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Moving FORWARD in Space – Follow-Up

June 21, 2012

A short follow-up post from the Moving FORWARD in Space workshop at Temple University – it’s been a couple of weeks, time to digest the advice (and recover from the travel).  The workshop was designed for early career women hoping for (or already in) academic positions, and we had an enthusiastic group of almost 20 attendees, speakers, and organizers.

I’m sure others will disagree with me, but there were some key pieces of advice that seemed to come up again and again, whether we were discussing job searches, preparing for classes, making time to get writing done, or finding a way to balance work and “not work”:

  • Identify what you need to (be happy, write, stay healthy, etc.) and make it happen.
  • Don’t be afraid to take advantage of opportunities, even if they feel undeserved.
  • Have a support network.

One of the reasons we wanted to run a workshop dedicated to women in planetary science is to help develop one of those support networks: many of us graduate from universities with multiple planetary faculty and graduate students to rely on for help, but we may find jobs in departments where we are the singular planetary scientist and possibly the only woman.  Hopefully the contacts we make throughout our careers (not just limited to workshops like these) will become part of that support network.

Because our funding comes from a program that supports workshops for early career tenure-track faculty, we tried to give equal time to both teaching and research-focused activities and discussions, but that doesn’t make the advice any less relevant for those looking for career paths outside academia.

So I thought I’d end up by commenting on what advice from the workshop I’ve taken to heart. Last week I bought the gym membership I’ve been putting off (the one my doctor recommended some time ago) and enlisted a friend to pester me to use it, did some long needed office organization (hard to write with no desk space for the keyboard), and… well… this blog post got written.  It’s a start.


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