Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Job search: The end is nigh

I haven't posted too much about the specifics of my job search, due to my prudence. I don't want to speculate, offend, or entice.  But I can say that, after five months of interviews, the end is finally insight. I've only got one more interview left and decisions must be made in the very near future. The good news is that I have job prospects, so I won't be peddling my wares on the streets. Its a strange feeling though... having your future decided. I promise interview stories and conundrums once the light at the end of the tunnel is clearer.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Faculty of 1000 Biology

Faculty of 1000 Biology is a group of experts in biology and biomedicine that provide post-publication peer review. The effort should help scientists wade through the ever expanding literature in order to keep up to date on the best papers and important advances in our field(s).

Our 2010 PNAS paper, "Larvae from afar colonize deep-sea hydrothermal vents after a catastrophic eruption" was reviewed.

Figure 2 from Adams et al 2012.
Illustration by Jack Cook, WHOI.

I'm pleased that another one of my papers has just been reviewed. This one was more of a surprise. Often the papers that are reviewed are in the big name journals - Science, Nature, PNAS, Current Biology, etc. This makes sense, as they often contain the major advances. However, it wasn't my Science paper or even my Nature Communications paper. The most recent review is on a review of larval biology and dispersal at hydrothermal vents in Oceanography, by myself and two other exemplary early career female scientists, Shawn Arellano and Breea Govenar... now a Recommended read. Thanks!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Diversity: Where do they go?

This week I've been thinking a lot about diversity in marine sciences. Diversity can mean lots of different things... But by pretty much all metrics, marine sciences lacks diversity. The number of women in the faculty, tenured and tenure-track, is disparingly low. The number of under-represented minorities is even lower. At the graduate level, gender equity is much better while minorities are still woefully poorly represented.

The numbers suggest that there may be pipeline issues in preparing, captivating, and recruiting minorities into marine sciences. I think the hope is that it's preparation and exposure issues. The harder scenario would be a cultural barrier. Doctors and lawyers may be more highly valued professions... Clearly their pay checks suggest that they are more highly values by society as a whole. Assuming the best case scenario, K-12 and community outreach efforts and targeted recruiting have promise for improving diversity.

Women may have different issues. There are women in the pipeline. Graduate student numbers are up... Some sub disciplines lag behind a bit but women are entering the pathway to the professorate. Where are they going from there? A hypothesis that's gaining more attention and supporting data for the sciences is that the conflicting pull of work and family during the transition between being a graduate student and becoming a faculty member causes dropouts before entering the academy.

A totally biased sample of my graduate cohort friends, 5 of 9 female friends have had kids or are pregnant within five years since earning their PhDs. Of these outstanding women, one has become a high school teacher, two are in policy and management, three have tenure track positions, and three of us are in post doc positions. There is not a perfect agreement between those that dropped out or have tenure track positions and family status. But I can say from personal experience that it's hard. Productivity is undoubtably impacted. The question really is how will going against traditional practice of either no children or delaying having kids until after tenure impact our ability to compete for faculty positions and to obtain tenure. competition is fierce...

Things that could and have help me are policies and support that increases my ability to do work... So child are, not only day to day, but also when traveling for business. Easy and clear maternity leave policies helped me... There were no questions regarding the benefits, so I could plan accordingly. The ability to have a panel of parents an email away to answer any questions regarding parenting has been invaluable from finding child care andpicking a doctor to getting coupons to save all I can. Now to get the kids to sleep through the night so I'm rested enough to think clearly all day....