Thursday, December 9, 2010

Principal Scientist Positions AVAILABLE!

The Institute of Food & Agriculture (NIFA) is recruiting individuals to serve as the Principal Scientist of the major Institutes within the NIFA. (4 positions available!)

  • Institute of  Food Production and Sustainability
  • Institute of  Food Safety and Nutrition
  • Institute of  Bioenergy, Climate and Environment
  • Institute of Youth, Family and Community
Each Principal Scientist will provide executive scientific leadership and direction; develop strategies to confront current and future issues; promote ideas that will impact program direction; and play an integral role on the NIFA Executive Council.
Please Note: - This position can be: Permanent  (Career Senior Executive Service); Term (a competitive appointment for a period of more than one year but not more than four years); or Short-term via an Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) appointment. 
To be considered, applications MUST be received no later than 
midnight, January 31, 2011.
For more information, please contact:
Jennifer Moss
JDG Associates, Ltd.
1700 Research Boulevard
Rockville, MD 20850
(301) 340-2210

Friday, June 25, 2010

In the tunnel

I was recently informed by one of my thesis committee members that I am IN THE TUNNEL meaning that completion of the PhD is near. YES!!!!

With that said, I am writing a manuscript and considering where to pursue a postdoctoral fellowship. I am SO excited to be doing these things.... but I feel a little anxious about the next stages of my career, namely finding that postdoctoral research position.

Finding the right lab to conduct postdoctoral research is extremely crucial to the advancement of my career. Everything must be considered, including (in no particular order of importance because it's all important):

  • Research focus (because whatever I choose to study at this stage will define my career, right?)
  • Geographical location (where do I want to spend the next 5+ years of my life?)
  • Mentoring capabilities...What type of mentoring style (hands-on or hands-off) does the principal investigator have?
  • What are the social dynamics of the lab?
  • What type of grants/funding does the PI have?
  • How successful were past trainees of the potential PI? (where and how often did they publish, what kind of position did they obtain after leaving?)
  • Big lab or small lab?
  • Well-known or up-and-coming mentor?
  • What type of collaborations does the mentor have with other labs or industry?
There are always other things to consider, so did I leave anything out??

For now, I am narrowing down the labs that I am interested at a few different universities and based on the criteria specified above.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Cross-Talk Fellowship!

Here is a great opportunity to attend the CROSS-TALK meeting hosted by the University of Debrecen in Debrecen, Hungary to be held August 31 through September 4, 2010!

CROSS-TALK is an Initial Training Program, funded under the FP7 (European Commission). CROSS-TALK gathers 14 young researchers and 4 associated fellows in Europe in the field of the human microbiome metagenomics to study the health-promoting cross-talk between intestinal microbiota and Humans.

CROSS-TALK is offering fellowships to young researchers to attend this meeting and more information about the conference is available at the Cross-Talk website. Applications are welcomed until July 20, 2010. Check out the agenda for this meeting.  

More about CROSS-TALK (information gathered from the Cross-Talk website):

  • The objective is to train a new generation of young scientists, to meet the growing demand for researchers with training in host-microbe interactions and metagenomics, a new supra-disciplinary calling for competencies in microbiology, cell biology, immunology, human physiology, high throughput technologies and bioinformatics, through a personal and adapted training program.
  • CROSS-TALK has the overall scientific objective to answer key questions on the role of the host-gut microbiota cross-talk in the development and maintenance of a healthy gut and to achieve major breakthroughs in the understanding of the mechanisms underlying the dialogue between the intestinal microbiota and hosts.
  • CROSS-TALK will provide individual training through research projects and organise 3 types of group training events: 1) network meetings allowing scientific exchanges within the network and meeting between all ESRs and supervisors; 2) spring schools focused on the development of transferable skills with a strong involvement of the economic sector and meeting between the economic players and the ESRs; and 3) workshops, time to broaden scientific knowledge and talk with recognized scientists not only in the field of CROSS-TALK but also in cognate fields which represent other career perspectives for the ESRs. Their combination will lead to young researchers who can meet the need of the metagenomics discipline for new curricula and the requirements for European trans-sectorial careers.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Super Saturday! STEM Expo in New York 5/22/10

One of my passions is to get more youth interested in the sciences and thus believe that Super Saturday! in New York City on May 22, 2010 will be awesome. See flyer below for detailed information.

