Science Book Club: State of Wonder

We are WAY overdue for our  fourth installment of the STS Science Book Club! This time, it’s a novel with not one but TWO women scientists. Perfect for reading on those sunny but COLD days. Don’t forget your warm beverage of choice. You can check out the other books we have reviewed here!

Part of living that sweet, sweet post-comps life has been the return of leisure reading. I hadn’t made any reading goals the last few years because, honestly, I couldn’t handle the extra ‘work’ and often opted for a solid Netflix session instead. Now that my days are free from classes and teaching (this year only), I’ve brought reading back as part of my routine.

The Kindle and Audiobook apps on my phoneor tablet are my go-to for finding new books to read, but I do adore a good (re)gifted book that comes with a friend’s recommendation. I received State of Wonder as birthday present from Rachel, and it was great to read in warm, sunny GA. Rachel was recommended this book from another lady scientist, National Geographic Young Explorer (and also her badass labmate), Jordan!

The author, Ann Patchett, has penned several other novels and a children’s book. She often writes about relationships between women with all of the humanity and tragedy life brings. You can check out all her titles at her Goodread’s page (Editor’s Note: Find us on Goodreads if you want to see all the science, YA, and fantasy titles we are reading).The Magician’s Assistant and The Patron Saint of Liars are both available on Kindle Unlimited ($10/month) and I will definitely be checking them out.

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Carving Out Time: Spring Semester

Academic “spring” may begin at the start of the semester in January, but March is always an exciting time as true spring is just around the corner (spring equinox, holla). This period of time can get very busy for graduate students. It’s tempting to get ALL THE THINGS done before summer hits: comprehensive exams, getting out that manuscript, and that other manuscript, securing summer field work or internships, and a whole slew of other goals. Keeping track of everything we hope to get done means a litany of lists. Both of us love to make lists, lists for groceries, packing, what needs to be done around the house, around the office, lists of code to run when it finally works, lists of things that could be wrong with our R code, all the lists. One of our favorite lists has got to be the List of Fun Way to Relax After Finishing a Thing. It’s very tempting to put off a lot of things while you’re hyper focused on an academic goal, but we think it’s important to carve out time for at least some of the fun things along the way. We also always love hearing how others deal with the constant work-life compromise struggle and warding off burnout.

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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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