Monday, July 12, 2021

Book 3 Draft: "Remarkable Women and a Life in Science of the Isotope Queen"


Isotope Lab, Carnegie, 2007

What others are saying about the Isotope Queen’s Blogs



“I always look forward to your next edition of your wonderful blogs. Your insight and superb writing always makes me think of something relevant in my career. Fortunately my health is good, but I have experienced many of the scenarios you so aptly describe relating to the inequalities of women in science. As a Career Development professional, I have coached many women in options to consider as the last 30+ years have been incredibly difficult for women to be successful in their scientific professional paths of their dreams. Some women chose to change career paths by identifying more "equality" in the academic route; others have found different career paths that use their scientific education. Thanks for your words of wisdom. I try to pass it on the next generation of scientists to consider the obstacles you encountered and try to figure out a way to shine!”


“As always, your blog is encouraging and uplifting. My life feels impossibly overwhelming and it’s hard to imagine a future in which things feel any better. I come to read your blog to be recharged once again. “


“You are the strongest person I know, and you haven't let ALS get you down. You keep looking to the future, and hold on to how you can continue to make a difference in the world. I want to be you when I grow up!”


 “I'm so grateful you take the time to write these blogs and share the kindness, love, and support you advocate for and actively build in your family and academic communities. I am glad people can see what it's like to be not only a good academic, but person as a whole, through your writings and stories. It is such a joy to hear such a kind voice in what often is a swirl of negativity in ego driven-science. Your voice is a delightful light, and I'm thankful you share it. Cheers & many well-wishes from a PhD student from afar.”


“This was a wonderful reminder for how to greet every day. Wishing you all the best. Your posts have been a beautiful guide through how to find real success with people, in work, and in living mindfully.”


“I have yet to build a lab, but I took notes for when I do finally have a collection of students.”


“I needed to read this today. Thank you so much. I look forward to your blog posts very much. I think I relate a lot to your 30 year old self.”


 “It was a joy to read about one of my heroes from another of my heroes. Sue hired me as a technician at the Univ. of Arkansas and still took the time to teach me to appreciate science even though I was majoring in German at that time. Sue sets a standard, no pun intended, that few can match.”


“Your blog made me chuckle and refresh all my cruise memories. Indeed, research expeditions have been one of the most exciting aspects of my career (and life).”


“Thank you for taking the time to jot down lessons learned for the rest of us. This and your other blog posts are so valuable.”


“Wow, lots of great advice in there. I also love the McDonald's talk! Not because I want to go around firing people, but these kinds of conversations can be so stressful - that that approach makes the point so simply and without drama.”


 “Love the "McDonalds" talk. Tucking that idea in my back pocket for when I need it... Thanks for all the great advice!”


“This is very encouraging essay for young woman researchers and students in Japan. I introduced this essay with my Japanese twitter. I hope many Japanese young woman scientists realize that to be woman is not always disadvantage to be scientists.”


“Terrific essay! I’m going to spend the next day or two trying to imagine a scenario that would result in someone calling you a M-#*~@=€. “


“Such an incredible experience I had as a PhD student. Learned so much!! The science, the fun, and the support was amazing! Thank you Marilyn from inviting me to many discussions, meetings, field trips, to your lab and home!!! Such a productive time, and still lots of data to publish.... Thank you for remembering and sharing so many good memories!”




Draft Preface


                  Through the Earth Science Women’s Network (ESWN) I learn about women’s struggles and challenges they face today. Frequently, they chronicle trying to negotiate the minefield of getting hired and promoted in a world where men still have the greatest sway. Childcare continues to be an issue, as well as maternity leave—or lack thereof. As has been the case around the world, the group is concerned with diversity, equity and inclusion work, something I have devoted some of my time to this past year. Several of the chapters in this book give my personal journey as equity advisor at UC Riverside.

