Thursday, August 30, 2012

And THAT'S why you always check the spam folder

I had an email from someone who saw my talk at the conference but it got flagged as spam and hidden in my spam folder for almost 2 weeks! I wrote this same person an email the other day (about how much I liked their talk) and had no idea they had already written to me. Now I have an excuse to email them again :-)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

This time of year

The days are shorter now than I'd like them to be and classes are starting again. I'm not ready for summer to end. We've been in Big City for five years now, and I'm beginning my sixth year of grad school. For a change, I'm not packing up to go to Ukenzagapia like I was this time last year and the year before. I'm finished with field work, and now all that stands between me and my PhD is a lot of data analysis and writing. This might be my last back-to-school season in Big City. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ways to get a postdoc

I'm starting to think that maybe I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to finding "the next thing" after my Ph.D. I need some insight from my wise readers.

How do people finishing grad school get postdocs? Here are ways that happens of which I am aware.

1. They see an announcement and apply.
2. Their advisor (or perhaps a committee member) is able to keep them on as a postdoc.
3. Their advisor actively works their network of people to get them a postdoc.
4. They identify someone they want to work with and write a grant for their postdoc.
5. They get a fellowship that gives them more flexibility than writing a grant for a specific project.

Obviously these aren't hard and fast, but are there any major avenues from PhD to postdoc that I'm missing? What path did you take (if applicable)? What do you think is most common in your department/discipline?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Check, check, check, check, and check again

My army of interns got a lot done this summer, but summaries of the data have shown me that we still have a lot of data cleaning to do. Ugh. I thought I was checking their work enough, but I should have been checking more often and more thoroughly. It's nothing irreparable- just a time-consuming pain.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

To take or not to take: Women in science course

I've far exceeded the number of classes/credits required for my program. I'm finished collecting data. I'm ABD. I'm trying to finish next summer. I don't need to take another class.

But this fall my department is offering a graduate seminar on women in ecology & evolution. I'd really like to take it. I think it would be interesting and informative.

I just can't decide if I should do it because I really want to finish next summer. I'd have to do a presentation, write a paper, do readings, and participate in discussions. It would meet once a week. I'm torn. What do you think?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Observations from ESA

What a week! I am so glad I went and also so glad that it's over.

Some thoughts:
-I saw very few ugly posters. Lots of pretty good ones, and a few really excellent ones.
-I saw few ugly slides in presentations. The most memorably ugly slides were by an undergrad, and they weren't that bad.
-I attended mostly solid talks. I didn't see a single truly bad talk.
-I saw some GREAT talks- really fabulous.
-You can pretty much always tell who is presenting that day and who isn't by what they're wearing.
-Presentations listed lots of people in the acknowledgments. I thought I had a lot of people to thank, and mine was one of the shorter ones.
-A few people put the acknowledgments at the beginning of the talk instead of the end.
-There were more citations on slides than I remembered seeing in the past.
-I don't think I saw a single talk run over time.
-The only thing worse than being scheduled at a bad time is being scheduled at a bad time that is the same time as someone famous (you know, famous for an ecologist).
-There were several obviously pregnant women and many infants & children around (with strollers, spouses, grandparents, daycare and/or baby carriers). I find this encouraging for a family-friendly future of ecology.

Overall, I was energized and inspired by the presentations I saw, and proud of ecologists for being able to communicate their research so clearly (in general) . It will probably take me an entire day to go through all of my notes, follow up on contacts, and catch up on email. I've got to digest and summarize some talks for a collaborator who wasn't there and do some thinking about what I've learned about my project. I didn't end up with any great leads on what to do post-PhD, but I was pleasantly surprised at how many people showed up for my presentation, and I gave out lots of cards. I spent time with several friends and acquaintances (from all over my past) and met many new people (even spoke some Ukenzagapese!). Somewhere in there I managed to do some dancing, go for a run, and come down with an unfortunate cold. I'm looking forward to resuming a normal schedule this week and looking forward to ESA next year!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Blogging at ESA

There's growing recognition that there are a wealth of useful tools for ecologists in the social media realm. Jarrett Byrnes just gave a great talk called Taking the ecological conversation online highlighting the usefulness of Twitter, blogging, and crowdfunding (e.g. #SciFund).

Hooray for blogging! My personal interest in blogs has always been the experiences of scientists (the stories behind the science!) and the mentoring that comes out of it, but there's something for everyone.

Here's a link to the slides from Jarrett's talk.

Sunday, August 5, 2012


The problem with awesome scientists is that they're just so damn popular that it's hard to have a conversation with them because they're so busy!


I love the Ecological Society of America meeting. It hasn't even really started yet, and I love it. I want to share so many of the exciting things I'm learning, but I'm totally conflicted about the best venue for sharing. Do I blog about it here? Do I tweet about it in my real name? Facebook? G+? The problem with all of these options is that I'm stuck. I feel like I can only share so much as Karina Anirak, but I do have a voice and a story here. If I put myself out there with my real name, that makes it easier to make the connection to this blog. At the same time I feel like I should be developing a presence professionally, under my own name. I'm torn. I've got to figure this out. And soon!