Resist; Persist.

Resist; Persist.

It’s been 20 days since the Women’s March on DC (and the World). Resistance is not futile, but persistence is hard. Earlier this week I shut down Twitter while trying to get some work done. Messages were flying so fast it was bogging down my system – and here I mean my computer not my head, although both may certainly have been true. When I turned things back on I was inspired by the stories flying past with the quote, “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”  These words resonated somewhere deep inside me. I know that part of what drives me is the desire to follow my passion while proving wrong all my detractors. That physics teacher I had junior year who warned me that I shouldn’t try and...

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Living in the Shadows of the Apollo Generation

Living in the Shadows of the Apollo Generation

I was born in December 1973, 1 year and a few days after the United States’ last crewed mission to the moon. I have been engaged in research astronomy since I was 17, and have spent the entirety of my career being one of the youngest in the room. I’m still called “young lady” in professional meetings, and teased for not remembering Carter (or Johnson or Nixon). While the millennials are coming up behind me, fighting to define new paths, my generation is still getting lost in the shadows of our light hogging senior peers. At some point, I keep expecting things to change as my generation becomes “senior”, but that change seems to be on hold – maybe permanently – for many (most?) of us. The reasons are complex and are...

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Why I stay (2 of 2)

Why I stay (2 of 2)

This is the second part in a two-part essay on why I stay in academia. As I did with yesterday’s post, I wanted to start with an infographic, but I couldn’t find one communicating what I wanted to say. Astronomy is a rich field, doing and discovering amazing things, but we are a field where budgets are modest, and the overall dollars that are available is going down or staying flat (depending on your sub-field). I wanted to find an infographic that somehow expressed that. When I talk about why I stay, I have to address the question of “Why do I stay given the current funding crisis?” I thought about making an infographic, but it hurt too much. Maybe another day? Here’s what I know: NASA and NSF aren’t getting a lot of astronomy...

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Why I stay (part 1 of 2)

Why I stay (part 1 of 2)

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how to articulate why it is I keep doing what I do. Anyone who has been around me knows that between the stress of budgets and the overall climate against women in STEM, my career isn’t one that makes me happy at the moment. The thing is, my profession is one that I value, and I am doing things that I am proud to see through to completion. There are problems, but … would it be better to have a job that I was neutral toward, but paid more and required fewer work hours? I want to do things with meaning, and I am striving to do that with my career, and right now, as a woman in astronomy, that means I’m choosing – my choice – the prospect of creating something I’m proud of over the...

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DHS adds stigma to mental health issues

DHS adds stigma to mental health issues

When it comes to somethings, I still go old school, and one of those things includes getting a daily summary of SlashDot highlights. In one of these quick summaries of all that’s new, I stumbled across a story that broke me on many levels. Here is the summary from SlashDot: [Trigger Warning: Story discusses problems faced by woman with depression.] Jah-Wren Ryel writes In 2012, Canadian Ellen Richardson was hospitalized for clinical depression. This past Monday she tried to board a plane to New York for a $6,000 Caribbean cruise. DHS denied her entry, citing supposedly private medical records listing her hospitalization. From the story: ‘“I was turned away, I was told, because I had a hospitalization in the summer of 2012 for clinical depression,’’...

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When life gives you s***, find the manure fork

When life gives you s***, find the manure fork

  TL;DR version – Will join me Friday in writing & calling our legislatures to argue for science and science education? There are days that are rotten, and weeks that need a reset button. Sometimes moments of too much wrongness extend across months or even years. From health issues to job problems, at some point in life we all face these issues. Right now it seems like shit is raining down on all of us who love science and learning. This afternoon I reached a point where the realities in my twitter stream drove me to walk away from my desk, and go to the barn to muck stalls. I needed to take the metaphor of the day and turn it into literal throwing of shit in a useful manner where I could see solid results. I didn’t find any answers at the...

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