Archive for the ‘presentations’ Category


I finished making my slides for my defense talk last week. I thought it’d be pretty good, but I knew that once I went through it once I’d have to edit it.

Well, I did it this morning, and it took me 45 minutes to get through the intro/background stuff! LOL Half of it was me just pontificating longer on things than I should have. Then there was a bunch of extraneous stuff that I had included, and I was having some issues with some transitions.

I have edited it down a bit now, and the whole thing took me 47 minutes this time. Not bad. It’d be nice if it was a bit shorter, although I think that will happen as I practice it a couple of times and refine some transitions and explanations.

I got to admit, this part is kind of fun.


Official Freak Out #1

I was doing so, so well with not being nervous about my defense since submitting my thesis. I have been relaxed, calm, and even excited from time to time about it all.

Then yesterday, I finished making my presentation. Then I started thinking about all the questions people might ask after the talk because there’s so much I can’t put into it. Then I started thinking about all the questions my examiners might ask. Then I started to cry.

Holy crap. 9 more days…9 more days…(then I promise I will write about something else!).

In other news: I very might well buy a bikini for the first time in my life today. Maybe.

Six Weeks

The last day of the conference wasn’t so bad. Mostly because a) I cried my eyes out to my co-coordinator and she totally understood (even though she’s an extrovert), and b) the sessions for that day were in smaller groups. I feel quite motivated now to do a few more things before I’m officially done with the program at the end of July.

My defense is six weeks from today. I’ve decided that I’m going to keep going in from 9-5pm, as usual, and just break up my day because there are a ton of things I need to do by the end of July:

  • study for my defense
  • prepare my public lecture (40-45 minutes)
  • prepare my talk for conference in Rio (10-15 minutes)
  • prepare a poster for conference in Rio
  • potentially work on revisions of paper #2 (although we might leave this until August)
  • complete capstone project for education workshop
  • wrap up some loose ends with astronomy outreach program
  • do a few things for my science outreach program (organize volunteer appreciation dinner; print banner; organize office; train new coordinators; write annual report; start looking for funding; get better web address)
  • prepare for our trip to South America
  • oh…do normal things too!
It looks like a lot, but a lot of them will take part of a day or so (like all the outreach stuff). I’m glad I have a lot to do before I defend – I’d go totally nuts if all I had to do was study!

Speaking of which – for those of you who have defended your PhD – how did you study for your defense? Any thing work really well? Anything that was useless or didn’t help much?

Teaching Workshop II

To receive a certificate for the teaching workshop, each of us has to do a final (capstone) project. This entails choosing a topic in education related to our field, and writing a 3-5 page summary of a seminar we would give on that topic, listing the motivation, objectives, and pedagogy.

Based on my experiences (especially over the past few weeks writing this thesis) and on a very interesting paper I posted last week, I have chosen my topic to be the Impostor Syndrome. This topic is extremely important because it is rampant in the sciences, it has greatly affected me personally, very rarely do people accept its existence, let alone actually addressing it, and it’s just plain interesting.

The project is due at the end of June, so I have some time to do some research. That is where you come in, my readers! I am planning to use group discussions throughout, but I want to make sure certain key points/strategies are hit on before moving on in the seminar.

First, a short summary: The Impostor Syndrome is an inability to internalize accomplishments. People that suffer from it do not believe they deserve the success they have achieved, even if there is evidence to the contrary. They often minimize their successes/abilities (i.e., it’s because of luck, timing, etc.) and feel like they don’t belong or that they are a fraud and will be “found out”. It is especially prevalent at the graduate level. My seminar will discuss the syndrome, what events cause/perpetuate it, ways to address it at the undergraduate level, and the importance of not knowing in scientific research.

What I want you to help me with is some answers/examples for the following two major discussions/brain-storming sessions in the seminar:

1. A group discussion on the causes of the Impostor Syndrome. These can be examples from personal experiences, or just general thoughts (i.e., in undergrad, you’re taught to get the right answer, and this might not be possible in research; professors are made out like they know everything already; etc.).

2. A brainstorming session on how to address the issue at the undergraduate level (i.e., giving problems where only the method is asked for; having guest speakers talk about road blocks in research, and how they overcame them; etc.).

So, let me hear it! How have you felt like an impostor in academia (or otherwise)? When did it affect you the most? What situations perpetuated it? Did any situation help alleviate it? What would you do to address it with undergraduate students?

I look forward to your thoughts!!

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