Sunday, August 1, 2010

August Scientiae: A Reflection

Welcome to my little corner of the blogosphere! I am very excited to be the host for this month's Scientiae carnival, and was happy to see so many posts from both new bloggers and old friends.

As summer is the perfect time for reflection (with all our "free time" and what-have-you), I thought it would be wonderful to see where we've been, where we are now, and where we are going.

It's wonderful to hear that many of you are feeling more content, balanced, and confident about your personal and research lives!
NJS over on Scientist Rising has come through a difficult personal year on the other side. She has made some important headway in her professional life as well. Feeling more certain of her career path, and her personal life, she is "...becoming more the me I want to be by the day".

Micro Dr. O on The Tightrope similarly had a difficult year, dealing with a small breakdown ("not the mental-hospital type, just your run-of-the-mill mid-post-doctoral breakdown."), not knowing what to do with her blog, and the heartbreak of a miscarriage. But, now, just a year later, she's feeling her life has a much needed balance because of the solid support system around her.

Karina at Ruminations of an Aspiring Ecologist revisits her goals she set for herself back in January - and she's doing great! She has even added a couple new goals, such as writing a grant proposal, and is feeling really good about where things are going. She's also the host of September's Scientiae - so stay tuned for more!

Liberal Arts Lady describes her goals for the year, including the decision on whether to take a junior leave. Going into her third year of her tenure-track position, she is looking forward to the next few years and has a "...new confidence in where I am and where I am going."

Over at Saying "Yes-And", Synchronia - a first time Scientiae submitter - is also feeling good about her research. Just about to start her third year, she has a new level of trust in herself regarding her research and where to go next.

Although the previous year didn't go as planned for biochem belle over at There and (Hopefully) Back Again, most of the changes have been for the better. She is rebuilding her confidence after it took "...a rather brutal beating this past year". She lists some of her goals for the upcoming year, including researching career options both in and outside academia.

There are a few of us who have made some big decisions about our career in the last year.

Julia, the Ethical Palaeontologist, has made the difficult decision to withdraw from the MPhil/PhD program, and has started a new blog, Stages of Succession, to go with the new stage of her life.

After a year of contemplation, Dr. Girlfriend at Life After Graduate School has decided to step away from the bench. Her true interests include “...public understanding of science, or lack thereof, and how an appreciation of science can be made more accessible to the layperson and policy makers.” So, she will be embarking on a masters degree in Science Communication and Media.

Rebecca at Collisions with Reality is also changing paths and moving with her family to the Bay Area. Although not necessarily wanting to continue in academia, she does plan on working on Project Euler (a series of mathematical/computer programming problems), putting together a getting started guide to Python, and writing some grant proposals. Check out her Etsy shop too!

I am also hoping to change career paths in the near future. I'm considering Baby G's arrival an unofficial deadline to fulfill my research obligations so that I can start fresh after maternity leave. I'm hoping to get some sort of position in education and public outreach. There is even a potential position in the works - so fingers crossed!

A few fellow bloggers need some support from the community.

Michelle at C6-H12-06 is heading right into the beast we all know as the defense! She is unsure about her abilities at giving speeches, and is also not sure whether to get a job in government or industry, or continue on with a PhD. I'm sure she would appreciate the advice of some been-there-done-that's!

JaneB at Now, What Was I Doing? is having a tough time right now. She doesn't feel confident with her progress at both a personal and professional level. She hopes to find answers and a new balance over the coming year. So, head on over and give her lots of virtual hugs - we know you can get through this!

Dr. DudeChick at Who am I? has moved half-way around the world from her husband in order to start a new job, but is still only half happy. Although she doesn't feel as sorted as she would like to be, it sounds like things are moving forward. Hang in there!

A couple of bloggers have taken this topic to another level and are reflecting on reflection.

A Life Long Scholar is nearing the end of her contract and is dreaming of her ideal location, asking "Does anyone know where this dream location is?" Take a look at her list and give your suggestions!

Unbalanced Reaction is also thinking up ideas on how she can stretch her start-up budget for her new lab. Her plan sounds like a good, and really fun, one! What would you trade with her?

We end with four bloggers that went beyond their own personal lives and delved into some very interesting statistics and topics.
Kalen at Engineer-a-Business discusses how the Nettab was toted as the new-big-thing in technology at the beginning of the year. But, in doing some personal research, the feedback for such a tool is mostly negative. What do you think about things like the iPad? Useful tools, or just another thing to lug around?

Susan and other bloggers at Women in Planetary Science ask "Women make up half the bodies in the solar system. Why not half the scientists?" Although less than 9% of NASA scientists are women, the number is rising. Is there hope for us yet? To help get the word out there about women in planetary science, the blog is hoping to feature 51 such women. There have been 14 profiles written so far - if you're interested in volunteering, check it out!

Female Computer Scientist has a similar goal for this year: "To convince people to stop throwing up their hands and saying women are just not interested in Computer Science, and instead do something about it." There are countries whose tech workforce comprise of 50-60% women - why not in America? She gives some great tips and advice on how to turn this around.

Pat over at FairerScience is grumpy about another issue facing women in science: newly appointed professor, Vice Chair of education in neurosurgery, and Program Director at The University of Texas has a not-so-stellar track record when it comes to sexual discrimination. Unfortunately, she finds this isn't the only institution where such decisions are being made - what can we do to stop this from happening?

Well, that brings our summer reflection to an end. It was wonderful to be introduced to new bloggers, and hearing what old friends are up too. I hope it was as interesting and fun for you to read as it was for me to put it all together. Enjoy the rest of the summer!!