Super Saturday! aims to inspire the next leaders in STEM fields in upper Manhattan, particularly low-income, minority students who may not be exposed to the possibilities of STEM education and careers.  At Super Saturday! there will be hands-on activity stations to engage both children (through high school) and parents in fields of STEM.

More information about the Morningside Area Alliance and its programs can be found at

Saturday, March 13, 2010

AcademyHealth Minority Scholars Program

Just came across this opportunity from the AcademyHealth website:

"The newly established AcademyHealth Minority Scholars Program supports the cost of travel and registration for 15 scholars to attend the Annual Research Meeting (ARM), pre-ARM Methods Workshops, and the Disparities Interest Group Annual Meeting. The program also covers the cost of AcademyHealth membership. The goal of the program is to support the professional development of underrepresented minorities in the field of health services research (HSR). Students and fellows with an interest in HSR and/or disparities research are encouraged to apply.
AcademyHealth defines underrepresented minorities in the field of HSR as the following racial/ethnic groups: Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian/Alaska Native. This definition is derived from findings of a recent study conducted by Moore and McGinnis."

Sunday, February 14, 2010

African-American scientists and inventors

In honor of Black History month, below is a list of African-American scientists and inventors.  As I viewed web pages of the links below, I learned a lot and I am sure you will too! Enjoy!

Patricia Bath  Apparatus to Remove Cataracts
Bessie Blount  Self-Feeding Device for Amputees
Otis F. Boykin  Electrical Resistor and Variable Resistor
George Carruthers  Far-ultraviolet camera/spectrograph
George Washington Carver  Agricultural Innovations
David Crosthwait  Heating, Air Conditioning and Ventilation
George Crum  Potato Chip
Mark Edward Dean (and Dennis Moeller)  Industry Standard Architecture Bus
Ronald Demon  Smart Shoe
Charles Richard Drew  Blood Bank
Meredith C. Gourdine  Electrogasdynamics Systems
Joanna Hardin  CompUrest
W. Lincoln Hawkins  Chemical Additive for Telecommunications Cables
Lonnie Johnson  Super Soaker
Howard Jones  Conformal Antenna Systems
Percy Lavon Julian  Synthesis of Cortisone
Lewis H. Latimer  Carbon-filament Light Bulb
Jan Matzeliger  Shoe Lasting Machine
Elijah McCoy  Automatic Oil Cup
James McLurkin  Robot Ants
Garrett A. Morgan  Safety Hood
Lyda Newman  Synthetic-Bristled Hairbrush
Jessie T. Pope  Thermostatically Controlled Curling Iron
Norbert Rillieux  Sugar Processing Evaporator
Valerie Thomas   Illusion Transmitter
Madam C.J. Walker  Hair Care Products
Hildreth "Hal" Walker  Laser Telemetry and Targeting Systems
Cardinal Warde  Optical Information Processing Technology
Dennis W. Weatherby  Automatic Dishwasher Detergent
Rufus J. Weaver  Stair-Climbing Wheelchair
James Edward West (and Gerhard M. Sessler)  Foil Electret Microphone
Eli Whitney  Cotton Gin
Granville T. Woods  Multiplex Telegraph
Ivan Yaeger  Prosthetic Arm 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Importance of Role Models And Mentors

The article, Reaching Gender Equity in Science: The Importance of Role Models And Mentors - Science Careers - Biotech, Pharmaceutical, Faculty, Postdoc jobs on Science Careers, by Laura Bonetta is a great read. Excerpt from the article:

"The number of women embarking on science careers has been increasing steadily during the past several decades. Although women scientists continue to be underrepresented at the faculty level, many women have established rewarding and successful careers in science—thanks in part to having had role models and mentors whose paths they could follow."
Reaching Gender Equity in Science also reminds me of a post I made entitled, "Build your team: How to get mentors" it which I also urged readers to assemble a team of mentors and advisors to help you advance your career in the sciences.
Read the full article.

