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137

I actually agree with you completely. I think that the women only conference concept is very well intentioned but in practice kind of terrible. I once went to an all girl hackathon and spent 2 1/2 hours not making anything and instead watching everyone pat themselves on the back for being women. Had to sit through a ton of self congratulatory "Ted Talks" ...


78

While the question in the title is a good one, your post also makes some assumptions, in some cases dubious, which are really worth investigating first: But some research fields have little to no industry relevance -- The truth is that almost all PhD research is highly esoteric and specialized, and unlikely to have any direct impact on industry. This is ...


70

Having a broad set of interests and knowledge is fine, and can lead to some 'outside of the box' solutions. Yes, you will find periods where anything else is more interesting than your PhD work, irrespective of how interesting your PhD work actually is. You'll find that as you come closer to the end of your PhD, your concentration on the problem at hand will ...


55

It's rather subtle trying to decide what counts as gender preferential treatment. For example, suppose the hiring committee decides to interview Bob, Carl, and Dave. As a sanity check, someone goes through the applications from women to see whether anyone was overlooked, and they are impressed by Alice's application. There's some debate about whether she ...


53

One part of the difference is not that women are different in their willingness to ask questions, but anyone visibly different is. I was an undergrad in a class of 44. There were 4 women: two of one visible ethnicity, and two of another. My hair was a different colour and length than the other woman of my ethnicity. This meant everyone knew who we were. If ...


46

My answer is focused on the sessions that usually occur within a larger conference. The purpose of a successful session is to leave the attendees energized and feeling more confident so that they can be more productive. Please be sensitive to the fact that women, for whom those session are focused, have come to a career in science with the lifetime of ...


42

The vision of the Association for Women in Science focuses on compensation, advancement, discrimination and respect. These are real problems for women in academia. To an extent, conferences for women are a result of the "leaky pipeline" of the 1970s and and 1980s where women were more likely to leave academia then men. While the leaks have been slowed, ...


39

I have seen TAs do this, but generally don't ask my own TAs to do it. As you say, it's a (very) time-consuming way to solve the coordination problem. I personally prefer to just sit with the TAs for a few minutes (< 30 minutes) every so often to coordinate, which in my experience has been completely adequate. Of course this means that I have to invest a ...


38

In Germany, women are in some instances preferred over men for professor positions, to the point of excluding male applicants at all. There are scholarships and other forms of funding specifically (and exclusively) geared towards women (at all levels). A prominent example is special funding for female professors by BMBF: [Secretary of Education Schavan:]...


38

Make a decision. Do you want a PhD or not. If you do, then make that the priority. Such opportunities as the internship will probably come along later. The doctorate would probably be harder to restart if you stumble. Your advisor is giving good advice provided that the PhD is what you want. Slowing down your research may get you scooped before you complete ...


37

From the Survey of Earned Doctorates, a large-scale survey of students who earn doctoral degrees from U.S. institutions, In the life sciences, 9% report "own resources" as primary source of support. In the physical sciences, 3.8% report "own resources" as primary source of support. In the social sciences, 25.3% report "own resources" as primary source of ...


36

I hate engineering (too practical, too far from physics) This in an unfortunately common misconception, which can bring nonsense answers like this one on Meta Physics SE, where it is said: If I pose this question to an electrical engineer, I will likely get design rules, possibly in the form of immediately useful formulae. If I pose it to a physicist, I ...


29

Aimed at a different point in the pipeline, you can try to make it more possible for speakers to accept your invitation. One step that can make a huge difference for certain people (in many cases, converting a 100% impossibility into an acceptance) is to provide resources for childcare at or near the conference. For some ideas about specific steps you can ...


29

Your chances of "rising to the highest ranks" of academia are small. But no different from anyone else, no matter their age at completion of a doctorate. The bar is the difficulty of doing good, publishable, recognized research. True research is delving into the unknown. And it is, well, ... unknown. Additionally, at the moment, the job market is ...


28

I've served as a referee on grant proposals to large public-sector research funding bodies on a couple of occasions. If a PI had demonstrated the ability to achieve peer-reviewed publications in another discipline as well as in the discipline most directly related to the proposed research, I would be inclined to view that favourably. But that doesn't ...


