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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Truth against Humanity

Truth against Humanity

This rambling essay attempts to give voice to my struggles with #RipplesOfDoubt, and with the realities I’ve faced as a woman in science and skepticism. This is a piece written with too much honesty and not a lot of poetry. It is written because there are men out their throwing around phrases like, “I can’t be a misogynist – look how I intervened when that guy was about to grab that chicks boobs! Sure, I didn’t report it or anything, but I stopped it, and that is enough.” No, it’s not enough. I used to think it was. I used to have among my closest male friends people who thought it was enough to tell me, “Don’t feel bad about how that good thing X didn’t happen. It wasn’t that you weren’t...

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Work Travel: The longest days

Work Travel: The longest days

One of the flaws in what many of us do is this: When we spend our days disseminating our work and training people to use our materials, we are doing one aspect of our job that is very important, but the other parts of our jobs still need to be done. The emails keep coming. The staff still need to meet with us (online). The paperwork still has to be done. The audio still has to get recorded. (image: Hourglass by borabora on Flickr) There is a group of us here in Turku, who are working to provide teacher professional development to a group of educators from all around Europe. From 9am to 6pm, we are working with the teachers, providing concepts and content (and coffee). We are staying in an adult travelers hostel, and our evening are being spent cooking a shared...

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Jeff Medkeff: a legacy of giving

Jeff Medkeff: a legacy of giving

There are certain moments that get burned into your memory. for me, one of those moments is the morning of August 4, 2008. I was sitting on the floor in Lynn Cominsky’s house getting ready for a teacher training workshop at Sonoma State. Flipping through my email I was stopped cold by a message that Jeff Medkeff, the Blue Collar Scientist, had died of Liver Cancer. While I had never met him personally, he was someone I knew as a fellow doer and teacher of astronomy. He was an asteroid hunter and blogger, and a mentor to countless observers and also to young new media communicators of science. He was a kindred spirit and someone I respected. And he was gone. That year at Dragon*Con, the podcasting track (which was conjoined with the skeptics track back then)...

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Helsinki for a day

Helsinki for a day

For not the first in my life, I find myself passing thru Helsinki. To me, it keeps being a waypoint between places that gets slept in, wandered about in, and then left behind. The first time I was here was 24 years ago. I and 24 others were on our way back from several weeks in the USSR, where we’d been studying astronomy and playing all but unsupervised in a small village in the caucus mountains. On our return, we’d stopped for a couple days in Leningrad before taking the train to Helsinki, from which we flew home. We stayed here a night, and we spent that night walking through the lack of darkness, trying to make our way to a ferris wheel we saw off in the distance. I was 15, and along with a few other misplaced teens, I walked this city till what...

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