The Fourth Quarter: Checking In

I’m excited for quarter four because it’s going to be comparatively restful – winter hits the northeast and so I get a bit of a break from fieldwork and time to process my specimen! To me, quarter four looks like the time to wrap up a lot of loose ends.

EPiC 2018 organizing committee and plenary speakers, left to right: Meghan Barrett, Alexandra Brown, Rob Kulathinal, speaker Paul Turner, speaker Jason Weckstein, Nate Shoobs, and Rohini Singh.

Before I move on to the ‘big goals’ I have for quarter four, let’s celebrate what happened in quarter three. First, the EPiC conference (Evolution in Philadelphia) was a huge success with 108 attendees from 24 different university and 62% of the attendees being early career researchers. 29 presentations, 2 plenaries, and 25 posters later, we learned a lot about the amazing evolutionary science going on in and around Philly!

In June, I was able to travel to Cienfuegos, Cuba for a month with four amazing undergraduate students and Dr. Dane Ward to study Melipona beecheii stingless bees as part of my Eva Crane Trust grant (Dr. Ward is my Co-PI). We presented our findings in four posters at Drexel’s Students Tackling Advanced Research showcase in August and are hoping to flesh out at least one of those into a publication and a return trip. I was able to present my publication on wasp brains at the International Union for the Study of Social Insects Conference in Guaruja, Brazil in August which was an absolute blast. I also worked at my field site in NY at the Huyck Preserve and at SUNY Geneseo, studying the grass-carrying wasps that moved in to my bee nests (nope, no bees. It’s cool, nature). I was able to do some outreach – including some podcasts (PhDrinking, School of Batman), a Scientist Saturday at the Academy of Natural Sciences, and public and high school lectures at the Huyck Preserve. All in all, it was a busy quarter and there was a lot to celebrate!

For this final quarter, my goals:

  1. Publication Proliferation – Finish writing the first drafts of my first two first-author publications – this will be a big challenge, since I’ve never written my own paper before!
  2. Quality before quantity – Quality control my data on Centris bee ovaries and Melipona morphology and send it off to my co-authors to get their thoughts.
  3. Conference Coasting – Plan the Social Insects in the North-East Regions Conference for December 2018.
  4. Classroom Antics – I’ll be taking a class for my Masters on Theories of Individual Cognition in STEM Education and an online Morphology Course.

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