27

Let me preface my answer by challenging an unwritten assumption of yours: that you have a fixed "personality" which is hampering your potential as a researcher. This simply is false. Nobody is born a good researcher. It takes hard work to become one. Sure, some people have predispositions that help them. But in the end, you cannot avoid doing the work, ...


23

[Warning: Male speaking] If enough people feel the need for such a conference, then there is a need. Since these conferences keep getting held, clearly there is a need for them. Now, in an ideal world, conferences would be coed and everybody would feel welcome everywhere. Unfortunately, this is not an ideal world. Many women feel that they are being ...


20

Being unemployed can significantly decrease your likelihood of successfully landing a job. The preceeding link is one of many stories covering that angle. The best graph describing how bad it is comes from this Atlantic article: The upshot of most of these is that employers have a psychological bias towards employed people. Whether this is "fair" or "...


20

I can't really judge whether the OP's treatment was appropriate or not, but there are situations in which it would be and, in those situations the answer to whether this is "acceptable" would be yes. I also think it is somewhat common, but far from universal. The bottom line is that at some point along the line the student becomes the expert in the ...


20

A PhD is about learning to do research without supervision. It is not only about mastering a particular niche topic. Indeed, even the students that do become professors are likely to eventually move onto topics that they did not study during their PhD. So, even given a near-certainty that one will not be competitive for a faculty position, a PhD is not ...


19

It's only immoral if you mislead them about their career opportunities post-graduation. You should help the student make an informed decision to do a PhD, and if they know what they're going into but choose to do it anyway, it's not yours to judge them for their decision. Refusing to supervise someone because you think they'd do better joining industry ...


18

I have been a TA myself, and I can highly recommend doing that. I had been facing the same problem as you (In my case, I attended the same course before joining it as a TA, but it was restructured in the meantime) and it really helped me to understand the lecturer’s concept and the connections between single course elements. While this may vary from ...


18

Context: I have had candidates in similar situations apply to positions I offered in the past. It's certainly possible - you are not a slave to your current group, and there is no law that says that we cannot hire people who have already started (and quit) a PhD elsewhere. However, in practice, applicants in your situation raise an interesting question for ...


18

It does not matter. It used to be that theses were printed on paper. In those days, they had standard covers so they would all look the same when placed on a shelf in the library. Today nobody cares about a digital cover. Be prepared to provide a copy without the cover if someone asks for it.


17

This idea is based purely on my own experience: As a young researcher, cost is a reasonably significant factor in deciding whether to attend a conference. In some settings the cost can be reduced if you can find someone to share a hotel room with. Finding such a person though can be difficult, particularly if there is no public list of who is attending the ...


17

The normal number of co-authors, if any, is very specific to the different (sub-(sub-))disciplines. In my specific sub-discipline it is normal to have a number of solo publications and a number of publications with one, maybe two, co-authors. But in the same department we have people who do primarily qualitative research and they tell me that it is very ...


17

The point is that in an ideal world we would like people's academic and later career success to be determined solely by their intrinsic talent and by how hard they work. Unfortunately other factors that ought to be irrelevant get in the way and also end up having an effect. One of many examples is the particular issue you mentioned, which is the fact that ...


16

Keep in mind that the number of questions on this site doesn't give any indication of how common such issues are, since people usually only post when something is wrong. We don't hear about all the cases where everything is fine. I don't know any reason why math advisors should inherently be better people than in any other field, and I don't know of any ...


16

I've looked at a lot of CVs of job applicants, for proposal review, and for promotion packages. I've also sat through a lot of review panels for proposals, as well as hiring and promotion committees. I can't think of a reason why publications outside one's field would be looked at negatively by myself, and I've never heard anyone raise any concerns either, ...


15

I would usually expect that the a supervisor had some connection either to the application domain, or the technical domain of a project. I'll give examples from biology, because that's what I do: A PhD might be to use a particular technique, say a new type of microscopy, to study a particular biological process, say cell division. I would expect a ...


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