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When I began to blog almost 5 years ago, I wanted to share stories of my graduate school experience with other women scientists in the hopes that we could form a virtual support network for each other. Back then it took me weeks to find even one other woman doing the same thing with a blog. Today, there is a whole community of women blogging about their experiences in science and engineering, from undergraduates to tenured faculty. A google search of "woman science blog" or similar will point to some prominent blogs and from there a newbie blog reader can use blog rolls and comment threads…
You might have guessed this was coming. My blogging frequency has dropped off dramatically this year, particularly this semester. I keep writing "yep, I haven't died yet - I'll tell you all about what I'm doing sometime, really" posts, and not ever following up. Other signs have included.... I hardly participated in Donors' Choose even though it is a really worthwhile organization. (By the way, today I donated $377 as a 10% contribution of our final donation number. Thanks so much to everyone who donated anything at all!!) I hardly even read blogs anymore, let alone write. And this wasn'…
One of my colleagues Amy Slaton (a historian of engineering and engineering education at Drexel) has started a new blog in conjunction with the completion of her new book, Race, Rigor and Selectivity in U.S. Engineering: The History of an Occupational Color Line. Her work is brilliant -- thoughtful, grounded, clear, and with an appalling message about the raced character of engineering education. Anyway, her new blog is STEM Equity, and you should also totally read her first book, Reinforced Concrete and the Modernization of the American Building which is similarly brilliant even though it…
Okay. It's been another month since I blogged. But since I last wrote, my dad wrote the family holiday letter and asked me how many places I've traveled to. Here's the list. January To Detroit to look at the SWE Archives To RTP for ScienceOnline2009 February To Arizona, invited to a workshop on engineering and ethics education To Washington DC for a panel on research in engineering education March To Kentucky, to do some intense PEER mentoring in engineering education April I think nowhere May To Madison for my dad's retirement To a room at Purdue for a week's development of a overhauled…
On December 6, 1989, an armed gunman named Marc Lepine entered an engineering classroom at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal, Quebec. He demanded all 48 men in the class leave the room, lined up all 9 women against a wall, and, shouting "You are all a bunch of [expletive] feminists!", proceeded to shoot them. He went into the hall and shot 18 more people, mostly at random. He finally shot himself. He had killed 14 women all together, and injured 9 more women and 4 men. The women who died could have been anyone. They could have been your friends, your mothers, your sisters, your lovers, your…
Gosh it's a difficult time of year, when the desire to frolic outdoors in the late fall/early winter chill is tempered by the mountains of papers to grade, endless meetings to be held, and the lurking danger of syllabi for next semester. It's the time of year, when you have every intention of taking dog and kid for a walk after work, but that by the time you reach daycare, it is pitch black, and even though you haven't gotten there any later than you did a few months ago, you feel terrible about leaving your kid in the care of strangers so late into the night. Minnow and I have been trying to…
I did a not-so-stellar job of meeting my not-so-stellar goals for writing and research in November, but I did get some stuff done. Done! Accepted!!!!! Finish revisions on the paper-that-won't-die (goal: November 13) Done! Internal release time application (due November 18) Read some, but not nearly enough. Read around proposed grad student topics enough to ensure we're not reinventing the wheel/pursuing proven dead ends (amorphous, I know) Made progress, not enough to strike-through. Finish GIS work left-over from 2008 AGU poster. Done! Draft abstract that is due in early December, so that I…
This week we are reading Judith Viorst's Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. This video was produced with a dedication to Kate, who explained to me why kids like this book so much even before they understand everything that's happening in it. She wisely told me that it's because kids rarely get to hear a story about a kid getting really mad, expressing their feelings, and without a neat fairy-tale or moralistic ending. Alexander just has a terrible, horrible, no good very bad day, and he's not afraid to tell us about it. I'd also like to dedicate this post to all of…
I am not in charge of SciWo's Storytime. Sure, it might look like I'm the one reading the books and operating the video camera, but Minnow exerts the ultimate executive authority as editor-in-chief. Some weeks no videos whatsoever are allowed to be made, some weeks she's content to let me pick the book, and some weeks she is quite happy to make a whole string of videos, so long as she chooses the content. With that proviso, Minnow presents this week's edition of SciWo's Storytime featuring the book Little Squire the Fire Engine by Catherine Kenworthy and illustrated by Nina Barbaresi. Now…
Recently I had the opportunity to attend a talk by Gail Cassell, a member of the National Academies' Institute of Medicine, and one of the authors of the NAS report Rising Above the Gathering Storm. Dr. Cassell is currently Vice President of Infectious Diseases for Eli Lilly. She was previously the chair of the Department of Microbiology at the University of Alabama Schools of Medicine and Dentistry at Birmingham. Dr. Cassell has also done a great deal of thinking about the importance of mentoring, networking, and professional development opportunities in academia and industry. Here are some…
