PSU Stats Recruitment Day

Five years into a statistics program and I’m still shocked at my decision to go down this path. Switching fields going into my PhD was daunting and I’ve spoken before about how was convinced to turn Full Stats Stud during my visit to the programs recruitment day. Since then I’ve helped out with each batch of prospective students as they too are welcomed to Happy Valley and introduced to what earning a PhD in Statistics here could mean for them. I want to share these experiences and a little bit of what’s going on behind the curtain for our readers. If you are be going through a similar process, here’s one look at what a recruitment day looks like and what to expect. We’d also love to hear from others about their experiences as this process varies GREATLY between departments and universities!

In PSU Statistics, we invite domestic students that already have offers to our PhD program to come to campus for a day of information and fun. These students already have been accepted and we hope to convince them that they’ll find a great environment for spending the next 4-6+ years. Not all recruitment events happen after offers go out, and that could make for a more stressful visit. Even visiting a department you do have an offer for can be extremely intimidating. I know I am STILL intimidated sometimes! But one of the most important tips I have is to remember that you have worked hard and earned a spot! They should be working hard to impress you and be showcasing what their program has to offer.

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#NEONdata: A Recap

As Abstract Season is underway (I have so many conferences I’m considering this year!) I thought it’d be a smart idea to finish up recapping some of my 2018 experiences. As part of my flurry of travel last semester I spent November 8 – 9 attending the Explore Neon Workshop at NEON’s headquarters in Boulder, Colorado. Looking back, I’m still shocked that so much information and guidance was conveyed in just two days! Myself and several other graduate students traveled to NEON, learned how to access and work with NEON data, and interacted with NEON science staff. I really enjoyed working with data alongside a group of ecologists/botanists/biologists/etc (no shade, statisticians, but ecologists will nerd out with me about nature AND data).

What is NEON?

The National Science Foundation’s National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) is a continental-scale ecological observation facility that collects and provides open data from field sites across the US. This project has been in the development and planning stages for several years and is now shifting into the beginning of its 30+ years of monitoring producing consistent, comparable, high-quality data. The ultimate goal is to collect data that can characterize and quantify how ecosystems across the 20 ecoclimatic domains  are changing.

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Eco-Inspirations: Homemade Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is a grad student’s best friend. Raise your hand if you’ve got a big ol’ jar of it at your desk. Raise the other if you’ve ever eaten it straight out of the jar with a spoon (or your hand, Winnie the Pooh style, we don’t judge). It’s there when we’re stressed. It’s there when we need a bit of extra fuel. It’s especially there when we’ve got an apple that needs a nice glob of PB on every bite. Peanut butter definitely deserves a shout out in my thesis acknowledgements.

Peanut butter as it’s meant to be is quite healthy (low cabs, high healthy fats, etc). It can become problematic when companies add sugar, excessive sodium, full or partially hydrogenated oils, or even non-hydrogenated oils like palm oil. It’s also often packaged in plastic. As part of my efforts to live a healthier lifestyle for me and our planet, I started searching for products that had limited ingredients and came packaged in glass. You may have guessed these were a bit more expensive! The game changer for my husband and I came with the purchase of a new, mondo-powerful blender! We’d tried making our own peanut butter before and nearly destroyed our hand-me-down blender.

But now there’s no holding us back. Our homemade peanut butter is way more delicious than store-bought. We find the ingredients in bulk and in glass so there’s no plastic waste. If you’d like to try and make your own you can follow the general recipe below. Get creative! Let us know how it goes!

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