Archive for: April, 2011

Anniversary FAIL!

Apr 29 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

I know that I have been a little quiet recently...but it is the Stanley Cup playoffs. So I have a good excuse 😀

Anyhooooo...I was going back through the archives (read: procrastinating-I seriously have no idea why I went to check out the ancient Blogspot home) and I just realized that I totally missed my one-year blog anniversary! Apparently, I first stepped out into the big ol' blogosphere 19 March 2010.

::throws confetti::

::pours another glass of whiskey::

::pops top off beer::

In honor of my delayed milestone, I will first thank all those who actually commented on my first post. Many of you have become great bloggy friends (in order of appearance):

Anonymous (person, not the group. I think), Prof Like Substance, Professor in Training, Tideliar, Candid Engineer, Cath from VWXYnot (go CANUCKS!), Unbalanced Reaction

Thanks to everyone that I have been so fortunate to interact with this past year (+1.5 mo). I have learned a lot, and it has been great fun. I appreciate all of your company as I have been navigating the new "assistant prof." thingy. Here's to more good times ahead *clink!*

If you would be so kind, now would be an awesome time to learn more about all y'all, too. So, please, tell me: Who are you, and why are you here? Is there something you would like to hear more about? AND, though I've been trying to cheat off of PLS's recent blogrolling,  if you would like to shamelessly plug your own blog here, feel free. It's a party, and we're all I hope that you will de-lurk for a bit and say hi!

13 responses so far

I am #scimom!

Apr 15 2011 Published by under awesomeness, meme, parenting

This post is my contribution to the #scimom project, started by David Wescott at It's not a lecture*. I'm a little late, but I think it is continuing all month, and it's a fun idea, so I'm going to jump in.

Here is what David wrote on his blog:

"if you're a mom AND a scientist, then just write a post this month about how awesome it is to be a mom and a scientist or something like that.  Maybe suggest a role model, or a story about why both roles are important to you.  Just make it personal and relevant to your life. As far as I'm concerned you make an awesome role model and people should know about you."

I am a mom and a scientist. Mini-G is a ridiculously cute 4 yo that is turning into one of the most awesome people I know. She is smart, hilarious and a little bossy. No one enjoys a cup of steamed milk like she does. Throw in a donut and you are witnessing pure job. Being a mom is one of the coolest things ever. I go to the park and play on the swings, watch little kids play soccer and play in the sprinkler. Yeah, I drank out of the hose, and my kid will too. The best part is watching as she discovers the world around her. People have often asked me when I decided to be a scientist. For years, my answer has been "somehow I avoided growing out of it". Kids have a fantastic way of looking at the world that is not that different from scientists. They ask questions (the constant "why?" is definitely part of my life) and notice details that we might take for granted. My own mother encouraged this behavior in me, though she was not a scientist. I was constantly asked to defend and explain my ideas. And she was very understanding when I brought home critters I caught in the field, or took apart the telephone (again).

Being a mom has made starting up a new lab easier for me. There are a couple of hours pretty much everyday that I am NOT thinking about lab stuff. This gives me a chance to get some separation so I have room to actually think about what I'm doing. And also to keep me from getting too wound up. And having a kid forced me to be more efficient about my time when I am at work. Staying a few more hours isn't an option. Yes, I sometimes do more work after Mini-G goes to bed. But, I have learned that sometimes, balls will drop. And I'm OK with that. There are other things that are more important to me. Here's one: Mini-G collects things she thinks are interesting in an empty petri dish, and we take them to lab and look at them in the microscope together. It is AWESOME.

There are always going to be times that I struggle with the "balance" of being a mom and a scientist. But, for me, I can't be anything but both.

*h/t to Janet Stemwedel-her #scimom post was great and got me fired up to write this. Also, I <3 Friday Sprog Blogging 🙂

13 responses so far

WTF?! "Equal" Pay Day

Apr 11 2011 Published by under academia, gender

It is not news that, on average, men make more than women to do the same job. This year 12 April is Equal Pay day. From the AAUW website:

Equal Pay Day is the symbolic point at which the average woman's salary finally catches up to the average man's earnings from the previous year. This year, Equal Pay Day falls on April 12.

How fucking much does that suck?!?!!! It really blows my mind that this is state of affairs. It may be that some women "choose" jobs that are lower-paying because it works better for their family. I don't have a problem with this, really. Everyone has to make decisions that are best for their family and situation. It strikes me, however, that it is overwhelmingly the woman that ends up passing on a career for the good of the family. I can't help but wonder about how society exerts pressures on us that maybe we aren't even aware of.

When I was negotiating my faculty position, I had heard that women make less than men on the tenure track because they just don't ask for more. I work at a public institution, and the salaries of all government employees are publicly available. I had also looked up the numbers for my state on the AAUP Faculty Salary Survey. So I knew going in to the negotiations that women in every department of my university makes ~10% less than their male counterparts. I find this rather embarrassing, but the data are there. In fact, other recently hired women in my MRU made significantly less than men. When I got my offer, the salary was lower than what I had been expecting based on my research. So I asked for more. That's the right answer, yes? But when I brought up salary during the negotiations, mentioning what I considered relevant similar salaries. But my Chair did not find this a very convincing argument, even after I raised up the fact that women in the school routinely make less than men. I think that he knew I would probably not walk away from the job over this amount of salary. It was only when I reminded him that I would be bringing in indirect $ from Day 1 (from my R00) that he agreed to talk to the Dean. In the end, I got what I think is a pretty fair deal. Could a man have done better? I don't know. Based on the data, I can only say "probably". Maybe I could have pushed harder. But, being a woman, that could also have backfired.

