This site is an experiment in some ways. It can be used either as a blog – or as I’m trying to set it up – a more community oriented wiki-kind of site where many people can contribute and it’s not just me or one or two others. The more of us the better.

There are a few ways you can get started. The easiest is by commenting on any of the pages. This is OK – but sometimes the comment threads get lost.

Alternatively, and a little more involved (but not too much) is you can create a page for a particular topic. That way you can begin a discussion – and then you and others can add comments or even add subtopics (or pages that would follow from that page.)

The only catch with adding pages is that you have to be added to the site. Not too big a deal – just let me know you’d like to be added, send an email with your name – and I’ll add you on to the USER list. If I add you as editor you can begin to make pages of your own. All that I ask is that you look around and try to keep the site organized. Housekeeping is not my favorite thing to do!

Finally you can post to the blog. As it’s set up now, the blog pages show on the right-side menu. You can either click on a blog title, or if you join the site you can begin your own blog post/thread.  To do that, once you join this blog, you go to manage, click on posts and write.

Also, whatever you do don’t forget to hit “publish” when ready.

I’m just figuring this out – so if anyone jumps on and has a better way of doing this please let me know – Emily (emonosson@gmail.com)


8 Responses to “How to Contribute”

  1. 1 earl gray and extended family August 15, 2008 at 10:54 pm

    Emily, we read about your book today at work in an excellent review in the American Scientist.

    We are going to buy several copies. I want one and I know the young mothers in the lab all are going to get a copy. I also am going to share this website with them and my two daughters-in-law whom are not moms yet, but think about it.

    So, now you are famous. Maybe it will make you rich too. that would be awesome too. That would mean that a lot of people got to read it.

    I think this all is a really nice contribution that will really help fill a void and create a lot of constructive discussion. It certainly got it going today a lunch and in the PM.

    Congradulations, we are all so proud of you..


  2. 2 Emily August 16, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    Thanks Earl, and to think – this motherhood thing started for me back when I was in your lab learning about all the potential ways to screw up a fetus! I remember pulling out a little developmental chart so I could follow the course of my little tadpole. I am and will be forever grateful that you took me on, even though I wasn’t familiar with mammalian reproductive work, and as I’d “informed” you, I was only looking for a position that would fill the time until my husband graduated and was ready to move on (and THEN I had the nerve to spend the first couple of weeks finishing up a grant so I could move on too!) Thanks for taking the gamble and providing our family with the flexible position we needed at that time.

    Working with you all there at the EPA provided me with a new experience that helped pave the way for future opportunities.

    I didn’t see the review til you point it out. Its interesting, I suppose in the eyes of the reviewer, I have not succeeded, just enabled my husband Ben. It’s complicated isn’t it? I’m really not sure I was willing to give up my time with the kids – and maybe in some way that wasn’t fair to him (though he didn’t seem to mind having the family support to move into a full time position with USGS just after our first kid was born.)

    My only regret was when I realized I couldn’t really continue meaningful laboratory work working alone and part-time. There’s a definite thrill to discovery – analyzing and interpreting data.

    I think I’ve made my peace with that now – but hopefully the next gen, should they opt to stay home part-time, won’t have to make that king of decision.

  3. 3 Gen August 27, 2008 at 10:18 pm

    Can this career be saved? I was forced out of the pipeline.

    As an NSF predoctoral fellow in the life sciences, I climbed pretty high up the ladder at a soft-money research institute. It was crazy trying to balance a toddler, two pregnancies and a new baby with what has been called an “extreme” career as a laboratory head. However, I did contribute a number of significant, recognized papers to my field.

    As an independent investigator I earned four research grants (2 federal and 2 private) over the course of ten years. I was awarded a five year R01 just after having my second and last baby (at age 42–don’t think it is easy–I was just lucky)! I was an Associate level researcher before my lab was shut down because my R01 wasn’t renewed after two tries. During this time I had two sons and a miscarriage. This contributed to a “productivity problem” that grant reviewers have been eager to point out as a reason not to renew my grant (we all know there doesn’t need to be much of a reason to deny a grant these days). I published three papers on a single R01 grant as my only source of funding, with only one post doc in the lab. Two more papers nearly ready to submit. Well, at least you can say I was efficient?

    Now what? I have been out of work for nearly a year. I have some well-recognized publications and the colleagues I have contacted stated they regard my work highly and are really sorry that I am no longer engaged in my research.

    I do want to return to my former career trajectory and become a full professor in 5-7 years time, but with certain modifications. I believe that I will need about three years to regain my publication “quantity”: my publication “quality” is excellent. I currently have a small grant, with funds I can make last for 2-3 more years. I can probably get work as a “research track” faculty member (i.e. superpost-doc) in someone else’s lab. I’m not currently competitive for a faculty position because I am a 50 yr old woman and it seems that most places would prefer a younger, “hotter” new investigator. Is it a good idea to take a downward step for a few years while my youngest (age 8) still needs Mom a lot? If so, can I get back on track…ever?

