Lindsay (dragonzuela) wrote,

some thoughts from [big genetics meeting]

I may be imagining this just because I'm insecure around men or something (although I don't think that I usually am in any non-academic setting), but I feel like the male scientists whom I met yesterday who had constructive commentary on my research were also trying to intimidate me at the same time. A woman also had constructive commentary for me yesterday and I don't think she made me feel the same way. The glass ceiling in the sciences isn't about direct sexism but rather more subtle things - for example when I have worked on grant and scholarship applications, Marie has encouraged me to really exaggerate and overblow [Firefox doesn't think that's a word... I may have just gotten it out of brass playing] the importance of my work, because women tend to be polite and understate things, whereas men tend to be naturally competitive and so will win out in grant competitions if both sexes act naturally.

As more women are moving into academia in general and the biological sciences in particular, perhaps science will become less about proving that you're smarter than the other guy and more about social and environmental responsibility. Not to say that all men are macho or all women are compassionate, but certain patterns arise when organizations are dominated by one gender.

I also look delightfully androgynous in my business casual outfit with my hair pulled back into a braid (I also have a pretty square and masculine face to begin with), so maybe the men were either A) treating me like a man or B) treating me like a threat. My data on this are few and highly subjective.

On the other hand I had a very positive interaction with another man at the poster session, but our research was totally unrelated and I asked him to tell me about his research since he looked bored and his poster looked really nifty. He is an undergrad, so once we finished talking about that he had a bunch of questions for me about grad school. It was one of those warm, fuzzy, serendipitous things.

Being in a non-model organism means being technologically behind the times, so I've really been blown away by things I've learned about here, especially third-generation (single-molecule real-time) DNA sequencing. At first I got really scared that everything I love about genetics was going to become obsolete, but I think now that I'll be able to incorporate the new technology into things that I enjoy.

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