Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dissertation Progress....and other things

As you all know, I've been feverishly working on my dissertation - analyzing data, writing manuscripts, and revising as needed according to my lab mates and committee's suggestions. It's been a hectic summer. Each week, I set the goal of completing the whole she-bang thing. That hasn't happened, but I make progress - very important and fundamental progress to meeting that ultimate goal.

And if you also follow me on Facebook or Twitter, then you know of my daily cycles of frustrations and near-tear episodes of feeling hopeless. These last weeks have been especially trying. All of my friends, relations, and supporters (on-line and offline) have been so great and encouraging...Thank ya'll! And last week I read this really great blog post - Twelve reasons to finish writing your dissertation by Dr. Free Ride - whom I had the pleasure of meeting earlier this year at ScienceOnline09 - and I was feeling like - "Yeah! I can do it. I will do it!"

However, I will not be ill not be able to defend in August like I so desperately wanted. I depart for France in the middle of the month so I'll have to defend when I return - in September. Yeah, I'm going to France, I think I meant to write a post about it but didn't. I am presenting a paper at the 31st International Ethological Conference held in Rennes, France. Ethology is the study of animal behavior in their natural habitats. I was invited to participate in a symposium all about animal personality and behavioral syndromes. I'll be presenting my dissertation at this conference, so that is one of the many reasons why I have been so keen on making sure my results and interpretations are right on. I'll be the only non-professor participating in this conference - heavy hitters - and I'm presenting an opposing view, so I want to make sure I am spot on and ready for the critiques. But I still think I'll be able to pull off a committee meeting before leaving, giving me some much needed preparation for the meeting, assuming I can get them all in the room at the same time. Plus, my remaining dissertation chapters are shaping up. There's been a lot of surgery, deleting parts and analysis, simply because it just doesn't stick to the main point. The good news is that I will have several extra publications.

I'm also still in to win it for the Blog Your Way to Antarctica contest. I'm still in the top 10, but the competition is intense. Positions 2-6 have seen alot of juggling. I need 3000 votes to get into first place. The contest continues until September 30th, so there is time. But my first priority is completing my dissertation and if things go as planned, I'll be defending the dissertation by the time the results of this contest is in. LOL! And though I am trailing in votes I am amazed my the role of social media and it's ability to reach so many different people so quickly. I know thousands of people have heard of this contest and of my efforts simply because of the forwarded emails, Facebook status updates, Friendfeeds, Re-tweets, and blog posts of dozens of people -many of whom I do not even know personally. I am especially grateful for the support from the SITS, BlogHer, and Blogging While Brown blogging communities. Individuals from each of these group have re-tweeted or posted announcements on my behalf and some have even posted full articles for me. Cynthia at A Shimmy in Spirit is even hosting a comment contest to encourage her readers to vote for me, too! By Voting for me and leaving a comment at her blog, you could win a $25 Starbucks card (and more). Click on the image below and learn about the contest. I just love the image, btw - a brown buxom girl with a wintry scene and coffee cup in hand. That is SO me! How does she know me so well and we've never met? Friends in real life, please testify.

So as much as I would love to go to Antarctica, I'm more excited about sharing what I do - science and nature appreciation with a wider online audience. I hope all of these new eyes will stop by Urban Science Adventures! (c) and stay.


Chickadee said...

You go girl!

I'm so proud of you and your accomplishments! Think of all that you have done and are doing when you get discouraged.

I'll be rooting for you. :)

DNLee said...

Thanks Colleen!

Masters Dissertation said...

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