Helping the Minoritized Achieve in Academic Science

Sabbatical Update

Sabbatical-1So, we’ve been on sabbatical for about 8 weeks. I have had several people ask me what I have been doing. So, this is an update on my work during my sabbatical.

Grant Writing: I have written and submitted two proposals, and I am working on another.  There might be a few others along the way.

Visiting Collaborators: I spent 5 days going to a single city that is within a few hours of the location of my sabbatical that happened to have multiple collaborators. With one collaborator, the three PIs were all together and we “ran experiments” but telling a postdoc what experiments to do for 3 days. With another collaborator, I worked with his students to train them on the protocols from my lab.

Visits Back Home: I have visited back home two times in the past 8 weeks. Once was for about half a week. The second was for a week. I scheduled a lot of meetings with the lab. I put a bunch of student committee meetings that week and got one student advanced to candidacy for the Ph.D. and another passed their Master’s.

Conferences: I have attended one conference where most of my lab was in attendance. I was able to have some good meetings with them. It felt good that some progress was made and we had cool ideas from the talks and posters we were watching. I have another conference in a few weeks. It is closer to home, so I will swing by and see the lab.

Lab Work: OK, the real low mark for me is my ability to get into the lab and actually do some experiments myself. First, it basically took me 8 weeks to get fully trained to access the labs. The training consisted of 5-8 videos on chemical safety, PPE, and autoclaves. After getting all this training, I had to have one-on-one training with the faculty of each lab I want to access in order to get a key or card access. This means getting two faculty members’ schedules in sync. It took a ridiculous amount of time to get trained, but I am finally trained and trying to get in a lab next week.

Staying in Touch: Based on advice from others, I am staying in contact with my lab in two ways. Every other week, I am having a lab meeting where I skype in. These have been annoying due to connectivity issues. I am not happy with my home institution’s internet. The other week, I have one-on-one meetings with my lab members. This is hard to coordinate and takes a ton of time. I am happy that people are making progress in the lab. This is not surprising, because I have excellent people, but it is a bit nerve-wracking to worry about.

I’ll try to update again in about a month or so. Hopefully I will have some experimental results by then…


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