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Farewell 2011, welcome 2012!

Before we get too much further into 2012, I’d better share my year-end review post. Last year was a bit crazy, between major life events and state and university shake-ups, but both I and my academic career survived! In 2011, I:

  • Attended the 4th International Biogeography Society Meeting in Iraklion, Crete in January. If you can figure out how to be a biogeographer, do it – not only do they meet in really cool places, but biogeographers are asking important questions like, “How will species keep pace with climate change?” and “Why are there more species in the tropics?”
  • Spent all my free time in February and March at the Wisconsin State Capitol. I got a crash course in the value of Twitter for social justice, too (I shot up to over 1,000 followers almost overnight, and two of my tweets were the “most re-tweeted” on Twitter!).
  • Was awarded a University of Wisconsin Peer Mentor Award in March.
  • Started The Contemplative Mammoth in July! My blog had around 29,000 hits in 2011, and was nominated for the CollegeScholarships.org Blogging Scholarship. My most popular posts were How to argue with a scientist: a guide,  my Womanspace round-up, the Anonymous Author’s How to get a faculty job in 20 not-so-easy steps, and my response to Mark Davis’ Nature commentary on invasive species.

One of my photos for #wherethesciencehappens, a 2011 tweet-fest I hosted for people to share their lab, office and field photos.

  • Attended the International Quaternary Association’s XVII Congress in Bern, Switzerland! I gave a talk in the Extinction Events session, fell in love with milchekaffe and Swiss chocolate, and got to meet some awesome European researchers for the first time.
  • Attended the Ecological Society of America annual meeting in Austin in August, where I got to meet some of my new-found Twitter friends for the first time, saw some wonderful talks, hosted a symposium on What is Natural?, and gave a talk on the ecological implications of the end-Pleistocene extinctions.
  • Got married in Vermont over Labor Day weekend! Work-life-balance: I have it. Sadly, there hasn’t been time for a honeymoon yet, but I’m hoping 2012 has one in store.
  • Participated in Donors Choose, where I helped raise $784 for classrooms in need.
  • Finished a chapter of my dissertation, and had it accepted for publication! Coming soon to a Quaternary science journal near you…

2012 is going to be an even bigger year, I suspect. Currently, my to-do list includes completing and defending my dissertation, and landing a postdoctoral research position (at an as-yet unknown location; more on this in the near future). I do have a few academic resolutions, too:

1) Take more photographs in general, and especially when I travel and in the field. In fact, I’m posting a photo a day on Twitter to capture the transition from #phd2012 to whatever comes next. I’ll be posting weekly round-ups of these photos on my blog, too.

2) Read more papers! I’m trying to read an academic paper a day, to better keep up with new literature and to brush up on classics. This isn’t as difficult as it seems– lunchtime, bus rides, and long stints on the elliptical are great times to sneak a paper in.

Categories: Academia Grad School

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Jacquelyn Gill

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