Monday, July 15, 2013

Design your own postdoc

  As anticipated, it's been a busy summer. Good, in many ways - the intern I work with is great, and I have no trouble trusting them with lots of lab work and readings. My trips so far for research have been lovely, with visits with friends and swims in beautiful lakes interspersed between work. The next couple weeks, though, look to be even more hectic, as the last-minute scramble for data before a conference catches me despite my best-laid plans, and as grant deadlines start looming.

Friday, June 7, 2013

The busy summer season

  Ah, summer. The time of year when we all relax and rejoice at end of the academic year. Riiiight. More like, the time of year when everyone scrambles to get data ready for conferences, organize and execute field work, work with summer interns, and try to get papers in before the fall hiring cycle starts.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Advisee to colleague

Each time I think I'm done applying to positions for the year and ready to plan for fall, another position opens up. So I've started hearing back from my second round of applications, including a rejection from a position at my old Ph.D. department. Of course I was disappointed, but then I thought about the issues I've had with my advisor and a few other members of the department.

Friday, April 12, 2013

It's all relative

  I just finished reading “Bossypants” by Tina Fey. I do realize I'm coming a bit late to it! I enjoyed it, laughed aloud more than a few times, and wished I had an audio version of the author reading it. But I was a bit…unsatisfied.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

It's the little things that (you) count

  "I didn't think I would be doing all these little annoying things as a scientist!" I'm paraphrasing a graduate student's recent complaint, but the sentiment is familiar to grad students and postdocs. Tagging along with the amount of writing we do, the amount of small tasks we deal with seems incongruent with the big science we want to do. And it's hard to tell a new undergraduate, or to realize as a grad student, or to remind yourself as a postdoc, that those small things necessary and essential to the big science. What do I mean by 'little things'?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Forcing yourself to write

  For someone in the sciences, I sure write a lot. That's not a surprise to anyone in academia, I think, or indeed in a professional career. We can't get away from grant writing, job cover letters, manuscripts at various stages, emailing colleagues, posters, and (in some cases) blogs. And yet whenever I teach science writing, or have a science course that emphasizes writing, students complain about that aspect and how it's not 'real science'.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Trying to decide if I'm ambivalent

  A recent article by Adam Gopnik in the New Yorker magazine examined audio recordings and advances in high-fidelity listening experiences. It's behind a paywall, but don't worry - understanding today's theme doesn't depend on understanding 3D sound. In the article, Gopnik explains a hard life choice he had to make to an old mentor, Albert Bregman. Here's Bregman's reaction: 

"'Oh,' he said, springing back up cheerfully. 'In that case, it doesn’t matter. If it’s a hard decision, then there’s always lots to be said on both sides, so either choice is likely to be good in its way. Hard choices are always unimportant.'"

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Get thee to a conference podium

  Oh little blog, I am sorry I've been neglecting you. I promise I have ideas and thoughts about what I'm doing in the fall (spoiler: it's not starting a tenure-track position). But not today.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Masters first, or go for the whole enchilada?

  This week I helped proof-read some first year master students' grant proposals, and thought how much more prepared for grant writing they'd be when/if they went on to PhDs. Indeed, thinking back to my naive self starting grad school, I wonder how things would be different if I had started with my Masters.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Fictional Role Models

  We talk about the need for role models and how important it is that those role models look like us. And of course this blog's all about how my role models have given me a push to where I am now. But it's not just real-life women that can be role models - fictional women in pop culture and literature can have a powerful pull on young women, such as a show about a young black girl who pretends to be a doctor.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

When collaborations go awry

Summary of the post (if you're in a hurry): pick your collaborators wisely. But if you don't have a choice, cross your fingers that they'll play nice.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

That's Dr. Ms. Scientist to you!

This fall, my students called me "Professor Scientist", despite the fact that I signed all my emails with my first name. I have to admit, I rather liked it. This was despite the fact, I found out mid-way through the semester, that many of the students didn't realize I had a Ph.D. After they found that out, one particularly incorrigible young man called me "Dr. Professor Scientist".

Friday, January 4, 2013

Resolving to make more lists

  Actually, I don't do resolutions. Perhaps it's because a list of resolutions becomes yet another to-do list (related: for example, a Christmas list becomes a to-do list). To-do lists are actually a lifesaver for me, with multiple lists floating around the house for home improvement projects, groceries, and of course my academic lists of analyses to do and applications to submit. I'm sure everyone has their own way of staying organized, and lists are mine - last week I gave myself the luxury of a notebook for my weekly lists, instead of random pieces of paper that cause me to panic when they're lost (because then I don't know what to do. Kidding. Kinda.).