Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Other side of defense

Pending a little paperwork, I am now Doctor Materials Science! I still have some fairly minor revisions to do, and a whole lot of data curation, not to mention paper writing. Unsuprisingly, there was just no way to get everything through my advisor's queue before funding-imposed deadlines. At least this way, he's actually looked at the body of data, and we can talk about what goes in the papers *first*, and then spend the many hours writing them all.

But I'm trying to not let the sense of relief at being done let me give up on getting things changed. I'm compiling a list of dates from emails before scheduling meetings with our new department chair and Associate Dean of Graduate Education about what's happened to me, and why I think the annual review process is so incredibly important to follow up on. It should never be more than 12 months before your advisor even *opens* the file for the draft you sent. Because the annual reviews are still a very new process for many departments, I really want to help the people who enforce them to understand the kinds of things we wanted them for.

So what's next?

On the job front, getting a SMART scholarship wrapped that up pretty neatly. I have a two year contract, after which I can choose to continue working at my sponsoring facility, move within the DoD, or simply move on. I'll be moving from atomistic simulations to being the materials person in a mechanical engineering/ finite element modeling group. It looks like I will also be able to pursue some multiscale modeling projects, and there are mechanisms for internal research grants to run my own projects.

Working for the DoD means I won't be going to many conferences for a while, which is a major complication in looking for faculty jobs, if I decide that government labs aren't a good fit for me. It's also going to limit how many papers I can publish, because, well, it's the DoD... However, I want a more teaching-oriented position (not because I think they're less work, because I love teaching). My graduate experience has been limited in terms of opportunities for teaching.

So I'm planning to do a series of YouTube tutorials for Intro to MSE type classes. I've heard from many students that there is a real lack of resources in our field, and that sometimes, they just need a different explanation than the one in the book. It doesn't help that the vast majority of these classes use books by the same author, nationwide. It's a good book, but doesn't help these kinds of students, and an awful lot of Wikipedia entries are paraphrase or straight up plagiarizing these same texts.

What next for this space?

Frankly, I don't know. It's been a handy place to rant about the stupidity of things for awhile. But I want my tutorials to be associated with my real name, so I can use them for job applications, and I don't really want it all tied back to the whinging. Ranting about the stupidity of the DoD in any public forum, pseudonymous or not, seems, well, stupid. There will probably be more posts about the papers process with my PI. But I will probably let it slowly drift away into the depths of internet memory, not unlike my high school LiveJournal...


  1. Hi Miss MSE, I was off the blogging circuit for a long time and recently started re-blogging. As a pleasant surprise, I see that you have been updating your blog. Congratulations on PhD! Do hope to hear more from you.

    1. Thanks! I'm currently nose-deep in paper preparation, but I hope to keep blogging about the limbo of post-docs

  2. Congrats on becoming Miss MSE, PhD!