Children and Academia… two excellent posts…

Sciencewoman and Dr. Free-ride both have excellent posts on a topic close to my heart and experience…female academics and children…

I’m too exhausted after a day of kindergarten graduation and fourth grade graduation, all while preparing myself and my student to leave town for a meeting… to even write my own post about this.

Lame, I know. Go on over there and read their posts..great stuff.



I’m going to get back to the job search series, I swear. I think we are about up to what to do if an offer should come your way, and it is going to take me a bit of time to write that section… so I request your indulgence.

In the meantime- I’ve been stewing a little bit about luck and planning, confidence and arrogance, self-promotion and being a girl. By accident the other day I ran across a couple of articles including this one and this one. The PDF files for these are Continue reading

Letter to the Editor

Just to keep you updated on the paper rejection situation that was detailed in my earlier post, and in Physioprof’s post on Drugmonkey (and then Drugmonkey had one about quality of data). I had no idea that this topic would touch off so many useful posts and informative comments on this topic.

After thinking through the reviewers’ comments and writing a point-by-point rebuttal just for myself… considering everything that had been written in those posts above and all the comments Continue reading


The end of the week is within reach. I am overwhelmed with work at the moment… so this will be only a brief celebratory post.

DrMrA found out this morning that he was awarded a federal grant that he applied for. After submitting in the neighborhood of 20 federal grant proposals and struggling with funding quite a bit in the last 5 years (despite excellent productivity and good journals) Continue reading

Great Expectations…

Mad Hatter had a post yesterday about ‘fit’ of personnel hired into the lab on which I made a comment about a habit I have of sitting my employees down on the first day, and laying out a few of my expectations for professional behavior in the lab. A couple of people (CAE and Schlupp) wondered in the comments what I say during this meeting… hence this post…

Why do I do this? Well- I have found over my years as an employee and an employer that you just can’t assume that people who come to work for you (or with you) will behave like professionals, considerate Continue reading


I’ve been dreading this. The paper was out 65 days and the perky little rejection letter from the editor came this morning, reviews attached.

Its ok, these things happen and its just a paper. I’m not really upset about it that much and will turn it over somewhere else. I think some of the reviewer’s comments are kind of odd- ‘So what does XYZ GENE encode’, and , ‘What is its role in the ABC reaction?’- and crap like that makes me wonder if I am just an awful writer and can’t get my point across, or if the reviewer needs to go back to secondary school because obviously their reading ability is an issue. And then, of course- there is the desire by reviewers to say that a study is ‘preliminary’ if they don’t see every possible experiment in a single paper- which is also frustrating (more on this below). Continue reading

Unscheduled Events

It has been a week of craziness so far. My children’s school year is rapidly coming to a close, and this week and the schedule of the next couple of weeks will be absolute madness. My faculty meeting conflicts with the 4th grade science fair in which my older daughter has a project on Wednesday. Then on Friday- I am reading at lunchtime to my kindergartener’s class… and we are having cupcakes for her 6th birthday. These are both commitments that I don’t want to say no to, although I know that missing faculty meeting is generally not a good idea. There is a whole list Continue reading

Better than data.

I received the following poem from my 10 year old daughter today….

Dear Mom:

I love you a lot,
I’ll love you till the world rots,
I know that I whine,
I know it’s not pleasant,
But instead of saying sorry,
Here’s a little present. (a present was attached)

You take care of me when I don’t feel good,
You do all the laundry, you cook all the food.
You clean up the house when it’s a really big mess,
But I don’t get why I can’t have a Nintendo DS? (a running discussion between us)

This poem’s about to come to an end,
But before it is finished I have one thing to say-
I love you a lot Mom,

Happy Mother’s Day!

Ah, I think the exciting data has been displaced from my pocket for now- while my 10 year old reminds me of the distinction between my job and my life. And no honey, you can’t have a Nintendo DS or a Wii…but I’ll get ya your own blog…

OK, you were nodding your head but were you LISTENING?

I have a student. She’s a marvelous student (by every objective measure) who I have written about here before. She came to me as a third year student in another lab, steered to me by her thesis committee, …but ready to quit graduate school because she has a family. SERIOUSLY. This idea did not come out of thin air, it was TAUGHT to her. I have been trying to undo it.

But that’s not the reason for this post. I was struck by something that was said over at Mother of all Scientists– by a (no doubt) well meaning advisor(s) to a postdoc Continue reading

Unsolicited Advice: Job Search (Pt. 13)

Your seminar-giving, interviewing, chalk-talking skills are going to get better and better the more interviews you go on. But you will not get better at waiting for the search committee to decide on their favorite candidates. As Physioprof pointed out in the comments to my last post about this (Pt. 12), it’s very appropriate to inquire about the status of a search, and inform the chair of other offers once you have an offer in an institution of equal or greater quality (I don’t know if that’s the right word but you get my drift). Every search committee I have been on has interviewed all 4-5 candidates they flagged for an interview before they have a discussion about/make a decision on who is the top candidate. I think that sometimes when there is a clear favorite, an offer goes out prior to this- but I haven’t personally seen a situation where that happened. Then, if you are the lucky winner, the chair of the hiring department Continue reading