I even stole the title from Lady Scientist, because I am just that original these days. I spent the week teaching, advising, mothering, and making some progress on my InaDWriMo goals for the month. As of last week the goals stood like this: Done! Finish revisions on the paper-that-won't-die (goal: November 13) Done! Internal release time application (due November 18) Read around proposed grad student topics enough to ensure we're not reinventing the wheel/pursuing proven dead ends (amorphous, I know) Finish GIS work left-over from 2008 AGU poster. The paper got re-submitted on Wednesday! May…
Three weeks ago, I had no idea who Knuffle Bunny was. Then one of our loyal readers and DonorsChoose philanthropists, requested the Mo Willems' book "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus." Minnow seemed enthusiastic about the pigeon book, but when I opened up its Amazon page, she got really excited about another book by the same author. One trip to the public library later, we came home with a book that we'd read 5 times before making it out of the library building. I think she must have read the book at her former daycare, but no matter where the source of her knowledge, Minnow was more than…
From the mailbag: I have a Masters in Biology (from a 5 year BS/MS program) and for the past 4 years I've been working as a lab manager/technician. I have my own research project(s) in addition to keeping track of ordering/equipment maintenance/mouse breeding/etc. All-in-all it's a sweet gig and I could see myself doing this or something similar for most of my career. The problem is that there seems to be this culture in biology that one has to get a PhD, and my competitive side kind of feels the need to get one mostly just to show that I can. My practical side can't figure out why it…
I'm not going to apologize about lack of posting over the last month or so, and I'm not going to make any promises for the future. That said, here's what I'm up to for InaDWriMo this month. Here's what I wrote at ring-leader Dr. Brazen-Hussy's kickoff post: Finish revisions on the paper-that-won't-die (goal: November 6) Internal release time application (due November 15) NSF proposal (due ~December 1) After one week, I haven't finished the revisions, but I'm 90% done. No question as to me getting it done this week. I've got 3 pages of first draft of the 5 page release time application. This…
A few days ago I arrived at my office in the morning and was greeted with an unpleasant surprise...someone had scratched a cross into the bulletin board just outside my office door. (Apologies for the terrible cell-phone picture.) While I'm able to cover the image with a strategically placed advising schedule, I'm haunted by a terribly icky feeling in the pit of my stomach. Was someone trying to send me a message? Why a cross? Why my board and not the boards of my male colleagues along the corridor? I'm not offended by images of crosses in general, but it is not something that I want…
Taking a break from the science-y books and from the donor requests, this week Minnow and I want to share one of our new favorite books. This is the first book that we've checked out of the library that Minnow is still talking about more than a month after we returned it. In fact, she and I love this book so much that our Amazon wish list is delivering a Christmas present early and our very own copy is on its way to us right now. Without further ado, we present Sally and the Purple Socks by Lisze Bechtold: If you watched through to the end of the video, you saw that at the end of the book, I…
Folks, I don't know what to tell you. It's like I don't even remember how to blog anymore. I think I've posted 2 real posts in 2 months. I have ideas stacked up in my head for posts - a post from FIE 2009, a post from SWE including the cool "Father Knows Best" episode where Betty decides to be an engineer, a post about talking to my students about sustainability, my favourite holiday Halloween, how I quit my therapist (because I did - and your comments really helped me do so) and so on - but I have absolutely no energy to write them. No motivation. No interest. Just.... overwhelmingness…
WOOT! In the month of October, 33 Sciencewomen readers, with a little help from HP, donated $3612 to deserving public school students around the country. We funded projects in California, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, North Carolina, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida, Oklahoma, Texas, Georgia, Virginia and Utah. As rewards for all your generosity, we've got several t-shirts from Yellow Ibis to give away, but before we do, here's a couple pieces of logistics. HP provided $200,000(!) in matching funds for contributions to the social media challenge. Each…
This week Minnow and I are pleased to honor the first request from a DonorsChoose Challenge giver. (There's still time, donate enough to complete a project, email me the receipt and you too can request a story.) I'll admit to being pretty excited when this request came it, because it was perfectly seasonal...and we already had the book in our queue. Today's featured book is Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden, by George Levenson and exquisitely photographed by Shmuel Thaler. But before we can get to the book, let's tell you about our trip to the pumpkin farm, where we learned some factoids…
There's a few days left in our October DonorsChoose challenge, and even after that there are many more great projects out there waiting for our help. A few weeks ago, wonderful educator-science-historian-cultural-studies-expert-mother-blogger Leslie Madden-Brooks responded to a plea to help fund some projects, and I was deeply moved by what she wrote to the classroom, so I wanted to share it with you... I gave to this project because I had such a tough time learning math, and I wish I had been able to develop this kind of mathematical and critical thinking through reading interesting authors…