Fighting to Stay

Fighting to Stay

There are days when I wonder how much longer I can make it in science as a woman. There are days when I’m not sure I can keep fighting against the bias, the bigotry, and the hate. And there are days when I’m not sure if I can remain competitive in this man’s world where research shows I will always earn less and be viewed as worse for doing the same quality work as a male colleague. (top image by alphadesigner) If you want to know why women leave STEM, look at how you treat us and look at the messages you tell us. On January 19, 2005 I arrived to work at the Harvard University Science Center to find myself face to face with a wall of news trucks and a sidewalk of media cables. All along Oxford Street, journalists had gathered to react to the pomp and circumstance...

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P.G. Holyfield: Bearing Witness to Life

P.G. Holyfield: Bearing Witness to Life

At roughly 11:20pm Wednesday August 20, 2014, author, podcaster, and father P.G. Holyfield died surrounded by love. I was one of the many there able to say good bye. I was there; I was sitting at the top of his bed stroking his hair. Both his hands were being held. His legs were clung to too, and his shoulder touched. We each let him feel that he was not alone. We wept as Viv’s words rang out, chanting the names of all those who had reached out to send their words of love. Her words rang out telling him we had accepted, we loved him, and it was ok to rest. Because of cancer I know the pain of laughter lines cracking from tears. When someone dies it seems like all you are left with is a world asking questions while you try ever so hard not to cry (while you try...

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My mistake of silence

My mistake of silence

In 2008, I made a mistake. Actually, I made a lot of mistakes, but only one of them has haunted me. On Wednesday, I learned that there are at least two audio recordings of a meeting at a non-profit. In this meeting my mistake was discussed and now there is the chance that audio could go public. And at this point, if it did, I’d support it because it would mean I could speak the truth frankly without fear of being sued for libel or slander by people with more resources than I have. It might mean that every few months, I wouldn’t have to deal with someone going, “there is this rumor” or getting out of the blue emails saying, “you know…”. My mistake was not reporting that a drunken man in a prominent role tried to grab my breasts. I’m writing this blog post to try...

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Confessions of a Reluctant (Academic) Manager

Confessions of a Reluctant (Academic) Manager

This semi-rant goes out to academics PIs. I’m soft money faculty. This means my salary comes mostly from grants, sometimes from random writing/performing gigs, and then my university pays a small percent that gets used to cover the time I spend fundraising/writing grants and being on university committees. When I write grants, I’m competing with teaching faculty who nominally have 9 months/year of their salary paid for by their universities. This creates a culture where I’ve sat on grant review committees and heard, “This person is asking for 20% time just to manage the grant – it’s just a couple students and a postdoc – that seems very excessive”. I’ve heard that kind of comment enough that I budget only 10%...

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the universe, being relatively small

the universe, being relatively small

I stumbled across a piece of beauty today… the universe, being relatively small, can’t seem to contain all my ideas, often, I think it’s far too small to fit both of us what we need is a multiverse full of quantum possibility and unloaded dice with infinite sides ready to be rolled what we need is myriad universei ready to grow or shrink to fill the needs of the people (no matter how small and petty they are) i like you quite a bit, so maybe we can have abutting universes with similar laws of gravity. I’d like to be close enough to drop by for cribbage and tea but far enough to keep the boundaries straight work with me here, it’s not easy being God. –Stephan Anstey I have always been fascinated by the idea of multiverses. So...

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Reaching into the Low Orbit Frontier

Reaching into the Low Orbit Frontier

One of the great things about working on Astronomy Cast is that sometimes I get to learn about things that I just didn’t fully appreciate in the past. Today I’m preparing for an episode on amateur/community spacecraft. I knew this was something that was going on, but I hadn’t appreciated the sheer diversity of missions that are in the works. In order to try and get my notes straight for today’s episode, I am going to summarize things here so that they are a resource for all of us. I’m sure this will be out of date very quickly, but hopefully it will help you appreciate everything as much as I now do. (image credit: NASA) ARKYD: The actual first public space telescope!  This project raised $1,505,366 with 17,614 backers, exceeding...

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Catching up on wishes – my bucket list

Catching up on wishes – my bucket list

Holy expletive, Batman – I just logged into my old Livejournal account to look up a 2004 bucket list that I posted. (copied here) I was looking it up because I wanted to see how my goals have changed, and see where I’ve succeeded in the nearly 10 years since I wrote it. All in all, I have to admit, I’ve done not too bad. Bucket List from March 2004 First there are the practical goals: 1) Pay off all my credit cards 2) Pay off my car (completed 12/10/2004) and outfit it with the “toys” I want (skid plate, fog lights, roof rack, solid doors, new paint). 3) Buy a house or condo (purchased 07/03/2006) Then there are the desires that may require money, but also require even more work on my part 1) I want another horse(bought 12/2008), and I want to...

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