                  Two years into writing a weekly blog about life, in particular life as a woman scientist, I decided to pull together the work that I have done on issues important to women. When I publish a blog, I post announcements to groups on Facebook as well as send an email to the stable isotope geochemistry listserve. The isotope geochemistry group is my most devoted readership, followed by a subset of women who are part of ESWN. I had tried about a year ago to have ESWN sponsor the publication of the Isotope Queen memoir, but the group didn’t have the necessary bandwidth to do so. I went ahead and self-published two versions of the memoir—one highlighting advice and the other chronicling my science adventures. As of this writing the two books in either eBook or paper form have reached over 600 readers. For an arcane topic such as stable isotope biogeochemistry, I call this a success.

                  There are several books about women scientists who made it (for example, The Door in the Dream), but not many about those of us who work day-by-day advancing our lives, often seemingly taking very small steps. I highlight the lives of several women who have enhanced my life—both scientifically and personally.         

                  2020-2021 has also been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disproportionately affected women, and has prompted me to write about how the pandemic has affected me. As a physically disabled person, having to switch to remote learning was a bonus for me. I was able to carry out my work as a “retired” professor via Zoom, an experience that would have probably not worked out for me otherwise. As the restrictions from the pandemic lift, I wonder how connected I will able to be.

                  I hope this collection of blog essays will serve as a fun and informative read for women of all ages—as well as men who want to know more.



Table of Contents




Setting the Stage: Discovering science as a child

                  Favorite Times: Going down the shore with Grandmom Hencinski

                  Favorite Times: 6th grade (1963-1964), the last year as a “kid”

                  Favorite Times: Junior Prom 1969

Advice for 20somethings

              Favorite Times: Starting as a Young Scientist at Penn State

              Standing out as a woman scientist

              Branching out as a Postdoc at the Geophysical Lab

         Early Years as a Female Geoscientist

People: Building Emotional Intelligence and Stamina

              People: Meeting Chris Swarth and Building a Family

                  People: Lifelong Friend Franny Stein Kasen

                  Before the #Metoo era  

Advice to my 30something self

                  People: Marjorie Imlay: Secretary and Assistant to the Director 1955-2008

                  Favorite Times: Motherhood and what you’ll learn



                  Favorite Times: Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary

Advice for 40 somethings

                  People: Noreen Tuross

                  People: Beverly Johnson and Roxane Bowden

                  Scientific Fieldwork: Is it for you?


                  Cruising for Science


                  People: Carmen Aguilar


Advice for folks in their 50s

                  Science (or Work) Mother

                  People: Sue Ziegler


                  People: Babes of Science: Liane Benning and Pamela Conrad

                  People: Valery Terwilliger--Can we really afford to lose this top scientist?

Personal Reflections: Religion and Science

                  People: Lisa Kourtis, a Remarkable “Ordinary” Woman


                  Although I am a Liberal, I am also a Patriot


                  Favorite Times: Thanksgiving


                  Favorite Times: Your Natal Home


People: Kate Freeman


People: Anat Shahar


Creating and Maintaining a Lab Group


                  Ideal Lab size


                  How big is too big?


                  Navigating Promotions, Reviews, and Tenure


                  The art of science supervision


                  Troubleshooting an Isotope Laboratory


                  People: Carolin Frank


                  Teaching the students I have—not the students I thought I would have


                  Harnessing your potential


              People: Half measures never work—Maxine Singer


Hitting the glass ceiling—then breaking it


Ending a long career


People: My mother Florence Fogel at 93


People: Frolleagues

Post Career Work: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion 2020


                  A sense of belonging—what keeps a scientist engaged?


                  Is “Science” neutral and objective? —A woman’s perspective


Challenging Time: The COVID-19 pandemic


Years of ALS (2016-2021) and Counting

A good situation is a bad situation. A bad situation is a good situation.


Rounding Third Base and Heading Home

Cards from Franny and Flowers the Rumbles   My daughter Dana is marrying George Goryan on June 25 at our home in Mariposa...