Yesterday in my "Ethics in Science" class, we were discussing mentoring. Near the end of the class meeting, I noted that scientists in training have a resource nowadays that just wasn't available during my misspent scientific youth (back in the last millennium): the blogosphere.
What does the blogosphere have to do with mentoring?
For one thing, it can give you a glimpse of the lives of people who are working out how how to become grown-up scientists, or how to combine a scientific career with a life outside of that career. The wide array of scientists at different career stages working out the details of their lives on the screen is in stark contrast to olden times, when access to scientists' inner musings was rare (and wasn't usually transmitted beyond the table at the odd dinner party). As well, the blogosphere makes it easier for scientific trainees whose geographical situation does not offer many role models who look like them (in terms of gender or race or disability or whatever) to find such role models -- indeed, to find multiple role models who illustrate what's possible.
But if you're reading blogs, you probably already had a good inkling of all this.
Anyway, I promised my students I'd give them some links to blogs (in the science-y neighborhood of blogtopia) that offer their readers something like mentoring, or at least the kind of honest information about lived scientific lives that you hope a mentor would give you. And almost immediately, it occurred to me that you blog readers are likely to have some very good recommendations for this kind of blog.
So, in the comments, please point us to the blog or blogs to which you would point science students or early career scientists to give them some of what they might be looking for from a mentor. With these recommendations, go ahead and tell us what it is you get from these blogs, especially if it's something you've had a harder time finding in the three-dimensional world. Of course, recommend your own blog if you think it fits the bill.
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Can't go past the Reveres for long-term experience, particularly in medicine though they also collectively know things just from being alive so long.
FemaleScienceProfessor - very practical advice on all sorts of career stages (from applying to grad school to reviewing grants) from a non-biomedical perspective. Perspective enhanced by fact she is female and has ability to see things through the gender lens.
DrugMonkey - similarly sage advice with a biomedical bent. Also more testosterone.
(Ha! I got to pick the easy ones.)
I highly recommend this blog: http://highway8a.blogspot.com/ "Looking for Detachment" -- it's written by an exploration geologist and includes good information on what she does each day on the job. Well written and lots of good pictures/illustrations.
I second FSP and Drugmonkey.
I also like DrDrA-- bluelabcoats.wordpress.com--perspective from a biomed, female, junior faculty.
I point all grad students to AiEaS, Zuska, Terra Sig and DrugMonkey. Those are sources of good advice and the sorts of voices I want the students to hear, raising the kinds of questions I think they should spend some time on.
For some voices from corporate scientists and scientists who have chosen non-lab-bench careers, you can take a look at Promega Connections (http://promega.wordpress.com). We post pieces on career paths, etc. along with our other blogs about science that interests us.
Funny... I was just thinking this week that all my knowledge about being a (first year) prof has come from blogs: FSP, Bitch PhD, Ms. Mentor at the Chronicle of Higher Ed, Knowledge and Experience. The feminist perspective is incredibly valuable, when one finds oneself doing full battle with the patriarchy for the first time.
I'd point to
Blue Lab Coats http://bluelabcoats.wordpress.com/
Prof in Training http://trainingprofessor.blogspot.com/
Prof-like Substance http://proflikesubstance.blogspot.com/
right off the bat.
and of course, Zuska is my Life CoachTM
You, FSP, and Dr. Isis have been my blogomentors for quite some time now.