Entering the blog world again

My my it’s been a while since I have been on my blog. In many ways, I have missed this writing platform. I have been doing so much writing on manuscripts, job applications, and the like that it is nice to sit down at a computer and finally just write on my blog again.

Much has happened in this lag time. I don’t care to pretend that most of you care in least bit what has happened during this time, so I will just highlight a few exciting things relevant (or mostly relevant) to the world of teaching, research, and science. Here we go:

  • I went to University of California Santa Barbara for a two week summer institute in cognitive neuroscience where I got the opportunity to dissect human brains, get an fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) and examine the data, work with FML (a software program designed to analyze fMRI data), be around genius graduate students in the field, and oh yeah, hang out at the beach. It was an incredible opportunity, funded by NIMH, that I would recommend all psychology Ph.D. students engage in. It reignited a spark in me to make learning hands on and exciting. Obviously, I don’t have too many human brains on hand or a giant magnet (fMRI machine), but the principle remains the same. We learn best by doing and doing is fun. So as I approach the fall semester, I am brainstorming how to “do” more things with my students in order to make learning hands on.
  • Speaking of “doing,” I am putting together a 12-week long graduate student seminar/workshop on writing. That’s right – the most avoided and hated component of academia. Despite the fact that I am constantly reminded I should be a more productive writer, I actually quite enjoy the process. Nothing could be better to me than to have a three or more hours blocked off in my mornings just to write! To write manuscripts, on my blog, anything really. I find it so refreshing and rewarding. It’s so exciting to see your data come alive and tell a story in a manuscript and (hopefully) ultimately see the printed page (i.e., journal article or book chapter). I do not pretend to believe that I have anything to offer these students other than resources from experts and enthusiasm. We will be using Paul Silvia’s book How to Write a Lot, some excerpts from Bob Boice’s Advice for New Faculty Members, and perhaps a workbook…more details to come. For any of you writers out there, advice is welcome!
  • Speaking of Bob Boice, I met this pleasant gentleman this summer. For those of you who do not know, this guys is THE GUY on writing productivity, especially in the social sciences. I got the rare opportunity to drive him for almost two hours  to the airport. We discussed jobs, life, and most importantly, writing! His comments, encouragements, and tips were very helpful. In fact, I have been doing brief daily sessions (small writing sessions each day) since he left. It’s been a difficult but nice exercise in writing self-discipline. I’m hoping I continue.
  • Now I’m off to another summer fellowship – Summer Institute in Social Psychology (SISP). This one is in my area of specialty, so I am very excited. I’ll try to blog on how it’s going.

Stay cool and enjoy the summer. I’ll try to stop by more often.


About Megan Johnson Shen

I am a social psychologist graduating with my Ph.D. from Baylor University this May and moving to NYC this summer to start a new job as a postdoctoral researcher at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in the Cancer Prevention and Control Department. I love the brain, human behavior, and anything to do with understanding them better. I love research and a good dinner party. Fine wine and cheese - I'm there. Interesting experimental data? I'll probably show for that too. View all posts by Megan Johnson Shen

One response to “Entering the blog world again

  • betterlivingthroughscience

    Glad you enjoyed your fMRI experience – I find it always really enthuses students to get to see a scan and play with some data. It’s just a shame that the practicalities of fMRI mean that it’s only possible with small groups of students.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: