Wednesday, February 22, 2012

February madness

There are so many things happening and so many things I need to do in the next week!
-write and submit two conference abstracts (first one due tomorrow. still analyzing data. eep!)
-write and submit a small grant proposal
-plan and launch major outreach project
-prepare and give a talk at SFC
Meanwhile, in my personal life:
-I've spent several days in the last two weeks away from Big City working with my friend Theo on the analyses for these abstracts.
-my friend and former labmate Mariyah will be in town for a week and is staying with us
-I simply MUST finish a photo book of our wedding before my groupon expires!
And now, back to the abstract.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


I'd say I'm very knowledgable of the resources at my university available to graduate students as well as how to navigate bureaucracy. From health care to fringe benefits and human subjects research to submitting grants, I know a lot. As I've written before, I love connecting people and resources so I love it when people ask.

A fellow grad student asked if I knew of funds to support students to attend a workshop. Indeed, I did. I had already bookmarked the page for my own future use. She was impressed that I could find it so quickly. She said, "This is great! I was sitting in my office thinking, I wonder if Karina knows of any funds. I should go ask her. Thank you! You know so many useful things!"

This makes me feel appreciated. I'm glad to help!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Time to update that CV!

I'm giving a presentation in a few weeks and just got asked for a copy of my CV. Oh my. It turns out I haven't updated it for two years! Not that I have any publications to add (urgh), but I've got other things (outreach! presentations!). Time to get cracking.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Not old or male

Someone asked me to contribute to a popular writing piece "in the interests of more gender equity." They needed someone who wasn't an old, white man. I'm white, but not old or male. FemaleScienceProfessor recently wrote about this phenomenon, "Because I'm a woman." I almost titled this post the exact same thing. Considering how my research focus shifted away from the particular topic of interest, I probably wan't an obvious choice for this except that they didn't want to have too many photos of grey-haired dudes. I'm ok with that. I think my contribution will be just as good as the others. But I definitely was surprised when the person went on to elaborate about how they had only one woman other than me. I thought there were more of us around than that?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Marital status on a CV?

I just saw a CV for someone we're interviewing for a faculty position where the person included their marital status and number of children. I know that this is absolutely not required, and is in fact illegal to ask about. Has anyone else seen this? It strikes me as very unusual.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Grad school nostalgia

My department is interviewing for a new faculty position and we've interviewed two candidates so far, both of them just a few years out of grad school. Over lunch with the grad students, it is clear that they both loved grad school and are eager to interact with the grad students (which is great). I'd describe it as grad student nostalgia. I realized at the last lunch that they seem to look back on grad school with the same kind of fondness with which I look back on college. It's hard for me to imagine feeling that way about grad school when I'm a few years out, and honestly it makes me feel like I'm missing out on something really important. But what exactly is it?

I think it has something to do with a sense of shared experience among the grad students. Like I wrote previously, the grad students in my department aren't very close. Even within my lab, we're all working on different projects so there isn't much collaboration (unfortunately, some interpersonal conflicts among lab members have also kept us from bonding as a group). I do my best to help other students who ask me for help no matter what my experience with their project, but I still don't have a sense of really going through this with anyone else. I'm really doing my own thing here, and suddenly this makes me very sad. Have I imagined this isolation, created or exacerbated it? 

After considerable reflection, I think the answers are no, no, and no, but I haven't always felt so disconnected. My first year I had a few classes with a set of people and I tried very hard to invite everyone to parties (Jon and I hosted 3 in our first 6 months here) but realized before the end of that year that not even my cohort was a cohesive group.  When I was in the midst of my interdisciplinary project, I had those other students to bond with, but now most of them are in different places. I was actively involved in two different efforts to create student-led activities for grad students in the department, but neither really caught on and are defunct. As I also mentioned previously, I think this pattern of increasing isolation in the later stages of grad school is pervasive in my department. I've got to try to do something about it. More thoughts on this soon.