Singing the lab blues

I am having some difficulties with my project. I am in some kind of slump in which none of my experiments are working. I mean the simple PCR reaction is not working.  The cells are not proliferating fast enough. And on top of everything, I placed an order with the person in the lab who is responsible for ordering reagents and due to no fault of his own, the order did not go through. It turns out there was some kind of computer glitch that day and the email to place the order never was received by the company, but I found this out like two weeks after I requested the reagent to be ordered.  (And I thought that I gave myself enough cushion room for this by placing the order before I ran out of the supply I had in the lab.)  So, that experiment is on hold for at least a month because the reagent is made-to-order.  To top everything off, I am not getting any attention from my PI because I do not have any NEW data. Sigh. I need some encouraging words because right now, it is all bad.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Thank Goodness It's Friday???, Part II

In an earlier post, I described how my Friday would be hectic, to say the least. I also said that I would let you know how my Friday turned out. Well, yes, it was a whirlwind day. The lab meeting w e n t.  I did not make it to my networking event as an unexpected visitor came to our lab. But this was okay because he was an old lab-mate who stopped by to say hello and have lunch with us. Once this was over, I should have turned my focus to my presentation, B U T no... I was fussing over some old data.  Finally at about 1:30pm, I turned my attention to my presentation (which I presented once before) and began rehearsing it to myself.

3PM: SHOWTIME! As I began to speak, I felt my heart race, as it does whenever I give a talk. I mean, I know my research and what I want to say, but it's just a will of nerves hence, rapid heartbeat. (I think the nerves come in because I am wondering what the audience is thinking of me. Am I good enough? How is my data? Is my hair sticking up? Am I slouching? Am I speaking loud enough? Do they care about what I am saying? OMG is that person SLEEP?!) Then there were some technical difficulties which garnered a few laughs from the audience which was nearly half-dead from the intense interviews with professors earlier in the day. But their laughter eased my nerves.
Mid-way through the talk, I glanced at the clock and realized that I had only 2min left, since I was trying to speak slowly (I have been told that I talk too fast), so I rushed the last half.  When it was over, I knew that some of the students were actually paying attention because 3 asked me questions.

SELF ASSESSMENT I have critiques of my presentation: 1) I stumbled with words here and there. It's like I am trying to say one thing and already thinking about the next thing I want to say and what comes out my mouth is a jumbled mess of the first and second thoughts. Speaking slower will correct this issue. 2) I notice that I have the tendency to "talk to myself" while presenting. For example, I think there was a point that I said out loud, "oh no that is not right..." in reference to the order I wanted to say something. And I was on a microphone, sigh.  Although I know this presentation was not perfect, I can feel myself growing and becoming better. I am aware of some of my flaws and approach others to learn of other flaws so that I can work on correcting them.  I have another event at the end of the month. Between now and then, all I can do is practice, practice and practice so more.
Oh yes, I only managed to get a minimal amount of lab work done on Friday. So, now I am rushing my daughter to "get it together" and get dressed so that we can spend a Saturday in the lab. I know she is not happy with me about this. But it's the way it is. Maybe we will go for ice cream later. Geez, I feel like I am bribing the girl, sigh.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

History makers in the making: 10 African-Americans contribute to science

It's Black History month and I wanted to highlight the contributions of African-Americans to science. While searching for information to share with you, I found this website,, which is an excellent resource for learning about and catching up on the latest African-American-centered news. In honor of Black History month, features 100 African-Americans who are History Makers in the Making. Of these 100, 10 are making extraordinary contributions to science, including Charles Bolden, Robert Bullard, Dr. Agnes A. Day, Tony Hansberry, Lisa Jackson, Shelton Johnson, James McLurkin, Derrick Pitts, PhD., Jerome Ringo, and Beverly Wright.                                     Video featuring Tony Hansberry 
Because of my interest to get more young minorities involved in science, I was excited to learn about 15-year-old Tony Hansberry who "developed a project that showed how to reduce surgical time for hysterectomies, and has "people in his hometown of Jacksonville, Florida are calling him the 'next Charles Drew'." Full article.

More about TheGrio: is the first video-centric news community site devoted to providing African Americans with stories and perspectives that appeal to them but are underrepresented in existing national news outlets. TheGrio features aggregated and original video packages, news articles, and blogs on topics from breaking news, politics, health, business, and entertainment, which concern its niche audience.  

Thank Goodness It's Friday???

Ah, tomorrow is Friday. I should be excited that it is the last day of the week and the weekend is almost here. Uh, no.  My Friday is crammed. I have to give the lab meeting tomorrow at 9am. (And yes, after making some easy-to-fix cloning mistakes, I did get the data I mentioned in an earlier post.) I committed to attending a networking event at noon. I jumped at the opportunity to give a short talk about my research to recruits for my graduate program at 3pm.  I will play school bus and shuttle my daughter from her elementary school to her ballet school before 4pm and then pick her up by 5:30pm. Somewhere in all this chaos, I will get a few experiments done. Oh yeah, I will eat at some point. This is my life, my life as a single parent pursuing a PhD. No complaints, just feeling a wee bit stressed. And oh yeah, tomorrow night will be a Papa John's night! I will let you know how things go.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

STEM careers, how do we appeal to our youth?

