New directions

About this Blog

Confession: I don’t know how to write a blog. I’ve been told that the only way I can “find my voice” is to just jump in, so please bear with me. There will be awkwardness and growing pains and steep learning curves. I’m doing this because in my recent National Science Foundation grant proposal, I suggested that blogging would be a great broader impact. Then they actually funded my grant – Hooray! So now this blog exists.

I’m actually more excited to start a blog than I let on. This space will be used as “Supplementary Materials”* for my research – a place that can function as an open lab notebook of sorts, that might contain notes on things I’m reading, my projects, workflow, or useful bits of R code and computational tools. I might use this space to discuss my views on science, ecology, and academia, or work-life balance. This is my personal blog and anything I post here does not represent the views of the National Science Foundation or the universities with which I am affiliated.

New Directions

I’m beginning this blog at the beginning of a new year. I’m in a new place, at a new university, and I’m beginning a new postdoc with new collaborators and research avenues. This is my second postdoc gig since defending my PhD in the (awesome) Weecology lab and after spending a year with the fantastic Graham lab. In the past 2 years I’ve lived in 5 states, traveled nearly every month, and have stretched my mental muscle to work on fun science including bird migration, rodent time-series, and macroecological diversity trends**. I’m dragging my very patient and understanding spouse along for the ride.

In many ways, this new postdoc represents a big change for me. This is my own grant***, and I am more independent than ever before. Yet at the same time, I am continuing to expand my scientific community, which means that I am also gaining more collaborators and support.  I get to be in the uniquely awesome position of being a postdoc affiliated with three great lab groups (Williams, McGill, and Gotelli)! I waver between days where I feel like a complete impostor and days where I feel like I could conquer the world. But I think we all just make it up as we go along anyway, right?

*I’m ridiculously pleased that my name – Supp – now goes with a more interesting phrase than the usual “What’s Supp?”.

**After all that, I was really tired, so I allowed myself a bit of a recharge between postdocs. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and it’s ok to enjoy the scenery along the way.

***Which you can read all about, because I’ve made my proposal open access on figshare. I think science can progress best if we share and discuss ideas together as freely as possible.


Supplementary Materials

In academic writing, authors often provide supplementary materials to accompany the main manuscript. The materials may include additional figures and text describing the analyses, code, or the raw data itself. This supporting information is intended to aid the reader in understanding the paper, to explain complex concepts or methodology, and in some cases, may supply the building blocks for reproducing the research.

It is my intention (and hope) that these posts will act as “Supplementary Materials” to my academic website – extra information about my scientific workflow (like an open lab notebook), about research that I have found interesting or important, about computational tools, and about my general thoughts on academic work and living life.

Discussions and shared experiences with other researchers (online and in person) have greatly shaped my approach to research and collaboration, and have helped me to feel supported during challenging times. I can’t promise that I will have any exciting, groundbreaking, or especially eloquent thoughts to share, but I hope that my Supplementary Materials contribute in some small way back to the wonderful scientific community that I have found.