Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Update After Long Hiatus

I apologize to my loyal readers, all 3 of you, for the long hiatus from blogging. Things have been a little hectic.

First, the diss. It sucks. No data.

Second, the possible post-doc and "real job". I had an interview for a government post-doc a few weeks ago. It was pretty grueling but I think I handled it well. I sat at the head of a table filled with 12 scientists who acted in concert like a firing squad, asking question after question. I flubbed one question big time. In an interview that was about 25 minutes long though, I think my ratio of good answers/bad answers was still pretty good. Honestly, I didn't understand what the guy was asking me and I should have asked him to clarify his question. Actually, from what I could tell, the question was totally irrelevant to my research and even worse, was one of those long, complicated, many-claused sort of questions that ultimately is probably more of an attempt to look smart on the part of the speaker than a real effort to extract information from an interviewee. Anyway, I am still waiting to hear on their decision.

Third, I also went to a conference and presented a poster last week. The poster went well. I managed to do some great scheduling and arranged to have an interview with a non-profit organization during the conference trip. This was a fantastic interview in which I was basically being told how great the job would's really an research position with a ton of self-directed research only....not in academia! I was told at the end of the interview that they wanted me back to interview with the higher-ups and to present a job talk. Great. Plans proceeded on this front....until I received a weird email telling me that "internal changes" may lead to the position being re-evaluated. WTF?!....although I guess it's better to learn these things now.

Finally, I am progressing on two manuscripts that are "THIS CLOSE" to submission.

Also there has been a lot of fun, including a weekend trip to the lake and an upcoming Renaissance Festival/camping extravaganza. So...............dear loyal readers (n=3), that is what I have been up to.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Gender Imbalance in Intramural NIH Scientists

This article reporting on a study conducted by the NIH on its intramural female scientists doesn't come as a surprise. The article goes on to report that women are more likely to make career concessions than men and that a change in academic and scientific culture will be necessary to combat the gender gap. (Don't hold your breath!) It also says that while men and women rate themselves equally when it comes to professional skills, women are less confident that they will obtain PI positions and receive tenure.

I find it interesting that the story has long been "more women trained in science and admitted to university, graduate school, and postdocs will soon translate to more women in tenured and PI positions." That seems so hopelessly naive to me. The reality is that something is wrong with the system and the culture (of academia, research, and the "rest of the world") and that throwing more women into the system at the lower level isn't going to magically solve the problem.
clipped from

Although women comprise nearly half of all undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral scientists nationwide, after committing 10 to 15 years to scientific training, many leave academic research during the career transition to faculty or tenured positions. For example, at the NIH, only 29 percent of the tenure-track principal investigators (PI) and 19 percent of tenured PIs — the NIH equivalent of assistant and full professors, respectively — are women. These figures have hardly changed over the last decade and mirror the disparities at most academic research institutions.

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