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) careers are failing to attract today's youth.  Why? This concern is briefly explored in the January 27, 2010 Herman Trend Alert, STEM Grads and Competitiveness, which says that,

"our youth (seem) to revere the accomplishments of sports celebrities and rock stars, while our scientific geniuses (go) virtually unrecognized. More recently, United States President Barack Obama at his Whitehouse summit for youth echoed Kamen's words, himself promoting the study of the STEM topics as a matter of competitiveness." 
Competitiveness, eh?  So STEM careers have to compete for the admiration of our youth against Kobe and Beyoncé??  Oh boy, that is a tough battle.  So, I prose two questions:
1. To STEM professionals, what can we do to get our young people interested in STEM careers?
2. To young people, what can STEM professionals do to get you interested in STEM careers?
I am going to take a stab at Question #1 myself. I know from personal experience that young people do not exactly view STEM careers as "cool," UNTIL they learn more about what STEM professionals do either through presentations or hands-on activities. So, I believe that exposure is the key.  Unfortunately, young women and minorities are less likely to be exposed to STEM careers.  I was not exposed to careers in STEM until I was a junior in high school through an outreach program that allowed me to shadow a clinical lab researcher at a local hospital.  Until that experience, I did not know any scientists or what their jobs entailed.  This experience greatly influenced my current career path as a biomedical researcher.  From experiences like this Bottom line: Exposure MUST happen sooner.

Want to learn about STEM careers? Then check out these links below!

Browse Occupations Find details like wages, education requirements, and job demand. Create an Occupation Profile by selecting “Explore Careers” and then “Browse” under “Occupations.” 
O*NET’s STEM Occupations View the full list of STEM occupations. Select a job title to learn more.  
Career Voyages Explore career options and education requirements in emerging, high-growth industries and in-demand occupations. 
What Do You Like? Learn how your interests and favorite school subjects match careers. This Web site can help you make informed decisions about careers, education, and training.
Links courtesy of CareerOneStop.

2010 Science Symposium Jan 29-30 to discuss K-12 STEM-related education!


Science educators and thought leaders from across the country will examine the importance of technology in the classroom with focus on national STEM initiative and 21st-century skill-building

NEW YORK, January 25, 2010McGraw-Hill Education’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Learning Solutions Center is bringing together a group of the nation’s top science educators January 29-30, 2010 at the University of Michigan-Dearborn for a two-day symposium to address some of the most important issues in K-12 science education including the power of technology in the classroom and how school districts can incorporate new and emerging technologies in their instruction. These issues, which are at the forefront of the Obama administration’s Educate to Innovate STEM initiative, are part of McGraw-Hill Education’s larger efforts to help increase students’ interest and achievement in science and math, provide them with digital learning solutions and enhance their ability to compete in today’s global economy.

The event, “2010 Science Symposium,” will convene science educators and curriculum leaders from school districts across the country along with university professors and industry thought leaders to discuss issues including:

  • The implications of technology on classroom instruction
  • Transforming classroom instruction with interactive whiteboards and other digital tools
  • Using student polling technologies to support data-driven decision making
  • Evaluating Web-based science content
  • Utilizing digital imaging in the science classroom
Featured guest speakers include, among others, Dr. Richard H. Moyer, author and professor of science education and natural sciences at the University of Michigan, who will present “The Technology of the Ball Point Pen” and Dr. JoAnne Vasquez, a member of the National Science Board and past president of the National Science Teachers Association, who will present “A View from the Top – A National Perspective on Technology and Science Instruction.”

“Today’s teachers are embracing digital tools for the effective delivery of science instruction and are seeing the benefits these technologies generate by making classes more engaging, difficult concepts easier to comprehend and exposing students to worlds beyond their classrooms,” said Michael Comer, national marketing manager in the McGraw-Hill School Education Group specializing in science education. “The symposium will assemble our nation’s science education leaders for an exchange of rich ideas where the participants can weigh in on current technologies, discuss their effectiveness and share best practices for implementing them.”

