Waiting on tables, mending puppets: the first jobs that shaped researchers’ careers

Many scientists credit teenage jobs and university or summer side roles for imparting important transferable skills and valuable life experiences. Nature When Vijay Ravikumar was in secondary school, he would go on long evening walks with his best friend, exploring the city they lived in: Chicago, Illinois. One night in 2000, they passed a rundown shopfront. In the window, many puppets were on display, and a sign read: “Apprentice wanted”. Ravikumar, now a mathematician, had no particular affinity for puppets,

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