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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2018 Reflections, Resolutions, and Round-Up

Wheee 2019.  2018 has been a good year for this blog!  Over the summer, Meridith took the initiative and got us posting again.  And we are so glad we did!  This year, we shared a lot of ourselves with you all.  Thank you for visiting with us and this space, and allowing us to share our experiences with you. 

We are kicking off 2019 like we do each year, with our college besties!  This year, we are celebrating in Savannah, GA listening to Rachel nerd out about all the marshes near our AirBnB.  Starting off the year with one another always serves to recharge our batteries for work and our other creative projects, like Sweet Tea, Science.  We have big plans for 2019!  We can’t wait to take you all along with us on this ride! 

Continue reading “2018 Reflections, Resolutions, and Round-Up”

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”