Like many of you, we at TSW were appalled by the response that Dr. Alice Huang gave to the postdoc in the June 1st Ask Alice Science Careers advice column. Science has since removed the column* and posted an apology. Many people have written excellent responses to the debacle, and in some cases have offered a different perspective on what the postdoc should have done**, so see below for the initial list we have compiled.  Also be sure to check out the #dontaskalice hashtag on twitter, as well as the #CrapScienceCareersAdvice hashtag and it’s more positive twin, #GoodScienceCareersAdvice. Started by @mwilsonsayres, both are very useful- one as satire and one as serious advice.

Coverage and reactions:

From Colleen Flaherty @insidehighered, with a follow-up interview with Alice Huang: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/06/02/aaas-pulls-sexist-advice-column-amid-outcry-readers

From @Mammals_Suck: https://twitter.com/Mammals_Suck/status/605696515227709440/photo/1

From @drugmonkeyblog: http://drugmonkey.scientopia.org/2015/06/01/dear-advice-column-what-do-i-do-when-a-premier-journal-in-my-field-is-sexist/

From @DoctorZen: http://neurodojo.blogspot.com/2015/06/breaking-brand-science-magazines-latest.html

From Jezebel: http://jezebel.com/science-advice-columnist-just-let-your-adviser-stare-a-1708173908?utm_campaign=socialfow_jezebel_twitter&utm_source=jezebel_twitter&utm_medium=socialflow

From @RachelFeltman at the Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2015/06/01/science-columnist-tells-student-bothered-by-breast-ogling-prof-put-up-with-it/?tid=sm_tw

From Natalie Kitroeff at Bloomberg News: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-06-01/academic-journal-deletes-article-telling-woman-to-let-adviser-ogle-her-breasts

From Free Thought Blogs: http://freethoughtblogs.com/heinous/2015/06/01/advice/


More reactions, with *useful* advice and discussion:

From @wandsci: http://www.wandering-scientist.com/2015/06/playing-game-rigged-against-you.html?m=1

From @RySciDean: https://twitter.com/RySciDean/status/605401305947992064/photo/1

From @docfreeride: http://www.forbes.com/sites/janetstemwedel/2015/06/01/advice-to-put-up-with-ogling-adviser-hurts-scientists-and-science/

Discussion of more advice: https://www.pubchase.com/career/question/help-my-adviser-wont-stop-looking-down-my-shirt-question-534

From @drisis: http://isisthescientist.com/2015/06/01/ask-isis-help-my-adviser-wont-stop-looking-down-my-shirt/

From Women in Astronomy: http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.com/2015/06/my-response-to-bothered-from-science.html?m=1


Additional coverage:

The original article also got the Red Ink treatment: http://www.redink.cc/2015/06/02/let-me-fix-that-for-you-alice-huang/

*Cached version here

**We have surely missed some of them, so please email us or leave a link to others in your comments.


9 thoughts on “#dontaskalice

  1. Yeppers… and, don’t ask Anna, either. I once had a mentor who sat me down and tried to explain to me “that PhDs aren’t for everyone,” and that “some people just should not have them.” Having been in science for some 30 years prior to this discussion, I was to say the least dumb-founded by her thesis.

    In the run-up to this conversation, I had recently suffered severe verbal abuse from a professor. This professor would only act this way in the presence of other students (for example, during her lectures). In the presence of other faculty, she showered me with praise. She would at least once per lecture single me out, and hurl unfounded, scathing accusations at me. So severe were these attacks that other graduate students frequently took me aside to express their concern. This professor also failed me on a term paper (worth 1/2 the total grade)- not because of any flaw or failure to adhere to stated requirements but, because in her mind I “violated the spirit of the assignment”. Apparently I was supposed to read minds instead of literature… .

    Well, the abuse became so blatant that I attempted to withdraw from her coursework and remove her from my thesis committee. My mentor resisted, eventually forcing me into a corner. My mentor was aware I was a survivor of PTSD, and I communicated to her and others the abuse exasperated the condition, making me unable to perform for this person. That was when my mentor explained “some people, such as those with disabilities, should not have PhDs.” I was so stunned and offended I did not bother to reply to such an insulting remark. Eventually, my mentor placed me on an unfair academic probation, stipulating I would be terminated if I did not work with the abuser.

    And mind you, this mentor spent her entire life lobbying for gay marriage, continually asserting she and her partner were discriminated against, mistreated & abused by society. I appealed the probation, and my mentor immediately resigned and pulled all of my funding, and fired me from my paid research position. Her stated reason? I “went over her head”.

    Don’t ask Alice… and lemme tell ya, Don’t ask Anna.

  2. Reblogged this on reelSci and commented:
    TSW has put together a great list of responses and advice regarding the outrage following Dr. Alice Huang’s comments in her Science advice column.

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