Episode 14: Are you still a scientist?

Today we’re here to talk to you about that dreaded question everyone is probably asking you if you’re anywhere close to the stage Cari and I are at: “So what’s next?”.

Moving on from science is something I’ve been struggling with lately. If you want to read more about that struggle you can read about it here. I think we came to the conclusion that to be a scientists, not a researcher, you need to be employing the scientific method as a way to answer questions about the world. For example, you can ask a question, figure out a method for answering that question, and then analyze the information you learned to more fully understand that question.

I’m not sure how long I’ll still consider myself a scientist and those ideas may change, but I think the most difficult part is finding a new label for ourselves. I consider myself a community ecologist studying soil invertebrates, but in the next few months that won’t be my title. Hopefully I’ll have a new title…and not just unemployed person.

Finally, we spend a lot of time talking about burn out in this episode, but we’d love to hear your feelings on the topic of burn out. Have you ever felt burnt out during your career? Do you want to share with us? If you feel like sharing a moment where you’ve felt burnt out and how you overcame that we might be sharing them during our next episode.

If you’d like to reach out, please contact us on Twitter, email, or Facebook! All the comments will be anonomous unless you specify otherwise since this could be a touchy subject. Also, please rate us on Apple Podcasts. It would really give us a boost!

And as always, we’ll see you, we love you, goodbye!

Also here is the gopher tortoise that Cari saw while in Florida!

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Gopher tortoises are important keystone species in the southeastern U.S. where they dig tunnels which serve as homes for other organisms (over 350 other organisms according to the Florida fish and wildlife conservation commission!). They are herbivores that munch on low growing plants and live in sandy areas. They are listened as threatened in Florida.

You can learn more about these guys on the Florida fish and wildlife conservation commission. They are a great resource if you want to learn more and help this species and others native to Florida!

Outreach Opportunity!

Hello dear listeners! An opportunity just came across my path and I thought I’d share it with you!

In our outreach episode (episode 7) we talked about an online mentoring service that I participate in called Planting Science. They just sent out an email to all of the current mentors because they are 100 mentors short for the fall!

Being a mentor with Planting Science has been one of my more rewarding experiences. You only need to dedicate a few hours a week and it’s all done through their website. All of the projects are plant related, but you don’t need to be studying plants to be a mentor (because I definitely don’t!). The have a few different themes and you can pick which ones you feel most comfortable mentoring students in. The students come up with their own ideas base on what they’re learning in class, and your role is to help them think through things they’re struggling with, examine what their results mean, and most importantly, think of the scientific method. It’s a wonderful experience for the kids to have some contact with a real scientist and learn that we are human. In my experience, it also encourages girls to think they could also have experience in a STEM field, which is super cool.

So, please consider being a mentor! If you have any questions, about any part of this process, I would be more than happy to answer them! Comment them here, or email us at bugsandstuffpodcast@gmail.com.

To find out more about being a mentor (or to sign up!) got to plantingscience.org

Scroll down until you see this:

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**I know it still says Spring 2017, but I promise that means for Fall 2017 too!

And click on any of those links!

Added bonus, if you’re an early career scientist, you’re eligible for a fellowship opportunity! Definitely consider applying!

 

Episode 13: Cricket Powder

 
Today we give you an actual episode about bugs! We’re talking about crickets and cricket powder with Dr. Aaron Dossey of All Things Bugs LLC. Dr. Dossey is a business owner, scientist, and fellow bug lover that has developed a method for drying crickets to make cricket powder. His powder has been featured in many different products including some companies on Shark Tank and on “Chopped”.

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Now you might be saying, “Ok Bugs & Stuff sure this stuff has been on chopped, but what does this stuff taste like?”. We can say that we’ve tried it and it wasn’t too bad. When you open the bag it has a slightly nutty flavor which is pretty easy to cover up with other ingredients. I wouldn’t say it would be great to eat alone, but you don’t usually do this with a plane tasting protein powder either. We recently made double chocolate mint cookies and they actually turned out pretty well (the recipe will follow shortly if you are interested). Dr. Dossey said that this cricket powder can also be used as a meat substitute when rehydrated. We haven’t tried this recipe, but as your Bugs&Stuff chef I may give it a go and I’ll let you know how that one turns out as well!

What makes Dr. Dossey’s cricket powder different from other powders is the way that he pasteurizes and dries his crickets. It’s actually rather difficult to dry a cricket because they have natural defenses against desiccation. When they are dried whole they seep out their natural oils and fats creating a bit of a mess. Really you need to grind through the crickets to fully dry them. This is similar to the way that whey protein is made. This method allows the powder to be quite fine in texture. It’s smooth like protein powder and easily incorporates as a substitute for protein power (or flour if you’re planning on making protein filled cookies).

Overall, it was a pleasure talking to Dr. Dossey. It was particularly interesting to hear about the food science and processing! We hope you check out Dr. Dossey’s cricket powder. Let us know if you try any interesting recipes.

Additionally, here are a couple of other articles mentioned throughout this podcast.

Dr. Dossey’s book Insects as Sustainable Food Ingredients
Invertebrate Studies Institute
Nature Article

Breed Tasty Crickets

NatGeo Article

Raise your own crickets!

Also find Dr. Dossey and his groups on twitter and Facebook:

@Dr_Bugenstein

@Allthingsbugs

@GrioPro

@ISIBugs

Love you, see you, goodbye!

Episode 12: Survival Guide to a Thesis Defense

Today we give you some tips and tricks to surviving a thesis defense. Cari and I just defended within the past couple weeks, which you probably know if you follow any of our social media platforms.

Some of the main take-aways from this episode were to practice, practice, practice. The best way to know your presentation is to practice it a lot. This doesn’t mean that you should memorize your entire talk. Sometimes that can sound scripted and inorganic. Make it interesting and fun for your audience to listen and understand.

Taking time to think about your audience is also important. If you have a chance, it might be helpful to present your information to a more general audience. This allows you to know if a non-scientist can understand your work. Of course, this is a fine line to walk. You also want to connect with your committee members and there will be slides that a general audience probably will not understand (most likely your statistics). Use this as a way to learn to speak to a general audience without dumbing down your work.

Finally, take time after you’re done defending to put it away. If you have time before any deadlines, take a couple of days to a week off. Don’t look at your thesis. Don’t look at your committee’s comments. This will allow you to have a fresh pair of eyes and a much needed break. Everyone needs to maintain their sanity while writing a thesis.

Defending a thesis can seem daunting, but you will do well! We believe in you! If you’ve defended your thesis please let us know in the comments. We can only talk about our experience as master’s students but we’d love to hear from PhD’s.

Anyway, we’ll see you, we love you, goodbye!