Monday, May 23, 2011

Strides in research

Research is moving. In December of last year (a whopping five months ago!) my adviser and I planned to submit a paper. Well, we just submitted it last Monday. Finally. After working on the darn thing for a year and a half! Now it's out of my life for at least a couple of months. Good riddance.

On a related note, I recently received a request to review a manuscript for the journal to which I submitted my paper. I didn't realize that they would ask a grad student to review a paper before she even has a publication through the peer-review process. This will be new. Luckily I have an adviser to shadow me so I do it right.

I gave my first conference talk in January. I uploaded it two hours before my presentation time and didn't practice at all. Though my talk was the last one of the session, I entered the room at the beginning of the session. I watched as the seats slowly filled and people gathered along the walls throughout the session. The talk before mine must be really interesting!

As the applause faded and I heard my name spoken into the microphone, few people left. They came for my talk? I hoped for a clear mind and calm nerves. My talk came out reasonably cogent and perfect length. My adviser was relieved, as was I. No one asked a question, though the person running the session tracked me down later and said he enjoyed my talk and that I was doing important work. Neat! I survived my first conference talk, and perhaps made waves in the process.

I hope to continue that smidgen of momentum. My PhD research direction changed a bit, much to my satisfaction. I'll still work with the WRF model, but the standard version instead of a special climate version. It is much easier to get my hands on and has better support. The results should be relevant to many mountainous areas around the tropics, which makes me feel like the research is more worth doing.

That's not all, folks. I'm trying to schedule my prelim (again) while I try to help a visiting undergrad (I'm learning alongside him), work with a geology student on a side project, and now review a paper. Do you know how difficult it is to get four scientists to agree on a two-hour block of time to meet? If one's not in DC, another is in Fiji. Or maybe India.

My adviser wants me to finish by December 2012. I have a start on some of the background work, but I'm still having trouble running the model. I haven't decided yet if that's a delusion. How long should the research and writing portion of a PhD take? Eh, I'll give it a shot anyhow. I certainly don't want to be the perpetual grad student.

Which brings me to my future after grad school. I have not yet decide how or when to integrate communication and education into my degree, though I it is important that I get that experience before I graduate. I don't know what kind of position I'll look for. Scientist, programmer, communications... who knows. If J-man and I stay together in Grad School Town, it depends on what's available in the area. Post all that under future work.

Next time: personal progress, and there is plenty to be had ;)

Busy, busy!

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