All posts by kdshives

Shutting Down Sexism in STEM

It seems like it is now impossible to go a week without hearing about sexism in STEM in the news. Last year provided too many examples, whether it was Nobel laureate Tim Hunt attempting to humorously claim that girls are trouble in the lab who either cry or fall in love with you (and the amazing #distractinglysexy response from female scientists on Twitter) to the resignation of exoplanet researcher Geoff Marcey due to sexual harassment charges, it was hard to miss the discussion about sexism in STEM fields in 2015.

Even now, only a few days into 2016 there are more reports surfacing of sexual harassment in STEM fields against female graduate students. It is painful to read about women being pushed from STEM  due to this kind of treatment. This behavior must be addressed by both men and women working in STEM if we are to have any hope of more diversity.

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The Importance of Asking for Help

One of the most important things that I’ve learned in graduate school is how to ask for help when I need it. Knowing when and how to ask for help can make navigating this unknown terrain much easier and save you time by avoiding the mistakes (or experiments) that others have made. This skill cannot be underrated, as you will encounter the unknown regularly in your studies as a graduate student. Continue reading The Importance of Asking for Help

A Teetotaler’s Guide to Networking in Grad School

For students,  graduate school presents many opportunities for professional networking and socialization. These events are usually held over beers at a conference or that one bar across the street from campus. So what about students who don’t drink? Being the only person in the bar with just a glass of water can be a little uncomfortable, especially when continually met with questions of “why are you not drinking?” Continue reading A Teetotaler’s Guide to Networking in Grad School

Combating Cynicism in Graduate School

Almost every department has that person who has elevated cynicism to an art.  You know the one. That person who is always unhappy with and verbally tearing down her project, his program, her advisor, journal club presentations, or pretty much any part of the graduate school experience. Usually this is a senior student or postdoc, but these personalities can be found in any corner of academia if you look hard enough. Unfortunately, this person also has an overall negative effect on the morale of those around him, making the already-difficult graduate school process that much more grueling for those who have to deal with him. Even worse, formerly happy students may begin to mimic these cynical behaviors and perpetuate a negative training environment for both themselves and those around them.

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Restarting a Stalled Project

It happens to every grad student in the sciences at some point: your project stops working and things don’t seem to come together. In some cases, projects don’t get enough momentum and early success to even seem like they have started. Projects that stop working can be some of the most disheartening events in graduate school (especially if you take your work very personally or tend to be a perfectionist) which makes knowing how to get back on track one of the most important skills that you can cultivate.

So what do you do when you find yourself tasked with a project that has stalled out?

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