We chatted about gender disparities in sports both locally and globally as well as my own experiences weightlifting.
Part of my work with the Sausage of Science podcast was developing the #Hackademics mini series. This series of episodes focused on the unspoken issues and rules within academia – issues and rules that need to be brought to light, need to be talked about.
We have covered imposter syndrome, preparing for and coming back from fieldwork, and science communication to name a few. Though the podcast has a broad, accessible reach, it does not have the weight of a peer reviewed publication in terms of being a citable and respectable resource. As such, my podcast co-host, Chris Lynn, and I decided to turn the #Hackademics podcast mini series into an academic journal special issue. With the blessing and wonderful support of Bill Leonard, editor in chief at the American Journal of Human Biology, this has become a reality.
One of my contributions to this special issue was a paper on mentorship. This is a topic near to my heart and near to my career. I have experienced poor mentorship and I have experience good, nurturing mentorship. I work exceptionally hard on making sure my mentees have a good mentorship experience with me – I am not always successful, but I work at it.
Writing this manuscript, however, was a massive team effort. The team consisted of Alexandra Niclou (my graduate student), Tisa Loewen, Kendall Arslanian, Rebecca Gibson, and Claudia Valeggia. We each represent different personal identities, stages in the academic trajectory, and a range of experiences as mentors and mentees.
In this paper, we centralize information on what good & poor mentorship looks like, how good mentorship is critical to professional and often personal success and fulfillment, how to find mentors, and we provide recommendations for rewarding mentorship as well as accountability for poor mentorship. When it comes down to it, no one teaches us how to be mentors or how to advocate for good mentorship. We hope this paper helps in providing resources and a path forward for a more nurturing and equitable academia.
The paper is still behind a paywall, for now, but below are pdfs of the tables (one on mentorship resources, another on mentor-mentee expectations) and sample mentorship plan/guide. These are incredibly useful, and we hope anyone reading this will get something important from them. Also, please feel free to contact me for a pdf of the full manuscript – happy to send it!
I recently had the opportunity to be on the Dare To Be Human podcast that is hosted by Kat Koppett and Livia Walker who I was fortunate enough to get to know and befriend during my time in Albany, NY. They are a part of the Mop Co Improv Theatre, where my husband did improv for almost three years. They were also essential to the improv and anxiety study I conducted with colleagues.
I thought this interview was going to revolve entirely around that study, but it didn’t! It was perhaps one of the most wonderfully wide-ranging interviews I have ever been a part of. I touch on a number of topics that are near and dear to my heart, and I am so grateful to Kat and Livia for giving me the time and space to discuss them.
Have a listen here – I hope you enjoy!
One of the very best things about this job is getting to meet and talk with so many wonderful people. Sometimes this happens by chance and sometimes it is intentional. This time, it was a bit of both.
Due to the low key viral success of Ruby’s Laboratory Manual, I was contacted by the St. Joseph County Public Library (SJCPL) to take part in the Science Alive month-long event. With the help of the Eck Institute for Global Health, we were able to provide almost 500 grab-and-go single science experiment bags to SJCPL to distribute to children.
Seeing the focus on women scientists in Ruby’s Lab Manual SJCPL, specifically Rada Ragimbekov, wanted to collaborate on putting together an event for Women’s History Month. We decided to hold a Meet a Scientist panel discussion event for children featuring a diverse group of women scientists.
Each of these women during this even shared their science, the educational journey, the challenges they have faced as women in science, and words of wisdom. I think we all left that event inspired by the strength, persistence, and creativity of these amazing women. It was one of those activities that many my shrug off as silly extra service, but I consider it potentially one of the most impactful parts of my job.
I am always on the look out for fun ways to demonstrate to my niece the diversity of women in STEM fields. Luckily, there are so many kind and generous folks in STEM who are willing to do the heavy lifting, and often in beautifully creative ways.
Here are two Women in STEM coloring books to share with the budding scientists in your family!
Think like a Girl by the Vilchek Foundation
ColorMePhD by Dr. Julie Rorror
It is exceptionally difficult to describe the feeling of watching someone taking something small you did and turning it into something wonderful that benefits others. It is overwhelming in the best way.
This is exactly what happened with Ruby’s Lab Manual. I just made this manual for my niece, and then it it exploded and traveled far and wide on social media. And then…Morgan Munsen, Notre Dame graduate student and member of Science Policy Initiative, garnered all her intelligence and organizational abilities to secure funding and build science experiment supply kits to be delivered along with the Spanish translation of the lab manual to 150 children (grades 1-6) at St. Adalbert’s School.
I tear up every time I think about how this small idea was transformed into a beautiful and generous act. Notre Dame wrote up a story about all of this, and they say it far better than I ever could. But, this is what science in action looks like. This is what science outreach looks like. We need more of it.
A month or so ago, my brother told me that his daughter, Ruby, wanted a new science kit for her birthday. I had gotten her one previously and we enjoyed doing the experiments together. However, that experience taught me that pre-made science kits are not great. So, I decided to make one for her myself.
I smartly (or stupidly) posted pictures of a couple of pages on both Facebook and Twitter, and it quickly went low-key viral. I did not expect the overwhelming response, but perhaps I should have. After a great deal of thought and consulting with some wonderfully supportive colleagues, I decided to not officially publish the manual and keep it freely available to all who would like it.
However, to maintain my sanity and and time for my actual job, I have now posted it to my website. You can find the Ruby’s Laboratory Manual here.
Back in May during one of the many peaks of the COVID-19 pandemic and stay at home orders, I was feeling useless. I felt the need to contribute and help. I also was personally feeling terrible since I wasn’t able to maintain my powerlifting routine. I decided to combine the two.
I got in touch with my friend and colleague, Dr. Katie Rose Hejtmanek, and we put together an online survey looking at gathering information on how the stay at home orders affected exercise routines. Furthermore, we wanted to find out how the changes in routine also affected perceived physical and mental well being.
We quickly got over 500 survey respondents, and it became very clear that folks who almost exclusively used gyms before the pandemic faired the worst during the stay at home orders. We have not published these results yet, but wanted to put something together in hopes of getting results back as quickly as possible to out participants as well as providing some techniques for coping.
Here is the infographic we created based on the preliminary analysis.
Thanks to all who participated!