This week I've been working a major outreach event that seeks to give underrepresented minority college students training and further opportunities in science. I was honestly apprehensive to take a week out of the lab right now when things are incredibly busy, but this has been good for both the soul and the mind. I've interacted with people I've been meaning to meet, people I wanted to meet, made new connections and most of all, helped train the next generation. The curiosity and wonderment of these kids reminds you why we got into this business in the first place: Science is fucking fun! Doing stuff that few or none have done before is exhilarating. As we come to a close its been really fun and I'm glad I got the opportunity to do this.
Our lab is in the predicament that we have a glut of papers that need to go out in order to get as many accepted or in press before a grant deadline. I literally have a color-coded excel sheet open on my computer right now listing manuscripts, there various states of doneness (in preparation, review, revision, etc), and target journals. I'm working with the bosses to push another manuscript out the door before revisions come back for another. I guess this is a good problem to have but it would have been better that we didn't sit on these papers building up a huge backlog. I'm 100% certain I'm going to take it on the chin with doing multiple revisions at the same time. But on the plus side, I need papers. So yay papers! I hope my bosses have a healthy amount of funds banked away for all these publication fees, its going to get pricey.
I generally stay as apolitical as possible when it comes to my public and professional life. If asked in a private environment I do share my beliefs, but otherwise I keep it out of my job. I honestly wanted to give the new guy a fair shot, but any goodwill that I may have had dissolved within the first week of his leadership. More and more I am finding it difficult to do this, especially after this weekend. This travel ban is nothing more than the first play in the xenophobia playbook that will eventually seek to completely seal off our borders. America is not an island of isolationists, we are a melting pot where the sum total far exceeds the individual ingredients.
I'm a product of the American dream. I was raised by an American mother and a father from one of those countries who is now on the travel ban. My dad came here like many others, seeking a new life like many others did. Like many of our forefathers did. When we stop people at the gates and begin to cherrypick who can come in and who can't based upon their religion or which patch of dirt they were born onto this sets a highly dangerous precedent.
If American is to a beacon of hope, actions like these make that light shine just that more dimly. The more we stand by and allow this to happen the darker it shines. I was always taught to be proud of my country, however today all I can feel is utter shame and embarrassment. I've made it a point to contact many of my international friends, here in the US and far abroad, to let them know this does not represent me and to offer a sincere apology. I have also been in contact with my Congressman and Senator. A simple letter is not enough to suffice, those will not be read. Phone calls are far more impactful. A staffer can just ignore an email, someone has to answer the phone. The more we inconvenience them with our calling the more they will feel pressured to act. Please stand up for what is right.
"There is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetuated under the shield of law and in the name of justice."
Charles de Montesquieu
As I boil eggs to make deviled eggs and get ready to inject my turkey with Cajun seasoning, I'm jamming out to some of my favorite Christmas tunes.
So if you are celebrating the holidays or just a regular Sunday tomorrow. Have a good one and I hope the spread is covered in the Denver game.
I'm submitting a paper today, hopefully. So journal, Santa's coming early baby! Remember that dear editor, don't have ice water flowing through your veins and desk reject. Because Santa GR will remember and you'll get a lump of coal next year!
If you are celebrating the holidays, I hope you have a safe and fun time surrounded by friends and loved ones. May your drunk uncle be even drunker and your awkward pauses at the dinner table be even more awkward. And if you aren't celebrating the holidays, well then I hope you are having a good day and looking forward to the weekend.
Let's get ready for 2017. Maybe the Mayan predictions weren't that far off.
I'm currently not able to spend a lot of time in lab (booo!) and stuck at my desk working on papers (yay!!!!). Papers good right? Yeah but too many manuscripts are coalescing at once. I'm staring at four drafts of papers from me (2 first authorships, 2 co-authorships) and I'm looking at my excel sheet and I have two more to write.
I'm super happy with all the work I've been doing but I'm not going to lie this is daunting as hell. I want to get at least two of the papers out the door in the next week and a half or lets face it, they won't be going out until early January.
I came to find out about DrugMonkey and his ubiquitously profane, sometimes incendiary, and always insightful partner in crime Comrade Physioprof nearly 8 years ago. I imagine these two running around the halls of meetings or study sections like Turk and JD from the TV show Scrubs.
I'll focus in on DM and save my praise for CPP another time. I've been reading science blogs for roughly 8 years and some blogs I go to and then leave for a while and maybe come back and some I'll peruse once and never again. Not DM, dude is my ride or die science blog that I read. He is my guy who makes me think bigger than I do, want to be a better scientist, get mad about shitty practitioners of our craft, and make my blood boil as he bates us with great topics and witty banter. And sometimes all in a single blog post.
And did I mention his Twitter account? While he crafts intricate blog posts, he is nothing short of a resplendent troll in 140 characters. I check him periodically throughout the day to see what bon mot he is offering up. I laugh at those who fall victim to his trolling and cringe when he sometimes catches my own dumbass in the bear trap as well.
You can call DM many things, avid fan of cycling, hater of pitbulls, advocate of diversity in science, but never boring. The day he hangs up his blog will be like the day McDonald's stops selling the McRib, utterly horrifying and leaving society shaking their head wondering what to do with the rest of their lives.
Over the years he has been my critic, confidant, and sage. So to my scientific Man Crush Monday (sorry Prof-Like Substance) I just want to my appreciation for the years of entertainment and information. Whatever praise you get is not enough but what you do get is deservedly earned.
I'm currently drafting up a fellowship proposal to hopefully cover the cost of my dumbass doing science for the next year or so. I'd like to think I have a compelling idea that fits within the programatic priorities of this funding group and I think they'd agree since I made it through the initial triage that cut out about 2/3rds of the preproposals.
Now I have the (mis)fortune of writing the full proposal and I'm grappling with how much prelim data to show. I've got about four pages in which to really detail my science and am experiencing some consternation about how much prelim data to include.
So dear readership (the two of you) and everyone else that clicked on this thinking it would be a Drugmonkey post written with at least some thought to quality (jokes on you assholes), how much prelim data do you put in your grant proposals? A small figure or two? Model figures?
I paraphrased a quote from Field of Dreams for the title of this post, but you get the gist. If you build the opportunity, women will come be a part of it.
We ran an event for young women last year to get them interested in STEM fields as a career. Cut to me now sifting through the applicants for high school summer interns and we are getting a lot more applications from young women in high school and particularly women from underrepresented minority backgrounds than we have before. This to me is a huge success and does not occur in a vacuum. This is a testament to the huge buy in from our institution, local civic groups (in particular women's groups), and STEM-related businesses.
Now we have the fantastic opportunity to show these young women that would normally not have a significant exposure to science that STEM careers are attainable, rewarding, and really damn cool.
Is looking at all the compiled data for a manuscript and seeing very few items on the punch list* that need to get wrapped up before its ready to head off for submission.
*Construction term for the few nagging items/tasks that need to be completed in order to receive final payment.