Telling a good story….

– written by Axon –

Getting to the heart of things, the point, the take-home message. So much about communicating science involves telling a good story, condensing things to digestible bits of information that everyone can agree on and then BAM! throwing the crowd for a loop with something new and exciting. Or at least, those are my favorite kinds.

I guess I’m the most ‘senior’ of the five brainy birds, since I’ve been post-doc’ing the longest. I’ve crisscrossed the country chasing research questions in the Ivy League and PublicU, done fieldwork in Alaska, South America, Australia and Europe, and had two beautiful boys along the way.

That I got into science at all is a mini-miracle. I had never considered going to graduate school. The single mom who raised my brother and me didn’t go to college. It took a female professor who I had stumbled into doing research for to tell me I should try, that she thought I could do it. She was part of the old guard. Those strong, intimidating women who fought their way to the table, who never had children for fear that they wouldn’t keep up. She gave me the push I needed, and she was right, I can do it, and am maybe even good at it.

She was right about something else too. Having children does slow you down. I don’t mean necessarily your publication rate or the amount of work you get done in a day (although, it does probably). If you don’t miss a stride then why have them at all? That single-minded, self-absorbed, my-research-question-is-my-life attitude that we all had in grad school just doesn’t work when you have another little person who will need more of your attention than your dissertation ever did.

Now I’m starting a new adventure: jumping the academic ship and wandering into the lands unknown of Industry. I’m hoping this blogging adventure helps me to hone my story-telling skills, or at least to use different parts of my brain than I normally do while thinking about and doing science-y things. I’m hoping it’s an exciting story, full of twists and turns, but most of all that it’s a series. And an interesting read.


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