    Any advice would be tremendously appreciated!

  4. 4 Emily August 28, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    Hi Gen, I’d like to copy your post to the blog where it might actually get some readership and hopefully some advice. I think your experience is an example of the cost to the greater scientific community of inflexibility, and the difficulties of being an independent investigator (a route some of us take so that we can have the flexibility we need.)

    I hope you get back on track soon. I can’t speak for anyone else’s family or work situation – and having been virtually independent (save for a year or two when necessary) I can’t comment on the ins and outs of academia.

    As someone who’s constantly questioning her own choices it was really nice yesterday to find out from my preteen – the day before she entered not only a new school, as a “new” kid (the rest have been together since grade school) – that she’s really appreciated how my choices in life have impacted her life. She knows it wouldn’t have been the end of the world to spend each afternoon in after school programs if I’d worked full-time – and she knows that it’s because of how I’ve chosen to work that she can come home after school each day.

    It’s just nice to know she knows. Though as I write this I wonder about the American Scientist review of Motherhood and the suggestion that being the home-parent shouldn’t be automatically on one partner’s shoulders. I hope she’ll also get that message – that it doesn’t have to be her who makes the choice to go part-time or to step away from a successful career for a bit – there are options – which I guess was in part the whole point of this project.

    I haven’t been very helpful to you I know – but I hope someone else will jump in once it’s on the blog. (I’m just waiting for you to say it’s OK to post up front and center.)


  5. 5 Ines Cifuentes August 28, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    I am a seismologist by profession. I was the first woman to get a PhD in seismology at Columbia University and finished as a spouse because my adviser cut off my funding in an attempt to throw me out of the program. Fortunately for me, my husband, who had just finished his PhD in physical oceanography was on the research staff at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University and as his spouse I got tuition credits.

    I have had a varied career from doing research on great earthquakes at the Institut de Physique du Globe in Paris and the Carnegie Institution from 1987-1992. When my funding ran out I went to work with Maxine Singer, who was then president of the Carnegie Institution, on a program to strengthen the teaching of science, mathematics and technology in the DC Public Schools by working with elementary school teachers. I directed CASE, the Carnegie Academy for Science Education, from 1994-2005. I am very proud of our work and particularly of the 50 mentor teachers we nurtured over the years. Two won the Milken Educator award and two others won the Presidential award. Several are now principals in DC schools and the majority continue teaching in public and charter schools.

    I resigned from CASE in January 2005 because of a difficult situation at Carnegie and I was unemployed for a year. I started working as the Education Manager at the American Geophysical Union, the scientific organization I belong to, in February 2006. My responsibility is to increase the number and diversity of young Earth and space scientists both in the US and other countries. As a woman, mother and a latina I am particularly aware of how difficult it is to continue working in science after the PhD and postdoc stage. Part of my job is to see how AGU can help young people become scientists and stay in the field.

    I learned at the AWIS sponsored Diversity and Innovation Caucus reception that at the NASA Johnson Space Center about 1/3 of the scientific/engineering staff are women. It might be interesting to look at the government science labs to see how women and minorities are doing and what policies and programs have been put in place.

    And finally I recommend reading “Mothers on the Fast Track” by Mary Ann Mason.

  6. 6 ScientistMother September 26, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    Hi Emily,

    I would love to get involved, writing about the challenges of being a PhD student with one child, planning to have another at some point in the near future and how the lack of affordable quality daycare is a barrier to women.

  7. 7 chesapeake November 6, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    This is a nice site. I’m the mother of 4 and had worked FT as primary
    income while m husband was in grad school and watched the kids. While I don’t have a PhD or MD, I did experience the pressure to be a lab manager and not mother. Family is important to me but I found myself working round the clock, not taking vacations, or using sick leave. I was exempt from overtime. Then my son was dx with anxiety/depression at 6 yrs old. I couldn’t leave work to take him to therapy. It took the death of my baby (4th child) and the birth of my daughter afterwards
    to make me see that I can’t do it all and that the lab will always be there but my family might not. By this time my husband’s career had taken off and for a year, I considered resigning but quickly dismissed it. Then one day I just did it and haven’t had any regrets after 7 months. I still dabble in science and plan to eventually go into science education but everyone is so much more happier now (even with income decrease).

  8. 8 Emily November 11, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    Hi Chesapeake, glad you found the site. We were just having a discussion about working part time (in interesting and fulfilling positions, but which don’t pay well) over on the Full-time Scientists vs. Stay at Home Mom blog on this site. Maybe you’d like to comment once in a while there on your experiences, or alternatively feel free to email me and I’ll put you on as an editor and you can write your own page posts.

    Thanks for stopping by, Emily

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