Recommendations for making science inclusive, and how to talk about it with others

Small Pond Science continues to be awesome.

And they highlighted a short peer-reviewed paper that they wrote about how to promote equity and inclusion, which you can find the full text here and the PDF here.

TL;DL version: they have 12 recommendations for broadening participation and communicating about diversity.

Recommendations for Broadening Participation and Communicating About Diversity in Entomology

  • Build meaningful long-term collaborations with faculty and students in Minority-Serving Institutions.
  • When focusing on diversity for seminar series and symposia, take into account not only gender and ethnic diversity, but also institutional diversity.
  • Develop broader impacts for research proposals that provide training opportunities for undergraduates in underserved institutions, because implementation of broader impacts fostering the inclusion of underrepresented groups is uncommon (McGlynn 2013a). However, parachuting into institutions to recruit the “quality” candidates without building relationships with the faculty and supporting long-term mentoring relationships will not serve the purpose of broadening participation (McGlynn 2013b).
  • For graduate admissions, eliminate the GRE requirement and lower GPA thresholds.
  • Observe or participate in conversations in social media with academics representing a range of ethnic, cultural, and institutional backgrounds.
  • Emphasize quality over quantity when developing a piece of work for communication (e.g., blog post, video, podcast). Low-quality work rarely reaches its intended audience.
  • If you make the choice to build your own platform for communication, establish a regular frequency for new material, and stick to that schedule. Blogs are a form of outreach that involves a long-haul investment, because audiences build slowly, and only with regular feeding.
  • You don’t need to build your own platform, as range of existing platforms are available to you, such as Facebook, Twitter, Medium, guest posts in established blogs, and op-ed pieces in newspapers.
  • Don’t be afraid to get it wrong; as long as you are open-minded and respond positively to critical feedback, then you will not become infamous on the internet.
  • Play to your strengths and communicate in a medium and style that works best for you.
  • Engage in communication with the community in a manner that anneals your professional goals.
  • Evaluating your work by comparing your successes to the successes of others is only a recipe for disappointment. Establish benchmarks for yourself, and compare yourself to those benchmarks over time.

Nature Therapy Is a Privilege

The mountains  are healing. It is like the miracle pool at Lourdes except it’s not a miracle and you’re not at Lourdes.

The mountains, and their attendant plant life and water features, help to lower blood pressure,  stress hormones, and keep heart rate variability normal. These are just some of the health benefits of spending time in nature that studies have found in recent years.

But these beautiful, soothing environments are fairly remote.

You don’t see anything like this on a regular basis. And neither do most people.

So what does it take to get out to the mountains? Read about the privilege here.

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The Week My Husband Left And My House Was Burgled I Secured A Grant To Begin The Project That Became BRCA1

(Like many other young scientists) I often struggle and can’t but help feeling overwhelmed with the tasks stacked against me. Paying bills on time, moving forward in work, keeping my personal life from falling apart and maintaining a decent set of hobbies that keep me from working 24/7. And often, I look at other scientists who are successful and marvel at how they don’t seem to be facing these struggles. Am I making it too hard? How are they doing this?

Which is why this story over at Huff Post really struck me. A very successful scientist, Dr Mary-Claire King who was dealing with some VERY personal problems. She then went on to find the gene associated with breast cancer BRAC1 and change women’s health. We all struggle, pretending we don’t isn’t doing anyone any favors.

When have you struggled? Who do you talk to when you do?

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Dr. Marie Claire King, talking at The Moth radio hour.

Post-post note: My friend Matt Pennell is unquestionably good at what he does. We started graduate school together, but he was on a different level and at a different pace than the rest of us. But whenever I was feeling stupid or foolish, or just not able to do this academia stuff I would go talk to Pennell. Because he would have a story about how he was struggling, some things he was having problems with, or personal and professional setbacks he was also facing. Matt is, and will continue to be a star, and hearing things like this from someone like that really helped me. Still does.

Tree-Eating Beetles March Northward, Lured by Milder Winters

For lovers of the stately pine forests of the Northeast, sightings of a destructive tree-eating beetle in recent years have been nothing short of alarming.

Now, new research from climatologists at Columbia University confirms what ecologists feared: Warmer winters mean the southern pine beetle is here to stay, and is set to march ever northward as temperatures rise.

Historically, the tiny beetles, which starve evergreens to death, were largely unheard-of north of Delaware. The Northeast’s cold winters killed off any intruders.

The winters are no longer cold enough.

Want to know more? Read about it here!

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On the fine balance between crafting new ideas and fighting writers’ block

My biggest problem as an academic? I’m not enough of a finisher. I get excited and distracted by new shiny things and start pursuing them instead of sitting down and finishing the paper from the last thing I’m already done with. I sometimes call this writers block… but that’s just an excuse and I know it.

So to combat this idea, and the ideas put forth in this post, Raul Pachecco-Vega wrote about how he teaches his students to write every day. It’s both a nice rebuttal and food for thought on how to approach the mountain of writing required to publish or perish. I especially like Meghan Duffy’s response.

Do you have writer’s block? Is there a way you combat it? Does it involve moving the refrigerator to clean behind it as a means of avoiding writing your thesis (Mom, I’m looking at you here)?

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Write drunk, edit sober

The title of this post is one of my favorite Hemmingway quotes. While I think Ernie might have taken it too far (I’m not encouraging alcoholism here), I definitely approve of this kind of mentality. Just ask my editors, my first draft is usually words vomited onto the page that I then spend MONTHS beating into submission.

But as was recently pointed out in an article making the rounds of the twitterverse: this isn’t the only way to do it, and being open about the struggles we all go through (I still hate staring at a blank page) and our process.

Check out: How academics survive the writing grind: some anecdotal advice, and let me know more about your process!

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