Learning to Ask, Part II.

An interesting post up today, Dr. Isis relates some of her graduate school experiences, including the experience of her qualifying exam.  I have posted on my grad school experiences and attitudes before- which were largely dominated by the fear of not being smart enough for it- as you can read for yourself. Dr. Isis, on the other hand- describes have come to graduate school with supreme confidence in her own abilities, and seems to have had a totally different sort of adjustment.

I found it striking though, that although Dr. Isis and I came at the grad school experience from diametrically opposed directions… we seem to have ended up with the same conclusion…. roughly summarized as…you don’t know everything, and that’s fine-  asking can take you a long, long way!

Update on the status of papers.

I submitted 3 papers last month.  Here’s the latest. You may remember that paper #1 was accepted pending minor revisions.  I made said minor revisions and resubmitted it at 4 pm on a Friday- two days before my update for my grant was due.  I was hoping- but not realistically imagining- that I might get an acceptance letter before I had to turn in my update.  It must be the month for granting DrDrA’s wishes Continue reading

‘And then there was one…’

Bugdoc sent me an interesting article that she found in Science recently written by Jeffrey Mervis, tracking alumni from Yale’s Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry graduate program 10 years or so after graduation (they entered the program in 1991). Let’s just skip directly to table 1, shall we? Actually, it’s not entitled table 1, but there is only one table- I’ll summarize because you have to have access to Science to see the full text.  Out of 26 graduates of the year that the article was Continue reading

Procrastinating Grant writing with Paper writing.

I know I’m not supposed to be exhausted on a Monday- but my older daughter visited me in the night for about an hour (3-4 am, if you must know)… claiming she couldn’t sleep, and she needed company while she couldn’t sleep- so she woke me up to fulfill that role. I had a big, big coffee after lunch, but I am seriously dragging myself around still.

I had great plans to work on my grant first thing this morning, but that train got derailed by a manuscript … 600 words over the limit… which landed heavily in my Continue reading

Junior Faculty Mentoring, Part III

As a junior faculty member I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about what constitutes good mentoring of junior faculty, and why it’s a great idea to invest in the development of junior faculty in ways other than just throwing money. The leadership of my own humble department recently took the admirable step of gathering all the junior faculty together and asking them what they need and desire from mentors- and how they could be better served. I am pleased that this seems an important enough issue to everyone to take such an action. I was also very pleased that this meeting was well attended, and that there was a robust discussion among the junior faculty and departmental leadership about what what constitutes good mentoring.

Earlier today I attended a seminar on junior faculty mentoring given by an external speaker and hosted in the department of Education- I guess I figured that their Continue reading

The Lasker Award: Celebrating our accomplishments as a field..

Right now as the payline at NIAID is the 10th percentile… us microbiologists don’t have a lot to celebrate.  Every single paper and grant submission is a hard slog, multiple re-submissions, and no light at the end of the tunnel.  It is truly a test of perseverance that we, as a community, have not seen in years- and it is wearing down many a fine microbiologist. Morale is low…. in some cases very, very low.

This morning we got something to celebrate- with the announcement that Stanley Falkow is the winner of one of the Lasker-Koshland Awards for this year.  You should read about the remarkable accomplishments Continue reading

It’s the season…Academic Job Search Reposts..

It’s prime season for looking for an academic position. Departments have evaluated their needs and desires for hiring for fall 2009, have put out their ads and are looking for the best candidates. I know several postdocs out on the academic job search trail even as I write, and even my own department is hiring. Before I have to spend a good portion of my time in the gym working off all those dinners I’m about Continue reading

Yelling… as a method of peronnel management.

DrMrA and I have been having a conversation lately about yelling. Not yelling for fun, or joyful yelling, or enthusiastic yelling after a great result, or just plain speaking loudly, …. DrMrA is from southern Europe- so it seems like everyday conversation is just done at a higher volume with him… but we have been together a long time so I’m used to it. You can imagine the volume at gatherings of our extended families, my gentle northern European self has gradually become acclimated to this.

No, I’m talking about yelling as a form of personnel management. Continue reading