Field of Science

More than just Mosses

My life as postdoctoral research fellow at the University of California, Davis is more than just mosses. I am also an active member of my postdoctoral union. The union has a number of roles such as giving postdocs a voice to maintain good pay rates and healthcare benefits, facilitating professional development with panel discussions and computer programming workshops, and creating a social network through mixers and BBQs

Yes, it does cost some money to be a union member. For me it is about $30 in fair-share fees and $10 in membership dues per month, but I think my contributions are going to good use. Besides helping UC postdocs to get a pay raise this year, I am happy to say that my contributions have helped to support the graduate students at the University of Connecticut to unionize. I earned my PhD in 2011 studying bryophytes in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department at UConn and thus I am particularly invested in the university maintaining a strong graduate program that continues to produce amazing science and great researchers.

Having competitive wages relative to the cost of living and good benefits were some of the factors that drew me to the University of Connecticut for graduate school. I was also considering and accepted at UC Berkeley, but at the time they were paying less than UConn and had a much higher cost of living.

I hope that the University of Connecticut will move forward with contract negotiations with the graduate students. From the latest updates, it sounds like the process is being delayed and dragging on longer than necessary. The graduate students and the university have better places to spend their time and resources than on prolonged negotiations. 

I hope that the University of Connecticut will value and compensate graduate students fairly for all the significant contributions that they make to teaching and research at the university. Graduate students teach many of the laboratory and discussion sections, as well as designing and carrying out research that results in top notch publications. Just check out graduate student Lily Lewis's publication on bird dispersal of bryophyte diaspores or Manette Sandor's research studying the influence of remnant trees on tropical forest regeneration. Lily and Manette are both great scientists and their continued success is as graduate students is dependent upon the university agreeing to a contract that establishes standards for fair pay and benefits. 

Add your support to the graduate students at the University of Connecticut by signing this petition. Click here for a link to the petition. 

You can also follow the UConn grad student union @GEUUAW or through their website

September 2014 Desktop Calendar

We are off on vacation this week visiting friends and family in New York and Connecticut. On one of our hikes we came across this great patch of Leucobryum. I couldn't decide which shot I liked better for the calendar so I put it together for both. Enjoy!

September Desktop Calendar - Option #1

September Desktop Calendar - Option #2

1 - Single click on the image to open it up in a new window. (If you use the image directly from the blog post you will lose a lot of resolution.)

2 - Right-click (or ctrl-click) on the image, and chose the option that says, "Set as Desktop Background" or "Use as Desktop Picture". The wording may vary.

3 - If the image does not fit your desktop neatly, you may have to adjust the image (Mac: System Preferences - Desktop and Screen Saver - Desktop; Windows: Control Panel - Display - Desktop) and choose "Fill screen" as the display mode of your background image.