Three weeks ago I passed my general exams (aka comprehensive exams or preliminary exams). It’s something Ph.D. students must successfully accomplish before advancing to candidacy, but achieving it requires more than just knowing stuff. Here, I would like to share my experience and maybe give some tips to everyone who still has to climb this mountain.
~ This post was written by Rosie Records and Dr. Ellen Wohl ~
Something important is missing from your to-do lists, and it’s not what you think it is. As an early career scientist, you probably have more than one of these lists, like me. There’s a professional development to-do list, a “work-life balance” list, and a to-do list for outreach and mentoring of a new generation of scientists (not to mention the daily grind lists of writing, researching, grocery-shopping, etc.). I recently discovered that for years I’ve been overlooking something critical in these priorities. That something is art and creative expression.
This post is a collaborative effort drawing from the attendees of the 2nd Annual Northeast Climate Science Center Fellows Retreat that took place in the Mark Twain National Forest in southern Missouri in 2014. The Early Career Climate Forum developed a module that charged the fellows to consider outreach and communication with a wide range of audiences and, in particular, to generate a blog post reflecting on their interactions with natural resource managers during retreat activities. Below, is a summary of their collective work.
On August 29, 2005, many watched as Hurricane Katrina came ashore on the northern Gulf Coast of the U.S. The satellite imagery from that day shows us how strong Katrina was. A category 5 hurricane at its peak, Katrina was a category 3 hurricane at landfall. This hurricane currently stands as the third deadliest and most costly hurricane in U.S. history (more than 1,000 deaths and $108 billion in damage according to the National Hurricane Center). Ten years have passed since Katrina made landfall.
There have been several times so far in my short graduate career where I have ended up arguing with one professor or another over something few would think of. How much does the small stuff matter? That is, how much does a small change in methods in research matter? Let me take a moment to talk about why I think that (at least in the context of climate modeling), the small stuff is very important.
I like a good goal. I like checking off the old box when something has been completed. Learning how to set goals can help us strive to get to the next level, increase our proficiency, get a paper submitted for publication, learn new statistical approaches. But goals can also be our downfall. Let me explain. I knew a student who was just raring to move on from where they were. They were getting close to being done, and started applying for new positions. A new job can be a wonderful motivator for closing a chapter of your professional development, but only when you are ready.
You know, I can’t count the number of times I’ve ended up in the position in this cartoon. In the case of graduate school, this can be both detrimental and helpful. Helpful, because when you are in classes it can mean that your homework and class projects get done on time. Detrimental, because that little thing called your thesis can end up getting pushed off because it’s at the bottom of the pile. So the key here is how do you effectively organize yourself so you can get things done?
AGU comes in December, AMS in January, AAG in April – the next big conference is always around the corner – and so might your poster presentation. Here are a few tips for a killer poster that will rock the place.
A chat about ice cores and oil business
A couple of evenings ago I had an interesting discussion with a friend of my roommate. Let’s call him Pete. Pete, the climate sceptic.
Pete and I had never met before, so we started with the usual introduction, and continued with the usual “Oh, where are you from?” after people notice my foreign accent. This is usually followed by “How did you end up in Oklahoma?” and that is sometimes preceded by “And what do you do here?” This time though, we didn’t make it to the How-I-got-here part.