I just finished a semester of editing more Ph.D. dissertations than I ever care to do again in a two week period. In thinking about this experience, I found that there was a common theme to my comments to these students: the context in which they put their results was incredibly important. The context can completely change how a reader thinks about what they are reading. Since one of my biggest worries is that I will become one of those people who does not realize that they are what they complain about (we all know these people), I thought my first posting should give context for my blog.
I am an assistant professor at a second-tier research institution. I was trained in a fantastic lab by a world-class scientist to be a top-tier researcher and the mismatch between my training and my reality often results in me wondering if I am insane.
I am also part of an academic couple. My husband is in the same field as I am and we currently have tenure-track jobs in the same department at the same institution. We are not only husband- and-wife but also each other's primary collaborator. We only notice balancing these roles when other people make a big deal out of it (e.g., the Voting Block issue, the "who's research is it anyway" issue, etc).
Finally, I am an active scientist. I have published a fair number of papers in the top journals in my field and - when I am not being neurotic - I am (generally) happy with the trajectory my career is on. Because my science is a big part of my life and how I view myself, I will go ahead and fess up that I am an ecologist. It will undoubtedly slip out anyway.
I never thought of writing a blog until I became addicted to FemaleScienceProfessor's blog and realized that reading her balanced and often funny take on things that I was also dealing with made me feel less like I was Alice in Wonderland. My hope is that my blog will do the same for someone else. I choose to write my blog anonymously (anyone who saw the movie Serenity will know that River Tam is not my name) because I wanted to be candid about events and issues without causing problems for my friends, students or (frankly) myself; I see no point in doing this if I can't be candid.
So, here we go....
15 hours ago