Archive | October, 2013

I can haz job? Tips and tricks for the academic interview

28 Oct

Tenure, She Wrote

The job season is in full swing, which means those of you on the job market are probably anxiously checking and re-checking your email for an update about your applications. If you’ve done the work of putting together a really compelling application package, and you’ve pitched yourself appropriately, and you’re a good fit for the jobs you’ve applied for (yes, it’s a real thing), you can probably expect to get an interview at some point in your job-hunting future. I’ve had a bit of success with interviews and been on a couple of search committees (if you haven’t done this yet, I urge you to do so! It’s really valuable!). Given that the interview season is just starting up, I wanted to share my thoughts as a recent hire with the folks still in the trenches. Some of this will vary by discipline, so I’ve tried to keep this as…

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Fem(me)inity in the field

27 Oct

“Instead of saying we don’t care about what people wear, or what people wear doesn’t matter, or that everyone should wear suits or dress for digging a soil pit everyday, let’s acknowledge that the clothes we wear have meaning and then choose not to discriminate based on that meaning.”

Tenure, She Wrote

On the left: Ask me about my research! Photo: Betsy Hartley. On the right: Ask me about my shoes! Photo.

I asked my (male) PhD adviser how I should dress/pack before our first conference together, expecting a response along the lines of “casual” or “business casual,” and he was confused by my question. “Just wear clothes,” he said. Which, I have to admit, is sound advice, but really wasn’t very helpful. [gilly, writing here]

A (frequently white, male) scientist will usually tell you that you can wear whatever you want as a scientist. That it’s not about what you wear, but how comfortable you feel. After all, as objective scientists, we’re more interested in your data than your fashion sense. Just listen to Dr. Zen:1

My experience is that scientists are almost immune to snappy outfits. This is more true in some fields than others, though…

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A day in the life…

27 Oct

Tenure, She Wrote

As a post-doc, I did three things: I did research, analyzed data, and I wrote. I ran behavioral experiments and western blots, I did a lot of data analysis.

There were other things – I worked with students in the lab, and I organized events with the Post-doc Association at the post-doc institution. Later I applied for jobs, a significant time commitment, especially in the second year. It isn’t that I had a lot of free time, but I did have a lot of flexibility. When a grant deadline was coming up, or a set of experiments to (hopefully) finish off a paper, I could clear blocks of time and focus on that one thing. This – and my friends in that town – are the only things that I’m nostalgic about from my postdoc.

That is not what my days look like anymore. Now I have a few other…

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Don’t Be a Creep, and other lessons from the latest scandal in the science blogging world [Slate]

18 Oct

Don’t Be a Creep, and other lessons from the latest scandal in the science blogging world [Slate]

By Laura Helmuth.

Now, you established people, listen up. You will occasionally meet younger people who go out of their way to speak with you at professional events, ask you interesting and sometimes personal questions, and hang on your every word. Those are not puppy-dog, crushed-out eyes staring up at you. These are eyes hungry for a professional break. These people are not trying to sleep with you. They are trying to get hired by you. . . .

It can be hard to tell the difference between flirtation and exuberance. The men and the women who approach me are doing exactly what they should do at a professional meeting: introducing themselves, expressing enthusiasm for what I do, asking questions, making clever conversation. They are looking for guidance, not lechery. It’s my job to interpret their behavior correctly.

When I hear a story of harassment, what do I do?

17 Oct

Tenure, She Wrote

Recently I was at the periphery of a conversation in which women, in a completely different field than mine, were talking about an experience one had during an interview, during which inappropriate comments were made. While completely sympathetic, another woman said: “You were lucky you weren’t at University X, where it would have been much worse.”  That conversation and recent events in the online science community got me thinking about how often these quiet confidences are exchanged.

While I have only heard a few stories of sexual harassment or assault in my field, I’m not naïve enough to think that I’m in the one profession in the entire world that is entirely populated by people who behave appropriately at all times. So it seems like only a matter of time before I hear a story, or stories, that hit close to home professionally…before I hear a story where I have…

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College Men: Stop Getting Drunk [NY Mag: The Cut]

17 Oct

College Men: Stop Getting Drunk [NY Mag: The Cut]

A parody by Ann Friedman. Helps to have first read the Emily Yoffe piece linked at the top of the article.

