after a whopping 4 months on the job, Engineering Professor says:

I think my lab is finally running out of things that can go wrong.


[ wipes eyes ]


[ clasps stomach ]


The Hermitage has a post up entitled The Academia Ghetto that bemoans:

…the state of mind that awards, programmes, initiatives, etc are pointless unless a white dude can win it, serve on it, or vote in it.

You will also note that the D-List Monktress anticipates my opinion, perhaps having previously read the repost I’m serving up, I don’t know.

I realize many senior monks’ responses are ‘get yours and tell everyone who thinks otherwise to fuck themselves’, but the reality of the situation is that Everyone Who Thinks Otherwise comprises a substantial amount of my academic peerage.

Yeah, no crap. Majority is majority. And bigots are bigots. There is very little you can do about it in this scenario, save to punish yourself in a vain attempt to change the idiots’ minds about you.

I want to re-emphasize a point I made before. People in Hermitage’s situation vis a vis fellowships, funding and platform presentations have a simple reality to face. What is the alternative? Are you telling me you are going to not apply to some fellowship just because it says “Minority” or “Women’s” in the title? Don’t get me wrong, I think you should be applying to regular awards as well. For certain. But to avoid applying to a nice program just because it is going to somehow look bad to certain people if you do win the award? This seems very, very stupid to me.

The following originally appeared Dec 7, 2008.

In a recent episode of “Ask Dr. Isis“, the domestic and laboratory goddess fielded a question from a person underrepresented in her field of endeavor:

I’m a black female graduate student … I’ve been very careful in choosing schools and advisors that seem to value my ideas and potential, not just the diversity I can bring to a brochure photo. At the same time, I recognize that there are doors open to me that are unavailable to the vast majority of people in my field- fellowships that seem tailor-made for my circumstances. I’m not one to turn down free money, but at the same time it makes me feel as if I’m something of a novelty item, a token, or in the worstcase, a fraud who’s only there because of her skin color and reproductive system. It can be hard to tell if this stems from my own insecurities, or if this is something I should be genuinely concerned about.

I absolutely hate it that people are made to feel this way. Unsurprisingly, as with most academic one-upsmanship and tear-downsmanship it is based on the underconfidence and personal failings of the one doing the tearing, not the limitations of the one being dismissed. Nevertheless, I hear questions related to grant/fellowship seeking and I perk right up.

Read the rest of this entry »