Author: Emily Dolson

The Setup vs. Research Trade-off

By Emily Dolson on July 14, 2015 in Productivity / 0 Comments
The Setup vs. Research Trade-off

The start of summer also can often mean it’s the start of working on new projects and teaching new skills to undergraduate students. On the one hand, you want to teach students the best practices for various tasks. On the other hand, using all of the most appropriate libraries can incur a pretty hefty cost in the amount of time it takes to get up and running. Recently, I was talking an undergrad through the basics of data analysis. The data analysis for this project shouldn’t be too complicated, but I felt like it would be irresponsible not introduce him to numpy, scipy, and pandas. However, we were having some issues getting all of these libraries to play nicely with said undergrad’s current Windows set-up. On the one hand, since he has been thinking for a […]

Sturgeon Quest: Why Exploratory Hypotheses Rock

By Emily Dolson on July 7, 2015 in Productivity / 0 Comments
Sturgeon Quest: Why Exploratory Hypotheses Rock

The summer after I finished high school, I took a trip to the Pacific Northwest with my mom, aunt, and cousin. Our goal? To find a statue of William Clark (of Lewis and Clark) with a sturgeon. Along the way, we got to experience local culture, see the beautiful area, and have an all around great time. Which was, of course, our real goal. The sturgeon statue was just an excuse to look around, something to force us to actually engage with the area. Sometimes a hypothesis is the same way.

Scientific Conferences Doing Gender Inclusivity Right – Part 1: Anti-Harassment Policies

By Emily Dolson on June 23, 2015 in Information / 1 Comment
Scientific Conferences Doing Gender Inclusivity Right – Part 1: Anti-Harassment Policies

We spend a lot of time talking about problems with gender inclusivity at scientific conferences, and rightly so – things are unlikely to change if we don’t call attention to the problems. But it’s also important to recognize conferences that are doing a good job! So, I’d like to take this opportunity to do that. For the sake of this series of posts, I’m just going to focus on gender inclusivity, although obviously inclusivity towards all groups is also important. There are two easily measurable elements of  gender inclusivity: anti-harassment policies and speaker balance (if people have other ideas, I’d love to hear them!). Part one of this blog post series will deal with anti-harassment policies, while part two will deal with speaker balance. A third part may be forthcoming if I get enough ideas for alternative ways of judging […]

3 Things I Learned from Software Carpentry Instructor Training

By Emily Dolson on June 9, 2015 in Information / 1 Comment
3 Things I Learned from Software Carpentry Instructor Training

Recently, I and two other members of the Devolab had the opportunity to participate in an instructor training workshop for Software Carpentry and Data Carpentry. Software Carpentry is an organization that runs workshops aimed at helping scientists who can program a little improve their programming, while Data Carpentry is aimed at getting scientists with little to no programming experience started with data analysis beyond a spreadsheet. These workshops (including the instructor training) use an evidence-based, open-source teaching style that really appeals to me. Every time a pedagogical approach was mentioned, citations were provided to back it up. All of the lessons are maintained in github repositories, which everyone is encouraged to submit pull requests to (doing so is even a requirement for becoming an instructor!).

7 Under-Appreciated Pieces of Software for Doing Science Efficiently

By Emily Dolson on March 17, 2015 in Productivity / 0 Comments
7 Under-Appreciated Pieces of Software for Doing Science Efficiently

“Under-appreciated” is definitely hard to quantify. However, these tools dramatically simplify my day-to-day workflow, and most people I talk to have only heard of them from me. So, my goal with this post is to introduce people to some useful programs they might not have heard of before. Since I use Linux Mint as my primary operating system, all of these programs are Linux-compatible. Most of them are also compatible with other operating systems.