Dr. Mom, My Adventures as a Mommy-Scientist

Discussion of my journey from grad school to postdoc to tenure with two kids, a husband, (and a bit of breast cancer) in tow.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Ruminations on a Friday Afternoon

The more that we learn about what happened at Virginia Tech, the worse I feel. It seems like warning signs were there and some effort was made to avert disaster, but not enough. As an educator this begs the question: how do I tell the difference from a disgruntled student and someone who is mentally ill? It can be a fine line.

Along the same lines has anyone else been mapping potential escape routes from their classroom or am I just paranoid? I noticed that our doors open outward, so we would be unable to block the doors with our feet (as the Virginia Tech student did) or even to barricade them. In addition we are on the third floor so it is really quite a jump. At least the windows aren't locked like one of the schools I attended.

On a happier note, the weather has finally improved here. It is a beautiful afternoon, and I took this opportunity to gather our group together for a lab photo. Our first. It's hard to believe that I have only been here since July and I already have 7 group members! Now, if I could just get some funding....well here's to the weekend.

Monday, April 16, 2007


To be honest, this is probably my greatest fear related to work. Like worrying about funding and tenure aren't enough.

My heart goes out to the Virginia Tech community.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Not getting funded

The title of this post pretty much sums up my life right now. I submitted a bevy of proposals in the Fall, which are all starting to back now. For the most part the reviews have been excellent, but I seem to just miss the funding line on each one. The good news is that I can add more data, address reviewer comments, and probably stand a good chance the second time around. The bad news is I have to wait another year before I will hear again.

I didn't really expect to get funding my first year. It is somewhat unusual. But I had harbored some small hope. It would certainly make my tenure case more secure. Also, I have the spend money to make money policy, so I am counting on hitting a grant somewhere in my first three years. If we don't well it will be like the titanic, we will go out in style. So here's to next year, and if the seas get tough, women and children first.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Another two body couple down in flames

There has to be a better way. We have almost completed our interview season and interviewed two individuals with "two-body" issues. In both cases the individuals that applied were well liked. In both cases there spouses were fairly well-received, but because we only have one position in our department and were unable to convince any other departments to accommodate the spouses (well not yet anyway), it looks like we will miss both opportunities. Some schools have offices dedicated to dealing with two body issues. But unfortunately, we aren't quite there yet.

On another but related front, my sister is dealing with an interesting two body problem. She has been offered two positions: one at the institution with her spouse and another at an institution within driving distance (45 min each, if they lived half way). The institution that is further away is giving her much more money for start-up, but this would entail a long commute for both of them, and might make it difficult to get home in an emergency when they decide to have children. Any thoughts?

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