King Rail Migration
Sharing the Joys, Challenges, and Excitements of Field Work and Graduate School. Its all for the birds!!
|Yellow Rail, captured by Nick Seeger, Fall 2013|
BK Leach Conservation Area, Missouri
In April all of the students in the Arkansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit presented to our cooperators on our projects for the 2013 fiscal year. Its a great way for all of us get feedback and make sure that our projects are still answering the questions that started the projects.
Since I'm now on the other side of comps I've had a few people ask me for suggestions on how to prepare for their own. Here's a few thoughts.
|My first load of books from the library|
My comps are coming up fast (8 days!!) and the end of the semester is finally past, FINALLY. The past two months have been a bit of a wake up call about how I need to take care of myself as well as my work. In the spirit of taking care of myself, I'm carving out a few minutes to breathe and share a bit more of my comps process.
|Can you see the tiny clear antennae sticking|
out from between his feathers, that
is the geolocator
|female Belted Kingfisher showing off her feisty side|
I've got another guest post up on Nemesis Bird. It's just a ramble about all the unique things about rails.
Staying focused is hard, being productive perhaps even more challenging. In grad school the challenge of focus is especially true because there are SO many things pulling for your attention. Your research, your classes, any teaching you do, writing grants, writing papers, presenting at conferences, and all the other tasks. It makes it easy to be very busy without actually doing anything.
|Ted Shanks Conservation Area, Missouri|
|Marla showing a cardinal to some kids|
|Showing off the little seen details, like birds tails|
helps everyone look more closely.
A few weeks back I had a series of conversations with some other scientists who decided to tell me different variations of 'birds aren't important' 'people who work on birds lack creativity' 'you aren't as good of a scientists because you work on a charismatic animal'.
talked to multiple scientists today who tried to belittle working with birds and the importance of studying them in any capacity (1/2)
— Auriel Fournier (@amv_fournier) January 24, 2014
I understand the argument that birds get more money then some other taxa, and I appreciate that frustration, but to deny their importance?I got some great feedback, including thinking about myself and my career as studying a system rather then a taxa and how being system oriented might make me more marketable (good food for thought, especially this post from The Lab and Field). I need to mull over how I identify myself as a scientist some more though before writing up my complete thoughts, so look for that in the future sometime.
— Auriel Fournier (@amv_fournier) January 24, 2014
@ShamanSciences @amv_fournier @derekhennen Yes! Never let anyone dent your passion/excitement/motivation. That's science rocket fuel!I personally could not agree more. When I started grad school I noticed that some saw my passion as childish behavior. They seem to think science should be done for the sake or progress, or grants, or fame.
— Kristofer Helgen (@khelgen) January 24, 2014
I'm scheduled to take my comprehensive exams in June and I've talked a little bit about the format that will take. My committee decided I'll be writing an NSF style proposal, defending it and then have an oral examination of the subjects my committee members decide on.
|Colorful post-it flags everywhere!|
I wrote up a post on rails and wetland management for Nemesis Bird. Just highlighting why wetland management is so important and why it might sometimes seem destructive when its not.
2013 was a very good year, both personally and professionally.
|Year First Visited|
Dark Red - Pre-2000
Red - 2000-2003
Orange - 2008
Yellow - 2009
Both Blues - 2012
Purple - 2013
Looking at the numbers can be really discouraging as a woman in STEM. It often seems like the cards are stacked against us and I must be very crazy to think that I am the exception to all of it. That is probably another discussion for another time. This post for The Lab and Field got me thinking about my own work and how I can help change those statistics myself, more then just being a female in STEM. That post references an article in nature that encourages us each to calculate our own gender gap. Or the ratio of Females to Males in our own work. It's easy to talk about these gaps as national wide, or international problems and brush them off, but when you look at your own numbers, it's pretty sobering.
So I've been trying to work on my writing skills from a variety of angles, and one of those is writing about my experience as a grad student and trying to pass that on to other students. As a result I wrote up this article on communicating with your family about grad school over the holidays and gradhacker was kind enough to accept it and let me write up a guest post!
So I've been working on learning R for a few years now, but only really seriously took it up about a year ago and while I know I still have a long way to go I am finally at the point where if you give me a morning I can typically figure out whatever it is I need to do.
|My boots in Hawaii, abused and glued|