McGraw-Hill’s symposium partners include:

  • Smart Technologies: Will demonstrate the uses of the Smart Board and will include StudentWorks/TeacherWorks/Interactive Chalkboard/Classroom Presentation Toolkit/Internet

  • Turning Point Technologies: Will provide classroom assessment opportunities with interactive response pads (“clickers”) and will include Interactive Chalkboard/Classroom Presentation Toolkit/Test Generator

  • Science Kit: Will provide hands-on demonstrations of Digital Imaging Devices (digital microscopes) and will use activities from K-12 Science programs (life, earth and physical science examples)

  • Vernier Software: Will provide hands-on demonstrations on the use of Probeware and Data Collection Devices and will include activities from K-12 Science programs (life, earth and physical science examples)

  • American Museum of Natural History: Will discuss the variety and approach to online Professional Development Courses. They will model course format and offerings as related to the elementary, middle school and high school markets

  • National Science Digital Library: Will demonstrate their collection of web-based science resources for teachers as related to the elementary, middle school and high school markets
Held at the University of Michigan at Dearborn, minutes away from Detroit, the symposium will honor the tradition of innovation and technological advancement that characterizes the university and metro Detroit area.
Editor’s Notes: The symposium is open to news media. McGraw-Hill Education’s Art Block, STEM senior vice president, and Michael Comer, longtime science educator, as well as guest speakers are available for interviews to discuss the symposium and larger trends in science education. Content from the symposium can be made available to news media upon request.

About the McGraw-Hill STEM Learning Solutions Center
The McGraw-Hill Education STEM Learning Solutions Center helps students master essential math skills, develop competence with technology, understand science and math concepts, and learn critical thinking and analysis. McGraw-Hill’s PreK-12 programs and digital platforms prepare students for jobs in today’s global economy.

About McGraw-Hill Education
McGraw-Hill Education, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP), is a leading global provider of print and digital instructional, assessment and reference solutions that empower professionals and students of all ages. McGraw-Hill Education has offices in 33 countries and publishes in more than 65 languages. Additional information is available at

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Empowering Women in Science and Engineering (EWISE) video

Great video produced by Cornell University discussing how featured panelists attain work-life balance, including how they incorporate children into their overall career goals. Watch and get some great info! Note: each video is about 1 hour in length.

Empowering Women in Science and Engineering (EWISE) Part 1

Empowering Women in Science and Engineering (EWISE) Part 2

Monday, January 25, 2010

Increasing minorities in STEM faculty positions

What is being done to increase the numbers of underrepresented minorities, including African Americans, Alaskan Natives, Native Americans, HIspanic Americans, and Native Pacific Islanders, in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) faculty positions? Well, based on the article, From Grad School to a Job: How to Get Underrepresented Minorities into the S&T Workforce by Molly McElroy, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) recently hosted a conference on December 10-11, 2009 to discuss this issue and to, as the article says, "explore new ideas for achieving the goal."  These ideas included combining the minority-targeted programs sponsored by AGEP (Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate) so that more minorities can interact with each other and "widen mentoring possibilities." The article goes on to explore the underlying reasons for less minorities in faculty positions, which includes the time it takes to achieve a faculty position, which often "can deter students and encourage them to seek better-paying industry positions." To read the complete article, click here.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Attend the SACNAS 2010 conference with a travel scholarship for minorities!

I was looking for opportunities to attend a conference this year and found this video that showcases the goals of SACNAS (Society for Advancing Hispanics/Chicanos and Native American in Science) as an organization in general and what can be expected from attending the SACNAS National Conference, which will be held September 30- October 3, 2010 in Anaheim, CA.  If you are interested in attending the conference, apply for a SACNAS Travel Scholarship before April 29, 2010, which will cover your hotel and roundtrip airfare to/from Anaheim.  Both undergraduate and graduate students are eligible.  Also, if you are not of Hispanic/Chicano or Native American heritage, do not be discouraged to apply for the travel scholarship! SACNAS supports all minority scientists, which is made evident on their website:

"SACNAS serves, supports, and is made up of researchers, students, educators, and administrators at all levels of education and career stage from diverse ethnic, racial, gender, cultural, and sexual orientation backgrounds."
For more details, visit the SACNAS website!

