good climate

Wed Jun 19 10:36:37 EST 1996

>Kathie Sindt wrote;
>I, too, have never experienced any of the difficulties Laura
>expressed.  And I don't think the system selectively filters 
>out women anymore.  I think many women CHOSE to leave science -
>not feel pressured to leave due to "the system."  I think
>science is one of the most female-friendly professions out

This is a very good and interesting point.  I think sometimes we as 
scientists have a hard time admiting that there are people who went 
through the same experiences we did and don't get that thrill when 
something goes right at the bench, or you give a talk and and people say 
"Wow" or you explain something to someone and they understand for the 
first time.  People do chose to quit, but it is true that many more 
women than men quit and one has to wonder why (The recent Science issues 
on women in science try and address this, and the best article I've seen 
yet was in the Jan issue of American Scientist, which looked at only 
post-docs who had received prestigious fellowships-even at this level an 
inordinately high number of women dropped out.).

I also found it interesting that the original post (who's author I no 
longer remember-sorry), which asked why this moving thing was so, was 
seen as a complaint.  I added my two cents in, saying that I didn't 
understand how much moving was involved when I started grad school 
either, but I saw it as just an airing of "why do we do it this way?"-a 
fundamental question that one should always ask in science or life.  In 
management it's sometimes called "thinking outside the box."  "Because 
we have always done it that way" is not an answer, and that's what I 
thought DK was saying.  Over the course of the thread, other, better 
reasons have surfaced.

  Since I have a family and three children, this moving was an issue for 
me, but it doesn't mean I wouldn't have started grad school if I was 
fully cognizant of it.  Now that I'm almost finished, I agree with 
another post that the chance to move on, be Dr. Whatever instead of grad 
student Whatever, and feel as a friend told me she did after her first 
year of a postdoc following a difficult grad advisor-"I do know quite a 
bit after all!" is worth the move.

In defense of the "grow-up" solution as impractical-I think it's a 
little much to expect anyone-at any age-to be fully prepared and 
knowlegeable about what the situation will be like 10 years down the 
road when they hit the job market, which is what we're asking of 
incoming grad student if we want them to "grow-up".  Remember 1986?  No 
internet, no cuts in science funding, AIDS was an emerging disease, 
Reganomics was going to save us all, and who cared about a little 
country in the Persian Gulf?  And if you were using a computer, it was 
probably an Apple II.  And my department?  It had just hired its first 
woman, (the only other one was not a tenure-track professor because she 
was married to another professor and nepotism rules forbade hiring her).  
I expect the science world to be as radically different in 2006 when 
today's baby grad students (some of them anyway) hit the job market.  My 
point is, we prepare for change, not for the status quo.  
Julia Frugoli
Dartmouth College

visiting grad student at
Texas A&M University
Department of Biological Sciences
College Station, TX 77843
FAX 409-847-8805

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