Trainee-Level Fuckery of the Worst Kind…

I won’t claim that the subsequently mentioned fuckery is a degree of fuckery that every graduate student or postdoc is necessarily guilty of, but it’s one that I see frequently and it chaps my ass in a spectacular way.

I think that it is important to have undergraduates in the lab. It gives them an opportunity to experience *actual* science, as opposed to their canned laboratory activities, and it’s good for more senior trainee scientists (graduate students and postdocs) to have the experience of mentoring someone more junior. But, sometimes these more senior trainees can be real dicks about it.

It really irritates me when I hear one of these folks comment about not having the time/it being an inconvenience/ to mentor their assigned trainees, or mention that something would being easier if they did it themselves, or talk about how much their trainee doesn’t know, or refer to them as minions as thought they shouldn’t have training goals. Sometimes these more senior trainees get all Lord of the Flies in their shit and try to establish pecking orders where their status in the world is defined by their superiority to these younger students.  The incredible irony of it is that their expectations for how they should be treated are completely different. They expect their mentor to be available “for 5 minutes…real” They expect their career trajectory to be nurtured and attended to and to receive an ever-loving amount of patience for the progress of “their work”.  At least here, I know that these students aren’t subjected to the kind of “use up and spit out” lab style that others talk about where success of the PI is predicated on burning through some grad students and postdocs without regard for their needs. So, I don’t know where it comes from.

That’s why when I see this little bit of insidiousness, the hammer must come down.

Science or Ciencia? Carolina’s Story

Isis the Scientist:

Cuando fui niña, mi abuelo limpió un hospital. Ahora tengo my propio laboratorio en un hospital similar..

Originally posted on ScienceSalsa:


Carolina’s ears started feeling really hot. It wasn’t because of the temperature inside the laboratory, it was because of her embarrassment. To Carolina’s classmates she was Carol, they had no idea that she spoke Spanish, or that her grandmother barely spoke English.

Abuela Rita wasn’t the source of the embarrassment. Carolina was proud of her grandmother, a single mother that raised a family by herself with a custodial job. But when her grandmother spoke in Spanish during the high-school field trip to the University and called her by her full name, Carolina felt as if her grandmother had left her naked in front of her classmates.

Carolina wanted to tell all the other students that she was very proud of her grandmother. Abuela Rita was the reason she got interested in science in the first place. Rita told Carolina many bedtime stories when she was a little girl…

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Tuesday Addendums

I rule.

That is all.

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch..

It sounds silly to say that I have a “life philosophy”, but sounding silly has never stopped me in the past.

I didn’t really discover public radio until after I graduated from college. I was living in New England, commuting an hour to work each day, and found Maine Public Radio on the lower end of the dial. I’d listen to Morning Edition each day and then sit in the car to hear The Writer’s Almanac. I liked that Garrison Keillor ended each day’s program with

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

It seems like such perfect, simple advice. Care for your inner and outer well-being, take pride in your work, and make sure that those that you love know their value to you.

I’ve got some great people that I am collaborating with now, but Friday’s experiments were a damned fiasco. I don’t quite know how it was catalyzed, but people were rushed and tired and everything unraveled.  I’ve been fussy about it since because I know that my major role in this project is to provide scientific experience and mentorship and I did not more aggressively tell people to slow-the-fuck-down.  There’s a part of me that has been dreading returning to it today…

…until I got some reviews this morning from some work that I did previous that had been in submission. The reviews contain statements like…

This study highlights this important issue…I only have some minor issues..
This well-written paper from…
The methods employed to answer this question are gold standard, which is admirable, and the experiments are well-executed…

I’m reminded of the pay off that comes with slowing down, taking our time, being peaceful, and encouraging my collaborators to do flawless science.  In the words of Garrison Keillor, we’re going to do good work today.

I’m going to shake off my since-Friday-fussiness, find myself some backup dancers and a bejeweled hype man to whisper in my ear, and get back to it like the diva I am.

We’re going to have one less problem today, my lovelies.


Dr. Isis’s Shoe of the…(sigh)

You may recall that I am in the process of moving to a new MRU. It’s putting a serious, serious cramp in my style. I am all about celebrating every small victory in my professional life, frequently with a pair of shoes. I am having a stone cold winner of a year, but my desire to reward myself is at odds with my desire to sell my house. We’ve got the new carpet down (that’s a saga for another day) and I have seriously culled my closet.  Once upon a time, my closet stood in glory and majesty..a beacon to all well-shod women…

Closet before

Now, behold the sadness and disappointment of this poor, poor closet..

cleaned out closet

Granted, I am on board with the culling and relocation of my footwear if it means making some dough on the sale of this house, but still…le sigh. Especially since everything I am seeing is making me ache a little. Take, for example, these boots..

Joshlyn bootJoshlyn boot – $39.95 at JustFab.

That’s a red zipper, friends. A red zipper. My poor, poor tattered heart is destroyed.  Also, these…

blue leopardGwendle Multicolor Pump by Nine West – $59.95 at DSW.

I am typically reluctant to purchase anything in an animal print, lest I be confused with a woman who is embracing her cougar-y years, but I think these are amazing.

But, alas, neither are meant to be and I must retreat into my happy place and find peace in my clutter-free closet. A closet void of joy, light, and at least six pairs of sequined heels. Pero, no se preocupen, queridos. Dr. Isis will be just fine..