Author: Emily Dolson

An Academic Christmas Carol: Part 2

By Emily Dolson on December 24, 2014 in Humor, Work/Life Balance / 6 Comments

Missed the beginning? See Part 1 here. Part 2 Scrooge sat alone in his house, sipping some tea, when a knock came on the door. Opening it, he found none other than his former collaborator, Jacob Marley, as if resurrected from retirement. He looked tired, as if he were carrying a heavy weight. “What are you doing here?” Scrooge asked, letting him in and offering him a seat at his table. “Scrooge. I cannot stay long. But I have come to warn you. Every scientist should walk abroad among his fellow humans and travel far and wide; and if that scientist does not go forth while in the academy, they are condemned to do so after retirement – and witness what they cannot share, but might have shared and turned to happiness! Oh woe is me. […]

An Academic Christmas Carol: Part 1

By Emily Dolson on December 23, 2014 in Humor, Work/Life Balance / 15 Comments

Recently, I saw a friend’s production of A Christmas Carol. It’s been many years since I last saw the play (and then only the Muppet version!), and a theme jumped out at me that I hadn’t noticed as a child: It’s about work/life balance! Don’t you see it??? No? My boyfriend didn’t either, so I guess I need to prove it. Below, I present “An Academic Christmas Carol.” The original dialog was often so appropriate that I’ve left a lot of it the way it originally appeared (in the now-standard Ferrians and Chapman adaptation), instead changing the context around it to be about academia and open science. Note: This post is broken into seven parts that will appear throughout this week. Enjoy!

Building an Inclusive Departmental Community {Paper Summary}

By Emily Dolson on December 16, 2014 in Review / 0 Comments

I recently came across a cool paper by Newhall et al (2014) summarizing the (highly successful) efforts of the Swarthmore College Computer Science department to build an inclusive departmental community. Full disclosure: I attended Swarthmore for undergrad, majored in CS, took classes from all of the authors on this paper, worked as a student mentor, and was pulled into the field of computer science as a direct result of the efforts described in this paper. I am not remotely objective. But that’s what the data in the paper are for. At the crux of the Swarthmore CS department’s plan was the student mentor program. Student mentors (colloquially referred to as ninjas) are students selected to provide academic support to students in introductory CS classes. They run multiple evening help sessions each week for their assigned class, ensuring […]

Finding Your Perfect Interdisciplinary Graduate Program

By Emily Dolson on December 2, 2014 in Graduate School / 1 Comment

Finding the right graduate program is normally a bit of a challenge. However, this challenge can be magnified if you’re looking to go into a field outside of clearly defined disciplinary lines. You may be sure that there are people studying what you’re interested in, but figuring out who they are and what words they’re using to describe their research is often difficult. During the beginning of my senior year of college, I almost gave up on trying to find a place where I could study the combination of things that I wanted to. It felt like I was just pouring in more and more effort without getting any results. Obviously, I ultimately succeeded – the Ofria Lab is a pretty darn good fit for my interests – but only via a combination of brute force […]