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Academic life

Why do wizards go adventuring ? Or …. you thought that your tenure requirements were tough?!

Academic life, Fantasy, funding, Popular Culture, Science LifeFebruary 23, 20170

Something that has been bothering me for a while, is why do wizards go adventuring? Source: ClipArtLord.com Now if you are a big geek like me, you’ll know that practically every adventuring party has a wizard. But these wizards are incredibly unprepared for exploring dungeons and have a shockingly high mortality rate. In the dungeons […]

R1 research universities – is a biased, flawed ranking system crippling academia?

Academic life, Challenging the Conventional Narrative, funding, Science fundingFebruary 16, 2017

If you are at a university that has graduate students, you have probably heard about whether your university is an R1 or R2 or R-whatever research institution. Universities tout their position in this ranking system, awarded by the Carnegie Foundation, to denote how “prestigious” they are in terms of research. From 1994, the ranking used […]

New achievement milestones for academic life

Academic lifeFebruary 5, 2017

Overall job satisfaction in academia has been steadily declining for many independent reasons I won’t get into here (see Nature 1 and 2). However, we do need to accept some ownership for this dissatisfaction. Our expectations and goal posts are understandable set very high.  Indeed for many of us, our impossible standards and stubborn determination […]

The Worlds First Empirical ‘How-To’ Get Into Graduate School Book

Academic life, Education, Personal Stories, publishing, Science publishingDecember 15, 2016

Many years ago as a graduate student at the College of William & Mary, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, my former officemate (Noelle Relles) and I came up with a novel idea: take all the disparate information out there about strategies for getting into graduate school in the natural sciences and coalesce them into a single […]

Applications now open for the Elasmobranch Society’s diversity in marine science initiative

Academic life, Education, marine science, Natural Science, Science, sharksSeptember 15, 2016

The American Elasmobranch Society, the world’s oldest and largest professional society focusing on the scientific study and management of sharks and their relatives, is now welcoming applications for the 2nd year of our Young Professional Recruitment Fund diversity initiative. Awardees will be given one year of Society membership, in addition to specialized professional development training, […]

Everything you need to know about working in conservation you can learn from Game of Thrones

Academic life, Conservation, Science LifeAugust 9, 2016

Learned scholars and respected leaders of society warn that a major environmental change is coming and everyone should prepare. However, heads of state, politicians and wealthy oligarchs argue and bicker, more interested in riches and power than the imminent threat. Some realize that the oncoming change will be accompanied by a host of problems, to […]

Trading blue collars for scarlet robes, my working-class experience of academic life

Academic life, Life in the Lab, Personal Stories, Science, Science Life, Underrepresented Issues in Marine Science and ConservationJune 9, 2016

More people are going to college, graduate school, and obtaining PhDs in STEM fields than ever before (Figure 1), and a growing minority of these PhD candidates are non-traditional or not white affluent males. While we celebrate this change, let us not forget that academia was built by – and for – the “traditional” student. […]

Title is the new abstract

#SciComm, publishing, Science publishingJune 1, 2016

There are an increasing number of scientific articles being produced and posted at a frantic rate. How can you make your paper stand out and be memorable amongst this plethora of publications? Moreover, if your work is conservation-related, how do you ensure that the people who matter see and remember your work? The one part […]

The decline and fall of the literature review

Academic life, publishing, Science publishingMay 16, 2016

I’m currently doing an annual review of environmental impacts on whales and dolphins for the International Whaling Commission, which involves assessing, reading and potentially summarizing almost everything that’s published on cetacean conservation. Every year this exercise gives me an ulcer because: (a) climate change and pollution threats are accelerating; (b) reiterated recommendations from scientists from […]

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