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Academic life

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 […]

Why scientists sometimes need to be a bit more Sith and a bit less Jedi

Academic life, Personal StoriesMarch 31, 2016

  Being a scientist can be very frustrating, even infuriating. It might well be because of the inequalities and unfairness of academic life (such as incompetent administrators, a lack of funding, poor career prospects, or academic bullying and harassment ). However, if you work in the conservation field, the frustrations will positively abound. In addition […]

This Paper Should Not Have Been Retracted: #HandofGod highlights the worst aspects of science twitter

Academic life, publishingMarch 5, 2016

I really didn’t want to care about this paper, at all. When news broke Wednesday afternoon that a paper in PLOS One referenced the “Creator” in the abstract, introduction, and discussion, I took a look, read through the methodology and results, asked a few colleagues in that field if there were any methodological problems that would […]

How I prepare a peer review

Academic lifeFebruary 11, 2016

Over the last couple of months the question of how to write a peer review came up quite a few times, and a couple of my colleagues even asked me directly to help them prepare for their first  peer reviews. Preparing solid, critical peer review is an essential component of being a good citizen in […]

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