So I don't know what the right answer is. But today I will advertise Equal Pay Day, and I will attend the local AAUW event. I hope that by raising up  this problem, we can start the process of correcting the situation.

h/t to Pascale over at WhizBang, who brought "Equal" pay day to my attention.

UPDATE: Don't miss these other excellent "Equal" Pay Day posts on Scientopia:

Pascale-$16,819 for a Penis
Dr. Beccca-Equal Pay Day Epic FAIL
GrrlScientist-Penis Parity Day

And while you are at it, make sure you call your Congress/Senate Critters to make sure they support the Paycheck Fairness Act, which is being reintroduced today.

MOAR UPDATE! Even more "Equal" Pay Day posts at Scientopia

Janet Stemwedel-Equal Pay Day: there is power in a union
FCS-Good Hair Day, Fair Pay Day
PLS-Equal Pay Day!

9 responses so far

The postdoc career panel

Apr 10 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

Hello again! I made it back from a super-awesome conference, only to be slammed by a fairly crappy week. But more on that later. Today, I would like to talk about the postdoc career panel discussion. Spoiler alert: I think they are a craptastic (not in a good way).

In the short time since my appointment as an assistant professor, I have sat on several "career panels" for postdocs. In general, I have agreed to participate because they are organized by a student/postdoc association. I want to be supportive of these groups. At my old institute, the Postdoc Association group was a great voice for the postdoc population, championed diversity and was a useful resource for folks that were trying to find a non-academic career path. But, TBH each time I sit on one of these panels I becoming more convinced they are a giant waste of time. Take the last one. This panel included a couple of tt-asst. prof from MRU, faculty from area PUI, faculty from a local community college, and biotech/pharma scientists. If you are a postdoc in academia, these are the most obvious career options. Why would you need a panel to learn about them?

Now, I admit,  I did not attend many (any?) of these sorts of things when I was a postdoc. So it may be that I just don't get it. When I was a postdoc, I was trying to land a tenure-track job. So, when I had questions or needed some guidance I would go talk to one of the many TT faculty that I respected. Not to mention some great advice online, much of which has been aggregated by Dr. Becca. From what I have observed vicariously the process is similar for other career paths, though it may be more difficult to find the people doing the job that you are interested in. I assumed that the career panels were supposed to connect postdocs with folks doing the jobs they want. But instead we just all sit around talking about what seems obvious. Then, if I'm lucky there are snacks or a wine reception. But really, it is 1-2 h of my life that I will never get back.

So, dear reader(s), help me out here. If you are/were a postdoc, do you go to these events? If so, why? Is there something that I could be doing that would make these more useful? Because I'm gonna need to be sold before I agree to be on another one of these.

14 responses so far

no, but really...

Apr 01 2011 Published by under academia

hahaha. Of course I'm just kidding. April Fools and all 🙂

But I am taking off today. I'm headed to another meeting, where I've been selected to give a talk. I really like meetings. I like talking to people about science, catching up with folks that I know and meeting new people.  But I'm beginning to think that I'm doing too much of the networking thing. Really, I have a meeting with a collaborator FROM MY UNI at the meeting because we couldn't figure out a time to meet here. WTF?

On a more interesting note, this is the first meeting that I will be attending that has a twitter hashtag (that I know of). I'm kind of excited to see how this gets used. It is a rather small meeting, and so far only 2 of us have used the #. So we'll see if it catches on.

Did I mention that I'm tired? But not for a bad reason. I got an AWESOME message yesterday offering to renew a pilot grant that I got for another year. When I g0t the award it was not supposed to be renewable, so this is a nice little surprise. That's right, someone called me up and offered me research cash unsolicited. w00t! Of course, this is great news, but there is a hitch: I need to provide a research progress report by tomorrow. Trying to put this together has made it very, VERY clear that I need to have a chat with the lab peeps about keeping good lab notes. Oh yeah, I mentioned that I'm supposed to be going out of town tomorrow, right? So I will be heading to my meeting a little sleep deprived. It's OK, because I know that it is worth it. Actually, I am pretty excited.

YAY for research $$!!







3 responses so far

f@*k this

Apr 01 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

That's right, I'm outta here.

The shit flying around behind the scenes here at Scientopia is out of control. And I can't/won't deal with it another minute. I haven't decided if I'm gonna go back to my WordPress site, or if this is just a sign that blogging is done for me. But whatever. I'll see you around on the intertubes.

edit: Are you kidding me?! People get paid to do this shit? Yet another reason to take off. I already get my ass kicked in the hockey pool that Cath from OT set up. I'll be damned if I'll sit around here and let them make money, too.

5 responses so far