Karin Bodewits is the author of the humorous but tragic novel about postgrad life, You Must Be Very Intelligent: The PhD Delusion (Springer, 2017).
“The author lets the innocent reader peer inside the university cloisters (like Dorothy peering behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz).”
Karin was born April, 1983, in a small village in the economically dead North East of the Netherlands. As a child she mainly caught frogs and leapt over ditches. When life became meaningful (though not necessarily better), she dreamt about travelling the world as a biologist.
At the age of seventeen, she swapped village life for a university town 20 miles up the road and matriculated at the University of Groningen to study biology. Six amiable years later, blurred by pub visits and lengthy ‘work’ sojourns in China and Spain, she graduated with an MSc in molecular biology and was increasingly gripped by science.
Having acquired a taste for travel and cultural enrichment, and perhaps a bizarre yearning to return to drizzle, she moved to the wonderful, historic city of Edinburgh, capital of Scotland, to start her PhD in biochemistry. Despite a ludicrous intake of Irn Bru (a chemical drink unique to Scotland) along with mountainous amounts of fried pizza and dubious frat-ish parties, she successfully defended her thesis in 2011.
Feeling like a lost soul, she backpacked round South America, not knowing what would or should come next. But something had to, because she ran out of money, so she started her first ‘real’ job, at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich. Having re-stocked her pocket, and feeling sufficiently proficient in the academic world, she quit a year later and co-founded the company NaturalScience.Careers. In 2015, she published her first book (a career guide for female natural scientists).
These days, she gives soft skill and career seminars to young scientists, is often invited to speak at natural science events. She writes short stories, career columns and opinion pieces for magazines like Chemistry World, Naturejobs, Laborjournal and Nachrichen aus der Chemie. Currently she is touring around and participates in science slams and other events to promote her book.
With her partner Philipp and their two sons, she lives in Munich, where she spends much time wondering what to do next.