Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I went to a meeting today to discuss the mentoring procedures in different schools at my university (RU). We shared the programs in departments from romance languages to law. What struck me was the vast differences. In some departments all the senior faculty read the junior faculties publications and recommend journals/publishers for them. That's pretty different from my experience. I don't have any senior faculty in my field in the department and thus would not have anyone to make recommendations of this nature.

We also discussed the NRC report that recently came out. One of the most striking findings I saw was the difference in funding rates of women with mentors.

"Over all six fields surveyed female assistant professors with no mentors had a 68 percent probability of having grant funding versus 93 percent of women with mentors. This contrasts with the pattern for male assistant professors; those with no mentor had an 86 percent probability of having grant funding versus 83 percent for those with mentors."

So women with mentors have a much better funding rate. And, my read on this is that men get informal mentoring and thus don't need formal mentors to get the same guidance (a generalization of course). I have to say that my informal female mentors were instrumental in helping me learn to navigate the grant submission/review process. For more discussion see FemaleScienceProfessor.

I hope that as I move forward I can continue to find good informal mentoring from more senior faculty and also help to guide those who are at an earlier career stage.

Just as I was feeling like I might be getting on track for the summer progress, the phone rang with the dreaded caller id showing "daycare". AHH! Turns out that my son might actually have a little stomach bug. And I thought he was just trying to stall getting ready this morning with his "my tummy hurts" complaints. He has discovered the power illness in drawing attention away from his younger sibling and thus all illnesses are treated with skepticism lately. Of course after he was picked up early, he proceeded to run around the house playing like a crazy man. So he was not feeling too bad. Still, I've already begun the mental rearranging of all remaining tasks for this week and prioritizing of all meetings (ranking those that can be canceled or time that husband could flex to cover). Nothing so important we need to call the emergency sitting service...

Monday, July 13, 2009


Hello and welcome. I'm starting this blog to share my journey as a faculty member in engineering and mom of 2 young children. I am currently an associate professor of engineering at a private research university. My goal with this blog is to seek and share encouragement for other women in the sciences and engineering. Names will be withheld to protect the innocent.

I will refer to my research as studying wombats (not the actual subject). Currently I'm working on summer research and mentoring my summer undergraduates, as well as several graduate students in engineering. I just completed a submission of my renewal for my NIH R01.

Now I'm collecting the odds and ends that remain on the summer to-do list (editing papers, reviewing manuscripts, grant rewrite for fall submission deadline) and trying to plan how to best accomplish them in the remain month and change of my summer.