EDIT: And here’s Soraya Chemaly on the same piece. Which led to a pleasant coda:

Be Not Afraid: Why I left a tenure-track position at an R1 Research University.

16 Oct

Tenure, She Wrote

How do you understand your academic responsibilities? Your professional duties? What do you say when people ask you what you do? Are you a scientist? A historian or biologist? Or are you a professor? Are you both or does this change depending on the context? As I sat there trying to make the exceedingly difficult decision to leave my academic home of four years for the great unknown of a small liberal arts college (LAC), these questions disrupted my sleep. Like a good researcher, I decided that I needed to collect data – a representative sample. I called everyone I knew who had been trained at a well-funded and large R1 research university (RU) and had gained employment at a LAC. These trusted friends had experienced the wonders of being educated amidst a top-notch library system, while having access to premium laboratory and study space, and they moved on to…

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Lobo Spotlight: Sarah Crawford

15 Oct

Lobo Spotlight: Sarah Crawford

Hey look, it’s the Women’s Resource Center‘s Sarah Crawford profiled in the Daily Lobo! Sarah’s been helping me lay the groundwork for WITA 2.0, and we’ve sort of been working around and alongside each other on a few other things.

More to the point, this year the American Association of University Women has selected Sarah to serve on its Student Advisory Council. Click through above to read more.

Not as easy as apple pie: Running the research conveyor belt while publishing apace

10 Oct

Tenure, She Wrote

It’s apple season. I’ve got apple sauce, apple crisp, and a crust waiting for apple pie. I’ve also got apples in the fridge, apples on the counter, and apples on my desk at work. Unfortunately, there are also apples going bad, and apples in the compost bin. I don’t have enough time to turn all of the apples into their delicious conclusions.

I’ve also got a lot of professional projects going on. There are grants and papers to write, students to advise, data to analyze, and unfortunately, some of those projects aren’t moving as quickly as I would wish. In fact, there’s the real risk that some of them will “go bad” while waiting for attention from me.

So I’ve been thinking a lot…about apples…and about prioritizing my research efforts. It turns out that when peeling apples, you’ve got some time to think.

I’ve been envisioning research as a sort…

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WITA and the Feminist Majority Foundation

7 Oct

Hi WITA friends,

Kris here. I’ve been hired onto a team of student organizers with the Feminist Majority Foundation, as part of an effort to push back against a 20-week abortion ban that’s on the ballot for the upcoming (November 19) special election in Albuquerque. Over the next six weeks you’ll see us in the SUB, and maybe in your classroom (with instructor permission), if you haven’t already.

The bullet points of FMF’s opposition to this ban:

  • Decisions about whether to continue or end a pregnancy should be kept between that woman and her doctor, and (if she wishes to include them) her family and faith. Government shouldn’t intervene here, as a general matter of right to privacy.
  • The ballot measure makes no exceptions for rape, or incest, or minors. It also privileges the survival of the fetus over the life and health of the pregnant woman, and would severely curtail doctors’ legal freedom to exercise their trained judgment about when and how to terminate a pregnancy for medical reasons.
  • The proposed legislation would give personhood to eggs at the moment of fertilization, potentially laying the groundwork to outlaw all abortions, as well as birth control and in vitro fertilization.
  • The people spearheading the ban campaign — Operation Rescue and the self-proclaimed “Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust” — aren’t from New Mexico. They’ve come from elsewhere with a history of harassing clinics and — at their homes — individual doctors and their families. Local Jewish leaders were also offended and troubled by Rescue’s demonstration outside the [actual] Holocaust and Intolerance Museum downtown. (You may have read about this in the New York Times.)

So we’ll be around campus informing students about the ban, and encouraging folks to get out and vote when the time comes. We’ve started chartering a Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance campus affiliate, but since I’ve gotten the informal blessing of the WITA co-founders about this work (“Ahhhh!!”, to quote Ambar), I’m comfortable also attaching the Women in the Academy name and logo to some of it when necessary.

More after the jump:   Continue reading