Google's JourKnol, an alternative for publishing in science academia

How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper (How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper (Day))The phrase "publish or perish" makes me shudder.  In my field, you can be the hardest worker, conduct the most exciting research, but if you do not publish your findings in a high impact journal, then it is as if you did not accomplish anything.  As I near completion of my PhD studies, "publish or perish" resounds in my ears every single day.  I know that the future of my career (new positions, ability to get funding, etc.) will depend on which scientific peer-reviewed journal my four plus years of research gets published in.  In about a month, my manuscript will be written and submitted to a journal.  If I am extremely lucky, then it will be accepted and published.  The likelihood of this happening is slim and the next best case scenario is that reviewers may request additional experiments prior to publication.  The worst that can happen is that the manuscript is rejected and I may have to re-submit my manuscript to a different journal for publication.  And so this is the process that we researchers go through to simply share our research with others.  Well, actually we go through this process so that we will have the most crucial evidence of our worth as researchers, our publication(s)... in hopefully a top-tier journal, of course. This is just how it works, right? 

Well, maybe not for long because I just came across this product that Google offers called JourKnol, which may one day become an alternative to the traditional publishing forum utilized in academia. JourKnol is different because as the article JourKnol challenges the medical journals' stronghold states,

"the author simply creates the content, loads it in, and clicks “Publish” – no peer review, no rejection, no delay, and no relinquishing copyright. And, from the moment they publish their Knol, authors...could upload the information and publish it and still get peer-reviewed. 
But how would publishing in JourKnol affect your career?? Will the scientific community value your research if it is published in JourKnol? The article, JourKnol challenges the medical journals' stronghold, addresses this concern by saying that the,
"traditional journals’ enviable position as the sole arbiters of the quality and impact of an author’s work may be challenged by web-derived measures of the impact of individual “articles,” such as number of hits, number of links, and reader ratings and comments.... The point is this: peer review, that most sacred of academic rituals, might ultimately be replaced by real-time rankings by experts"
To read the complete article, click here.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Time for the lab report

Before I could enjoy my morning coffee I had to throw on some sweats, dress my daughter and dart into the lab to setup an experiment that will hopefully support one of my many hypotheses.  I am in a time crunch because I really want to generate (good) data before I have to give lab meeting in two weeks.  What does "give lab meeting" mean? Well, every week my thesis lab gathers together to hold a lab meeting.  During this lab meeting, one member of the lab will present his/her data to the rest of the lab members, including our PI (Principle Investigator aka "the boss.") The presentation is typically in the form of PowerPoint slides and lasts for about one hour.  During the presentation, the presenter shares the rationale, methods and results for his/her recent experiments. If s/he encountered any problems with the experiment, we usually try to aid the presenter by suggesting alternative protocols, reagents, etc.  Sometimes the presenter will reveal data that was unanticipated, which is always interesting!  The lab meeting will conclude with a discussion on future goals that the presenter will hope to accomplish by the time s/he is scheduled to present again.  In our lab, I present about once a month, which is a reasonable amount of time to generate new data. I have a few experiments in progress and in about a week and a half, I will know if I will be going into the lab meeting with great data or so-so data. Until then, I am keeping my fingers crossed!

Salami recall due to salmonella concerns

Oh boy, apparently something went wrong at the Daniele Inc. plant in Rhode Island because they have issued a multistate recall of their pepper-covered salame due to salmonella concerns. View complete recall information here. Pass on the word and help others NOT to get sick!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Another earthquake hits Haiti

According to the US Geological Services, another powerful earthquake has hit Haiti near Port-au-Prince, about 50min ago with a 6.1 magnitude on the Richter scale. Please visit either Wyclef Jeans's charity Yele Haiti or the Red Cross to make a donation to help the earthquake victims.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Scholarships for women and minorities

For the most updated funding opportunities, be sure to click on "fellowships and scholarships" in the label cloud ----->
 If you would like to share a funding opportunity, please send an email to Minority.Scientist(at) and include the funding organization and a link to the website where the information can be located. Thanks!   
More  funding opportunities
 American Physiological Society:
American Psychological Association Fellowships in the Neurosciences
American Society for Microbiology Graduate Research Fellowship

If you are a PhD student who has already selected a thesis laboratory and you belong to an underrepresented group, your thesis adviser may be able to apply for a research supplement. For more info, visit the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Supplements (GRS) to Current ENG Awards to Broaden Participation (nsf 09-045)

    Sunday, January 17, 2010

    Kid science

    I woke up this morning and found my eight-year-old daughter watching this cool science show for kids called DragonflyTV on the PBS channel.

