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::)

Continue reading “This Blog is also about Our Work (#actuallivingscientist)”
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Catching Up with STS – Meridith Edition

HELLO FRIENDS! It has been a long, tough year since Rachel and I have posted here on Sweet Tea, Science. We’ve tried to keep up with people via Twitter (Mer’s, Rach’s, and the STS accounts) and Instagram (again we all have one!) but we started feeling that blogging itch once more, so we’re back. We wanted to start with updates on our academic and personal lives, because this blog is about the science journeys of two actual living people. We’ve had some highs and lows. Some heart-breaking tragedies and some magical love-filled unions.

Summer 2017

This time last year I was enjoying the perks of summer in Colorado while exploring the in’s and out’s of working in an industry setting. I’ve had many summer adventures/internships/travels, but any work I’ve done has been 100% within the realm of academia. However, via a connection made through my advisor at the big statistics conference (Joint Statistical Meeting or JSM), I landed an internship at an environmental consulting agency. The further along I get in my studies the more certain I am I’d like to explore career options outside of academia; so this was an amazing opportunity.  

I worked with Neptune & Co., a small but growing environmental consulting company focusing on environmental decision making though quality assurance, data science, and risk assessment. As an intern, I helped the other statisticians working on a project modelling the future (millions of years future!) risks and impacts of nuclear waste storage around the US. I loved being able to learn about an important issue from experts in various fields while applying what I’ve been learning over the past few years in my PhD studies.

We focused on the biotic impact portion of the models and worked to use what precious few data are available to create some distributions for variable such as: plant root shape,root depth, burrow depths, etc. All of these factors can potentially bring up buried contaminants if the burrows or roots venture too deep. It’s important to represent these as distributions (e.g. a Normal distribution LINK) rather than a point estimate (e.g. a mean or median) because it allows for more representation of uncertainty in the model.

Also we did lots of hiking and took adorable photos!IMG_7278.jpg Continue reading “Catching Up with STS – Meridith Edition”

Carving Out Time: #WinterWishlist Edition

Finals. To anyone still in the thick of it, YOU’VE GOT THIS GO GO GO. But, to my fellow survivors on the other side of things:

tired

I had to push past a flooded apartment, screaming baby next door while studying, and being locked out of my apartment (and away from my computer charger when I had a report due), but it’s over and I’m still alive. I know a lot of us still have other responsibilities and likely a stack of homework/exams to grade, but let’s promise ourselves right here, right now that we are going to Take A Break. For me, the last few weeks have been nonstop with projects and finals and I barely remember what it’s like to have a moment to just breathe. But, it’s so very important to carve out time for yourself because if not, everything else will take over. I am looking forward to using this break to regain some sanity and motivation going into the new year. I hereby promise to spend a good portion of my winter break treating myself to some Real Life goodies.

I understand that our collective brains are sufficiently fried so we’ve got a lovely list post for everyone.  Rachel and I have compiled our happiest of Real Life things to do during the break. I barely know where to start! We would also LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to hear about your Winter Wishlists! Leave suggestions in the comments or tag us in your own post. You can keep an eye on our Instagram and Tumblr to get peeks of our #WinterWishlist fun. Continue reading “Carving Out Time: #WinterWishlist Edition”