At our meeting last Friday (January 15) we discussed how we would like to continue to pursue The Pub Club mission in this new year to help each other develop as scientists as we meet on the edge of science. Here is a quick recap for those of you who could not make it.
Katie reminded us about Python Group, which is a small group that meets each week to work on developing computational skills. She will be sending an email out to The Pub Club to see who is interested in participating in Python Group this semester, so be on the look out for that.
Over the past several semesters we have identified Communication as a key skill we would like to further develop. One of the specific types of communication we would like to work on this semester is the “elevator speech,” which is a brief, concise, non-technical explanation of our work and its broader relevance. Brad Day will be leading a game to help us practice this skill on February 19. In addition, James shared a strategy with us used by Paul Schulze-Lefert’s group, which is to draw a name out of a hat and have that person share their research. While this might be a bit intimidating for us at first, participating in these types of activities will not only strengthen our communication skills, they will also build our confidence, help us learn about each others’ research and so broaden our knowledge base, and perhaps result in ideas and research directions we might not have otherwise explored.
Another suggestion Cait made to help us keep up with the ever growing technology was to have people continue to share about new methods and techniques, similar to how Alex shared the AlphaScreen technology with us at the beginning of last semester.
As always, we have several in our group who will be taking their preliminary exam this semester. This is one of the biggest milestones in advancing in the PhD program and one of the most difficult for which to prepare. However, in The Pub Club, we have a whole group to help us do just that! In fact, helping one person prepare for a prelim exam provides a great learning experience for all of us.
We also discussed specific topics, such as writing and requesting reference letters, and potential guest speakers for this semester. If you have any suggestions or ideas to add to this list, please feel free to use the comment box below to add them.
As always, The Pub Club is here for you. Whether you need prelim practice, brainstorming power, or just want to sit and talk about the science, we will continue to be here each Friday at 4 PM. Remember, to be successful in accomplishing our mission, we depend on each member participating. Part of this contribution is simply coming to meetings and being a part of the conversation. Other easy ways to contribute include signing up to do snacks, leading group discussions, sharing science updates and papers of interest or by writing posts or commenting on the website. These opportunities not only give back to the Community of Minds, they also help us work towards development of those skills we need to fill “The Void.”
Thanks to all who came and contributed to last week’s meeting. I look forward to this next semester of meeting with you on the edge of science!