    DragonflyTV is hosted by teenagers Mariko and Michael and showcases kids, who were about 10 to 17 years old, performing scientific investigations in their local surroundings. As I watched the show, I became so impressed by the scientific questions these kids posed, the approach they devised to test their hypotheses, and how they presented their data.  In this episode, Malformed Frogs, Susie and Katie continued to impress me as they sought out to determine why the frogs in their local pond were displaying malformed

    Friday, January 15, 2010

    Scientific research conferences for minorities

    Within the last six months, I had the opportunity to attend three different scientific conferences to present my research. When first approached about attending these meetings, I was immediately overjoyed at the thought of traveling, but then I suddenly became nervous of what others would think of my work. I am generally a shy person and get even more so at the thought of sharing my research with colleagues more senior than myself. To overcome my shyness, I prepared my research poster and practiced what I would say at the conference. Then, I briefly scanned the NCBI Pubmed website for new and relevant publications to be sure I was current on happenings in my field of research.

    The American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) conference I attended offered a poster presentation session for minority students to showcase their research aside from the general poster session of the conference. (I would like to note that I was able to attend this conference virtually for free due to a travel grant issued by the (ASCB Minorities Affairs Committee (MAC).) Once at the poster session, I hung my poster and marveled at the number of minority scientists at all levels in their careers in attendance at the conference. Now is the time to admit that I was still nervous to present at this conference. Why? Because I brought my five-year-old daughter with me. I am a single parent and generally where I go, my daughter goes. So, there we were, my daughter and I, at a national research conference and it was time to present my poster.

    As I presented to judges and fellow students, post-docs, faulty, etc., I realized how truly beneficial it is to my career to share my research with other scientists. First and foremost, you verbally communicate your research ideas with other scientists from all backgrounds. Presenting to those who are not intimately familiar with your topic forced me to learn how to explain my work for the masses. It was also a time for me to be critical of my communication skills. So, you may wonder how it worked out with my daughter there during the poster presentation. Well, she asked questions about the poster just as my audience! I did not expect that.

    Conferences to check out!
    About travel grants and awards
    • Who can receive an award? This depends on the conference. Some conferences offer awards to undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs, and faulty members.
    • How to apply for an award? Most conferences have an application process which includes submitting an abstract of your research for review.
    • How much is the award? The travel grants typically range from $500-1500 and may cover conference registration fees, travel, lodging, and dining expenses.
    • When will I receive the award? Most awards are received either at the conference or after the conference. Thus, be prepared to pay for conference-related expenses. SAVE ALL RECEIPTS.
    If a conference you are interested in does not offer a travel award, it may offer discounts on airfare, rental cars and/or hotels! So, check with the conference's hosting organization to learn how you can reduce conference costs.  Also, seek out funding mechanisms from your home college, which often have monies set aside for conference expenses. If you don't ask, you will not know what is possible.

    Wednesday, January 13, 2010

    A must have book for young scientists

    A fellow graduate student shared a book with me that I believe is invaluable to young research scientists.  At the bench, a laboratory navigator by Kathy Barker introduces readers to the laboratory environment, complete with discussions ranging from how labs are generally organized to laboratory safety and etiquette.

    At the bench also describes how to properly setup experiments, carefully maintain your laboratory notebook and how to perform some important techniques commonly used in biological research.  In my opinion, two of the key topics in this book are the chapters that detail how you should present yourself and your data to other people.

    I wish I had this book earlier in my career.  At the bench is written in an easy-to-read and understand manner such that it can be utilized by scientists as young as those that are in high school.  However, even as an advanced graduate student, I find the material in At the bench extremely useful.  The material is also easily accessible as this hard cover book is spiral bound so that when I am at the bench, I can quickly flip through pages for quick reference.  This book typically costs approximately $45.00, but consider it an investment in your career. You may even find it less expensive if you purchase a used copy.  Pass on the information because it is a great resource!

    Monday, January 11, 2010

    Employment in the sciences: degrees earn top dollar!

    Do you know which college degrees lead to the best paying salaries?  You will be pleasantly surprised to learn that people who major in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)- related disciplines go on in their careers to earn top dollar!  To learn more about which undergraduate science majors yield the highest salaries, read the 2009 Payscale Salary Report. Happy researching!

    Welcome to Minority Scientist

    I'm Minority Scientist and I started this blog to
    1) share useful information to assist minorities, including women and underrepresented peoples, navigate a career in scientific research and
    2) explore the world of science through the eyes of someone who
    pursued a PhD in the biomedical sciences as a single parent.

    In the spirit of sharing, if you find info here useful for you or someone you know... pass it on! If you would like to share information, send an email to
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