Friday, June 14, 2013

Leveling Up

I got my first big girl job!
After being in school for what seems like eleventy million years, I'm moving to Portland, Oregon in a few weeks to start a new life as a process engineer for a semiconductor equipment company.  Whoo!

I'm a little sad to be leaving California, my friends, research group, and academia in general, but it felt time for me to move on and I'm excited to do something different.

I'll be working on thin film deposition.  Which probably doesn't sound exciting at all to most people, but that's okay.  (As long as it does to me, right?)

While we're on the topic of thin films, here's a cute video (meant for kids?) from Filmetrics that explains how spectral reflectance works for measuring film thickness.  This basically entails shining light of different wavelengths (colors) at the film and seeing which wavelengths (colors) reflect.  If you know the material properties like refractive index, then you can make a pretty good estimation of how thick it is.

I won't be a postdoc working with lasers anymore, but will continue to update this blog and likely post more about microelectronics and my experience transitioning to life in industry.  Plus, I still have plenty of advice for grad students left to write. In fact, I have some upcoming posts about teamwork in grad school and conference etiquette, so stay tuned for those.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Pro tip: don't be a dick

Teamwork is a really important skill in graduate school and life. I've been working on a long blog post with about working well with others, which I will post one day. One of my tips is this: Don't be a judgmental asshole.

UNM Professor Geoffrey Miller tweeted this gem a few days ago:

This is a great example of a comment that makes someone sound like judgmental asshole. This kind of comment has NO PLACE in public forum ESPECIALLY from a professor who has the power to fire and hire potential PhD students. He eventually deleted the tweet and apologized for his comments, but only after a strong backlash. (You can read more details on the controversy over at The Atlantic.)

We all have coworkers who say stupid things. I'm actually the queen of sticking my foot in my mouth, so I'm guilty of it as well on occasion. Still, I try to be really careful about how off-hand remarks are perceived in a professional setting, especially now that I'm a postdoc and grad students might look to me to lead by example.

A good rule of thumb is just don't be a dick or an asshole. Period. Just don't do it. If you catch yourself doing or saying something that comes across poorly, own up to it apologize. Then next time, maybe you'll think twice before you open your big stupid mouth.

The bottom line is that all people deserve to be treated with respect. Especially in academia, be especially kind and encouraging to those who come in a shape or size or color that is not already well-represented in your field. Diversity in STEM and higher academia in general is so, so important for inspiring creativity and innovation.

Check out the awesome new Tumblr: Fuck Yeah! Fat PhDs.

And while we're at it, can we cut it out with the carb-shaming already?