This Blog is also about Our Work (#actuallivingscientist)

Rachel recently used the analogy (METAPHOR? KY SCHOOLS TAUGHT ME THINGS I SWEAR) that life can be a feel like a circus act of spinning plates in the air. All the tasks and goals we balance in grad school are different plates, and we also want to keep ourselves and our relationships healthy and spinning. This blog is about our life, but as scientists our work is a large part of the equation. The amount of focus we can dedicate to Sweet Tea, Science waxes and wanes as the number of plates we have in the air changes. We’ve learned over the years to be gentle with ourselves and each other during times when the STS plate needs to be ignored a bit. Our lives are ramping up in exciting ways as we both near the end of the PhD chapter that’s kept our plates and heads spinning for the last 5+ years. (Y’all, Rachel is SO close to being my Dr. Bestie!! ::hearteyes::)

Meridith’s Life Update

Life has gone from 0 to GET ALL THE THINGS DONE so quickly! I’m really enjoying how much I’ve got going on (for once!) because I was spurred into action by a double dose of amazing news.

  1. I learned somewhat recently that I was selected to be a Sloan Scholar! This scholarship from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s Minority Ph.D. program provides funds to cover personal expenses and professional development activities.
  2. If you follow my IG (@AlwaysScientist), you’ll know I was also awarded a Big Ten Academic Alliance Smithsonian Fellowship! I hope to write a longer post about the application process in the future, but this means that I’ll be moving to Washington DC to do research (my 3rd PhD project) at the Migratory Bird Center!!
Meridith has been unknowingly preparing for this her entire life.
Is Jr Park Ranger/Conservation Statistician a job?

So my life now is working on wrapping up the first two projects of my PhD so those manuscripts can be sent off to journals. I’ve worked out a timeline for both of these projects with my advisor, and I am so excited to have both of these tasks off my desk soon. I’m also looking for an apartment in DC near my new work…at the zoo! Y’all, I’ll be going to work at the National Zoo, where the center is housed. Benjamin and I will both be moving and we’re so excited about the new adventure. We’ve lived in the same apartment in State College for the majority of our relationship, so we’ll miss this space we’ve created and developed together….but also we 100% love Ethiopian food so we’re ready to move!

Mer visited the National Zoo in 2010 without realizing she was meeting her future lunch buddies.

I’ll also be going to two conferences this summer. The Joint Statistical Meeting in July/August which means another exciting trip to Denver, CO. I’m hoping Benjamin will be able to join because we’d love to sneak off for some good friends, food, and hiking in our favorite city. I’m also planning on attending the Ecological Society of America meeting for the first time since 2012 and I’ll be able to see some family as well while I’m home.

Rachel’s Life Update

Meridith and I were just texting this morning about my moving into the Editor Rachel position for the next two months. While I am slowly taking some of my plates out of the air, I feel like others keep getting thrown at me! Mostly, I need to take time off from writing for STS because I’m transitioning from my life as a PhD student into a life as a California Sea Grant State Fellow! You can check me out in the press release if you like! You can read more about this fellowship program at this link. I’m going to be working with the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission for the next year, mostly focusing on their efforts to help the SF Bay prepare for and adapt to sea level rise. It’s a really exciting opportunity, and I’m taking it as a great chance to test the waters of a very applied, government position.

Focused and ready to finish this PhD!

As for finishing my PhD, I’m going to wait until my parents come to town to sign all the paperwork and make it offical (mostly because I want to see my parents’ faces when I offically become a doctor), but you can expect a full update about that and some self-indulgent reflections/musings in early June!

What About Sweet Tea, Science?

We still have lots of blog post ideas and we love writing and posting together. That part definitely hasn’t changed. We will be shifting our posting day from Thursdays (when, mostly) to the weekend. We’ve found that it’s nice to switch gears to writing for the blog after a productive week. We also might not post every week for the next few months. With Rachel taking a writing hiatus from the blog, it’s not fair, or really possible, for Meridith to pick up all that slack.

Keep check in back in on our little corner of the internet. We will be here more often than not. How are you feeling this spring? We hope you feel empowered to take a few of your own plates out of the air to give yourself some grace and space.


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