presenting our work

Linden Higgins linden at MAIL.UTEXAS.EDU
Mon Feb 19 10:10:04 EST 1996

>Finally I will throw out a gambit for future discussion.  IS there a
>difference in how women tend to do science?  Or how women tend
>to present their work?  Can we cite examples of these differences
>from our experience?
>-- susan
>S L Forsburg
>susan_forsburg at

 Do we present our work differently?  Once upon a time, I would have said
"no", but now I think "yes", at least on a gross, over-generalizing scale.
It is due to the following, which happened to me:

I was invited to interview at a good University with both strong research
and strong teaching - needless to say I was thrilled.  When the list of
faculty reached me, I headed for the library.  I looked for and read one or
two articles for every faculty member in my field (when found), and at
least an abstract for everyone else.  For those in my field, I tried to
think of good questions...

When I got there, I presented my talk, and the visits started.  Although I
was a late candidate, and the faculty were tired, my schedule was full & I
felt everything was going well.  As much as possible, I tried to keep the
conversations centered on the research of the person I was meeting.

I did not get the job.  I was told that although seriously considered,
there was doubt about whether I knew the "bigger context" of my research,
or where my next projects would take it.  Now, I know perfectly well where
my research is going, and its importance.  The woman who told me this also
confided that she'd never met a male candidate who had problems making sure
everyone knew exactly what his plans were and why they were important....

This may reflect the question of how we view our own research;  wasen't
there a recent thread about how women are much less likely to view their
research, and their abilities, as exceptional?   Although I enjoy talking
about my own work, when it came to interviewing, I didn't want anyone to
think that I wasen't itnerested in their work (besides, I was afraid of
boring them), and I over did it.

Well, live & learn, but sometimes I dispare of another chance!


Linden Higgins, Ph.D.
Dept. of Zoology,
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX  78712
linden at

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