faculty from the Wiess School of Natural Sciences reflecting on choosing academia, cultivating mentors, developing skills, discovering opportunities and embracing leadership.

“People always say life is short, but I’ll tell you life is long,” Cindy Farach-Carson, a professor of biochemistry and cell biology, said in one of the books. “When you go to work every day, you have to go to work a lot of days, a whole lot of days. It feels so long. You got to go to work on days when you don’t feel great, you got to go to work on days when you’d rather do something else. So you better like what you do.”

“You learn a lot in being wrong and I often like it when experiments don’t work the way I expect them to work,” said Matthew Bennett in another excerpt. Bennet is an assistant professor of biochemistry and cell biology. “As my postdoctoral mentor used to tell me, failed experiments are just unexpected results. Because that means there’s something new to learn.”

GSL, a student-led fellowship housed in the School of Social Sciences, first produced the books in 2012, and they focused on social sciences. Each year, professors from a select academic school reflect on their careers, research interests and experiences in academia through interviews with GSL students.

Ipek Martinez, associate dean of social sciences and director of GSL, said the project is “continually growing” and that GSL plans to produce books for each academic school throughout the university.

“The Turning Points project has turned into a rewarding collaboration between schools that generates opportunities for students to get to know the professors and learn from their experiences even before they meet them in class,” Martinez said. “It showcases the experiences of faculty and highlights a variety of paths to academia, the roles mentors play in development of careers, sources of inspiration for research and avenues to foster curiosity. It’s a great resource GSL students share with their peers and the Rice community.”

For more information or to view content from the books, visit http://turningpoints.rice.edu. Print editions of the books are available at the Woodson Research Center at Fondren Library. For more information about GSL, visit http://turningpoints.rice.edu/home/about.


About Amy McCaig

Amy is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.