Collaborations, Slurs, and Being Heard

TW: Discussion of homophobic slurs

There have been plenty of times in life when I’ve had men assume that I don’t know what I’m doing or saying, and treat me accordingly. I’m mostly used to it when I go to a car shop to pick up oil, but have recently had it happen in one of the most egregious manners I’ve ever experienced within academia. Continue reading

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Guest Post: When it’s not just students who plagiarize

All course instructors have academic integrity statements on their syllabi. Unfortunately, dealing with students who have plagiarized is one of the worst parts of teaching. But it’s not just students (usually undergraduates but occasionally graduates) who can—and do—plagiarize. Two colleagues plagiarized my work. One of them plagiarized twice. Although these events happened a number of years ago, I still have knots in my stomach just thinking about it. Continue reading

I have a vested interest.

In the fourth grade, I was obsessed with marine science and sonar technology, and I’d spend Saturday afternoons watching The Hunt for Red October instead of Saved by the Bell. That summer, I toured a Navy sub in dry dock– my first time! — and I asked the officer leading the tour when we’d be going to the sonar room. “Sorry, kid. It’s classified,” he said. Masking my disappointment, I replied that it was okay, because I was going to be a sonar technician when I grew up, and I could wait until then. “But they don’t let girls on subs,” was the officer’s surprised reply, as he looked at me as if I’d sprouted horns. When I asked why not, he told me I wouldn’t want to be stuck on a sub with a bunch of smelly guys anyway. My “Then…why aren’t there submarines for just girls?” got no reply.

So, I have a vested interest.  Continue reading

The good, the meh, and the ugly of pre-tenure service

To academics, the term “service” covers a variety of activities, from reviewing papers, to serving on committees, to doing public outreach. Really, service is anything that doesn’t fall under the categories of teaching and research. While service is part of our job descriptions and for some of us is even factored into our workloads, the old saying “no one ever gets tenure for doing service” is still, unquestionably true. It’s also true that women and minorities often shoulder a disproportionate service load relative to white, male colleagues.

So given that we as women in academia are going to get asked to do service, and that the time and energy we spend doing service is going to detract from what we can accomplish on the research and teaching fronts, it behooves us to be strategic in our service choices. Continue reading

An open letter to Nature editor Philip Campbell

Philip Campbell
Editor-in-Chief
Nature Magazine
cc: Nature editors & Executive Board

Dear Dr. Campbell,

On January 18th, one of your senior editors, Henry Gee, deliberately revealed the identity of female scientist-blogger Dr. Isis without her consent. By Gee’s own admission, this was in retaliation for Dr. Isis’ comments about problematic behavior that Gee has exhibited over the years.

As the members of a collaborative, pseudononymous blog about women in academia, we were appalled and alarmed by such behavior from an editor at an important scientific journal (and one with which some of us have professional relationships). There are many reasons why a scientific or academic blogger might want to write under a pseudonym instead of their name; it is no coincidence that a majority of such writers are women and others from groups that are disproportionately underrepresented in science and the Academy. Continue reading

Guest Post: I’m a Mom in Science – Hear Me Roar!

“Shame on you!” she yelled at me, glaring. “It’s hard enough for women in academia without people like you giving men cause to think we’re not smart enough or capable enough for the job!”

My jaw dropped. What did she just say? Oh no she didn’t…

Oy. I hadn’t slept in weeks. I was a new post-doc with a new baby, and this was my first time bringing my baby to a professional conference. My mother-in-law had come with me to help, but juggling baby time, feedings, sleep-deprivation, presentation preparation, leading a panel, and networking for jobs was threatening to break me. And then this fellow woman-in-science had the temerity to chastise me for talking honestly about my experience.

How did it start? Continue reading

Tenure-Track Uterus: My (mis)adventures with birth control

This is a post about my uterus*. It is not a love letter.

This post is not for the squeamish, but I hope you read it anyway. This post won’t apply to some of you, but I hope you read it anyway. You may think this post is TMI — too much information. I disagree, and I hope you read it anyway. This post may have some of you thinking, “Why the hell is she writing a post about reproduction and birth control on a blog about women in academia?” Read on.  Continue reading