Crash Course On Socializing At A Scientific Conference Dinner


Great tips I hope to use when I attend academic conferences in the future to present my research!

Originally posted on The Thesis Whisperer:

This post is by Julio Peironcely, founder and editor of the Next Scientist blog. Julio is a PhD student in Metabolomics and Metabolite Identification at Leiden University, The Netherlands and has been blogging and using social media for several years, both for fun and for professional purposes.

This post developed out of a conversation on Twitter about the difficulties of socialising at academic conferences, particularly at the dinner.  I was thrilled when Julio sent me this post which is a comprehensive set of advice which anyone, scientist or not, can benefit from. Take it away Julio!

conference dinnerYou didn’t meet anybody new at the last scientific conference.

You paid high registration fees, travelled to the other side of the world, listened to boring talks, nobody came to your poster.

At least you met interesting people at the conference dinner, didn’t you?

Well, it’s kind of hard when you are…

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Warning: Health Risk for College Professors

So, this week a couple of my professors were discussing chronic back pain. They said this was a common ailment faced by academics because of the constant sitting/writing/reading. One of them now has a desk that allows him to stand up all the time because sitting down hurts too much.

I was surprised to learn this, and honestly had not considered physical health risks associated with being an academic. Some of the risks associated with office work seem easily applicable for academics:

1.) Carpal Tunnel – Writing constant articles, books, book chapters, conference presentation reports, emails, etc.

2.) Lower Back Pain – Sitting while writing, reading, and grading.

3.) Bacteria on the Desk – Many professors probably clean their desk, um… never?

4.) Other Joint Problems – Sitting constantly.

5.) Eyestrain – Reading and grading tests, reading student essays/papers, entering grades into a spreadsheet, reading journal articles and books, writing journal articles and book. I actually experienced this my first term in grad school because I had to read between 400 to 600 pages a week for my classes, not including grading.

6.) Stressful Situations – Decreased college funding, students trying to negotiate for a higher grade, low professor salaries for the hours actually worked, trying to get tenure, and larger class sizes (lecturing to 400 or more students), etc.

In addition, many professors (and students working on their dissertations), can have stretches of work weeks where they spend more than 8 hours a day working. Long work days have been linked with heart disease because of the stress and poor diets.

I am training for a marathon, so that helps somewhat. And my next term I only have one class which will free up time to work on my masters paper. But my lunchtime meals could use improvement for health reasons. So, what health risks are associated with your job? Are you even aware of health risks associated with your job?

Obama Won – Now What about Education?

I did not cheer or dance when Barack Obama was announced as the winner last night. I was not overly thrilled with Mitt Romney or Obama.

Colleges still face large tuition fees and students graduating with larger and larger student loans. I feel like this trend is similar to the high gas prices faced across the country. When gas prices started to go up, people thought maybe it was just a phase and that prices were going to come back down. Now… I do not hear anyone talking about gas prices coming back down. Unfortunately, I feel this is the same thing for colleges and college books.

There are some universities offering large online classes for free, but these classes are currently not for credit. I am not sure what that means for the future of education. Will colleges shift to free online degrees? I am not against online courses… but it is much easier to cheat online. That is the only negative thing I can really say about online courses. That, and you know… interacting with people.

I want college tuition rates to come down. I want student loans to become a thing of the past because students no longer need to borrow to attain a college education. However… I have not seen anything from either major political party which positively impacts the education issue. What do you think should be done to control or eliminate college tuition rates? It is really helping poor people to graduate with college loan debt and no job? Is it helping poor people to graduate with college loan debt but get a job that cannot pay off their student loan debt?

I wish the United States had more than two main political parties. I saw parts of me in the Republican Party, and parts of me in the Democratic Party… and parts of me in the Green Party. I want the government to spend less. I want better environmental controls for factories. I want less jobs being sent overseas. And I want better education for grades kindergarten through college.

We need change we can believe in… not smoke and mirrors that promise a new direction yet stays on the same path.

Originally posted on Ideas:

Each school day, millions of students move in unison from classroom to classroom where they listen to 50- to 90-minute lectures. Despite there being anywhere from 20 to 300 humans in the room, there is little actual interaction. This model of education is so commonplace that we have accepted it as a given. For centuries, it has been the most economical way to “educate” a large number of students. Today, however, we know about the limitations of the class lecture, so why does it remain the most common format?

(MORE:Should Teachers Be Allowed to Share Their Lesson Plans?)

In 1996, in a journal called the National Teaching & Learning Forum, two professors from Indiana University — Joan Middendorf and Alan Kalish — described how research on human attention and retention speaks against the value of long lectures. They cited a 1976 study that detailed the ebbs and flows…

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Poverty 101 = excellent read

Originally posted on In America:

Editor’s note: Donna Beegle is president and founder of Communication Across Barriers, a consulting firm that works to increase communication across poverty, race, gender and generational barriers, in part with “Poverty 101” workshops. She has a doctorate in education leadership from Portland State University.

Beegle is taking part in the CNN Dialogues event, “Today’s Other America: Living in Poverty,”at 7 p.m. tonight at the Rialto Center for the Arts in Atlanta.

By Donna Beegle, CNN

(CNN) — My dream is that a person will not be able to graduate from college without taking a Poverty 101 course. Poverty hurts all humanity and it’s the responsibility of everyone to bond together to eradicate it. Our ignorance about poverty perpetuates it and divides us as a nation.

I didn’t always know this. I was born into generational poverty; for many decades, most of my family members were uneducated, unskilled…

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