Two Simple Recipes for Women in Science Events

Naomi Havron is a postdoc at the Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et Psycholinguistique at Ecole Normale Supérieure.

She was recently interviewed for the departmental newsletter on her experiences as a woman and mother in science, and here’s a statement we found particularly on point:

Being a woman in science became difficult once I was a mom. Before, I believed that any inequality could be surmounted by working my ass off. But once I was a mom, I had to leave work early for my children. And I was judged differently from men. If it was me that was leaving early, that was judged as non-professional and proof I wasn’t invested enough in research. If it was a male colleague that was leaving for his children, he was complimented as being a devoted parent. (paraphrased and translated, see original French version here).

Naomi has been involved in organizing two amazing women-in-science events at our department recently, and we’re very excited she’s sharing her experiences and materials here with us.

Continue reading Two Simple Recipes for Women in Science Events

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Networking Part 2: Initiating conversation in person

In our last post, Christina talked about academic networking on social media, specifically Twitter. There’s a reason that was her post, not mine: Even though I’ve been following most of her advice and this has improved my Twitter experience, I still feel awkward and out of place on Twitter, and I can’t get myself to create an account under my own name (instead, I’m tweeting as @cogtalestweet).

So today, I’m talking about my cup of tea: Live, in person networking. Specifically, the focus is on how to initiate conversation.

Continue reading Networking Part 2: Initiating conversation in person

How to use Twitter for networking in academia

Within the span of two months, I’ve been asked to give essentially the same talk three times. The topic: how to network on Twitter (and other social media). How did this happen? Well, first a group of Parisian post docs organized a day-long workshop and apparently my tweeting is good enough to warrant inviting me back to my former home. Because I was invited, I took some care to prepare, and I think I did a decent job – decent enough, at least, to get some audience members to tweet about it and putting into practice what I just told them. Continue reading How to use Twitter for networking in academia

When authorship sails away – Stories of the intricacies of academic accreditation

Papers are the currency in academia, they seem to determine our whole career. So, naturally, we try to publish as much as we can, while at the same time trying to produce good science. But sometimes authorship can become tricky, with hard decisions and disappointment. We share author-hard-ship stories here that cover a range of experiences, from being undeservedly excluded over the impression of getting too much credit to our own case that we consider ambiguous to this day.* All stories illustrate one key advice: Talk about authorship as early as possible in a project. This includes defining who is responsible for what, and discussing who is the lead of this project.**
Continue reading When authorship sails away – Stories of the intricacies of academic accreditation

How to manage your supervisor

This week’s academic crisis line on how to manage supervisors.
#1 Talk open about expectations, communication, and concerns.
#2 Their job is to help you get independent.
#3 Always be proactive and prepared.

Franziska Hartung, PhD

Today I talked about the relationship with your supervisor. The role of your supervisor is to provide you with an environment suitable to develop your academic skills in order to become independent and to finish your thesis in a reasonable time. In turn, your supervisor expects from you commitment, involvement, and accountability. It is important to understand that your supervisor is also a person with strengths, shortcomings and an own agenda. Luckily, it is usually in your supervisors best interest if you succeed because your success is also their’s. In order to have a functional relationship with them it is crucial to build on strengths and develop strategies to deal with difficulties. You are just as responsible to nurture your relationship with your supervisor as they are. In the live session, I discussed different types of supervisors sand how to deal with them:

Most supervisors are a combination of the…

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Shared office space – a delicate ecosystem

Just a few months ago, I moved into the very first office that has only my name on it. During my whole scientific career, I shared offices of various sizes with between 1 and 7+ people. My office history ranges from the windowless undergrad thesis internship room where 6 students working on related projects and shared science and cookies over the room with a view and 2 colleagues as a PhD to the office with a server and between 0 and 3 others I occupied as post doc. During this time, I experienced many ways of sharing space: From the uncomplicated folks that tolerate your occasional cursing at the monitor to the weirdly expansion obsessed colleague who insisted that I would have more room if I just moved closer to the wall. Now, I’d like to think I know a bit about how to navigate shared office spaces, and I want to impart some bits of my wisdom and open them for discussion. Don’t hesitate to share your office mate horror stories in the comments and/or add useful tips how to improve office life!

Continue reading Shared office space – a delicate ecosystem

Shouting from the ivory tower: SciComm for beginners

This week, I am tweeting not from my own account, but from the science communication “rocur” (rotating curator) account realsci_DE, the German version of realscientists. This is the latest instance of a few experiences in talking about science and my work as a scientist to a non-expert audience, and I’ve learned a great deal from and about this in the past. So I thought I’d share a few insights that I had along the way (fun fact: there are no natural born communicators, it all needs practice).

First tell me how this helps scientists!

Continue reading Shouting from the ivory tower: SciComm for beginners

How to write effective introductory emails

Kate Von Holzen, post doc at Université Paris Descartes, explains in this guest post how this difficult and at times awkward first email can be written effectively. 

I’ve recently been giving a lot of advice to fellow academics about how to write effective emails. I’m not sure why, but this has fortunately come naturally to me throughout my career. Ineffective emails can lead to a lot of frustration, so I’d like to offer up the strategies that I use when writing emails to academics that I don’t know very well. Continue reading How to write effective introductory emails

Thank you for 1 year CogTales

A year (and a few days) ago Sho and I launched CogTales, and what a year it has been. Thanks to you all, be it as readers, guest posters, or in the comments, we’ve grown quite a bit in this short time. Posts covered research practices, personal experiences, an ongoing R course, and even a successful kickstarter campaign! Our most popular posts were actually those where we shared a personal story, be it about becoming an expeRt coder or standing up in a big room to ask the tough questions. This shows that those stories matter and are of interest, so we will continue to share the experiences and opinions of junior female researchers in cognitive science. If you would like to tell your story, just get in touch!

 To a fantastic 2017! 

Critical culture

Criticism, and how to (not) do it has been a hotly discussed topic. For example, there is a very useful three-point guide by Uri Simonsohn how to handle criticism in a civil way. If you do science, you will be criticized at some point and you will have to criticize others. After all, our whole peer review system hinges on picking out all that might be wrong. Not everyone knows how to give and handle feedback, actually, and it’s really very hard sometimes (and this is for example an integral part of science woman’s origin story). Some people might spend their whole scientific career never learning anything about being constructive, be it as recipient or criticizer. Continue reading Critical culture