Episode 16: Updates, interviews, outreach, and more!

Join us for this multi-subject episode! We talk a little bit about what we’ve been doing lately, which includes interview advice, outreach advice, and a little bit about what its like being a lady in STEM.

Caitlin talks about the amazing interviews she’s been having lately, so everyone PLEASE cross your fingers for her! I’ll talk about my time in Atlanta teaching at a cub scout camp! I also give a little advice about planning for a day camp like that one. Moving on, we talk a little bit about the sexism I experienced while there because it was the first time I experienced something like that directly. We know that we were lucky to only be facing this now. Some ladies experience sexism daily in STEM fields. So, its important to talk about. I also ramble excitedly about the amazing nature centers in southern Florida. We hope you enjoy this update!

There’s also still time to take our survey! Click here and we will forever love you!

P.S. sincerest apologies for my cold throughout this episode! Oh and in case you were wondering, Caitlin caught her first lightning bug after we recorded this episode!

Updates on the hotdog-sandwich debate: most are saying no, a hotdog is not a sandwich for various reasons. Some say it’s because it’s on a bun, not sandwich bread. Others say it’s because the bun is not in two parts. And a few have said it’s because the hotdog is a log of meat and not sliced meat. What’s your opinion?



The adorable scene put up at the cub scout camp that was absolutely cute enough to share!


The amazing displays at Biscayne National Park that I loved!


A very cool nature center in the keys! This is the one with the amazing light up map I was talking about!


Me petting a nurse shark at the Key West Aquarium (disclaimer: I was also worried about her carrying around the shark out of water, but she assured me he would be okay).


The hospital room in The Turtle Hospital.


Turtle who have Bubble Butt Syndrome. You can see the added weight very clearly on the turtle to the left.


This turtle, named Chuck Norris, has been through a lot, including a boat strike and a shark attack!


Other turtles in the hospital for various reasons.


Here’s a turtle with many fibropapillomas on the face, neck, and front flippers.


Awesome links from this podcast:

Special shout out to Cyber Squid Radio’s Logan who made us a new jingle! You can also find them about Sound Cloud. It’s a podcast about science news and science in pop culture!

Biscayne National Park

The Turtle Hospital

Femmes of STEM! A podcast about the wonderful ladies in STEM that are unfortunately often forgotten.



Episode 15: DOUBLE FEATURE! Interviews with real life people

Hello dear listeners! We know we’ve been missing for a few weeks, but we are trying to make up for that now. Today we have a double feature podcast for you all with interviews from some lovely people to help you understand the ins and outs of being a scientist and changing careers/getting your first career. Whether you want to pursue academia or you’re taking a different path these episodes will hopefully bring your some advise.

Part 1

Part 2

Below I have also posted the information about the Pelini Lab and Shannon as well as Julie’s instagram (she takes some great photos).

Pelini Lab Website 

Shannon’s Twitter

Shannon’s BGSU webpage

Julie’s Instagram

Please take a second to take our survey too! We’ve got some ideas that we want to run by you all! We appreciate your time and answers!


Upcoming Episodes

So unfortunately, Cari and I have been super busy these past couple weeks and we don’t have an episode for you this week, BUT we promise that we have something exciting coming up.

Last episode, we asked you all if you’ve ever felt burnt out during your experience in graduate school or throughout life in general. We got some great responses, which is so awesome because we love hearing from you all. After hearing your responses, we decided we wanted to focus on different fields and experiences of people in our lives that have been in science and either have pursued academia or have taken a completely different path from science. Again let us know if you have any thoughts on this!

As far as burn out, I’d like to talk a little about the responses we got from our listeners. One of the most interesting things I heard from a listener was the impact that mental health and inclusivity has on individuals. These aspects aren’t something that Cari and I discussed as issues related to our own feelings of burn out, but they can effect other people. Academia and the sciences can often be difficult for your mental wellbeing. If you want to hear more about mental health you should listen to our podcast about it, but I think what is often missing in academia is empathy. Advisors and other individuals often do not understand that in order to do good work you need to maintain a healthy work-life balance and sound mental health. Without these important pieces I can understand why it would be so hard to continue in the field. Burn out may be unavoidable.

Additionally, the stress that academia puts on minorities is also daunting. While I believe it is easy to think that your department is completely inclusive, especially when it seems everyone is trying to show their inclusivity these days, there are pockets where minorities are treated differently. These differences can cause someone to become burn out simply because the environment they work in is toxic.

It’s really important if you are feeling burn out because of these issues that you seek out help. Many universities and programs have access to free resources to help students cope with these issues (well free is relative you probably pay for them in your fees so you should use them!). Additionally, a listener also brought up the importance of seeking out the disabilities services at your university.

Ultimately, I’m sure many people will feel the strain of burn out at some point. Right now I’m feeling burnt out because of research/a lack of trying something new. I’ve never taken a break from school or research except for a short summer where I was still surrounded by and thinking about grad school. This has left me feeling very happy with my decision to not pursue academia. I think I’ve also found other things that I enjoy much more (outreach and communication!!!). Outreach and communication make me feel like I’m making a tangible difference and using my skills to make the world a better place. While I’m sure I could accomplish this in academia, I think the stress and the culture would make it much more difficult.

Anyway, we’re sorry for the lack of an actual podcast this week but we hope that you’ll stay tuned for the 27th for an epic installation of Bugs&Stuff. If you have any insight into working in academia, leaving academia for another science related career, or getting out of science all together, we would love to hear it and maybe share it on the podcast with your permission of course. You can contact us at bugsandstuffpodcast@gmail.com!

Also I’m going to leave you with this article I read recently talking about leaving a PhD program. Hopefully it will help any of you that are struggling with this decision. At one point in the article, it is discussed that leaving an academic program could be seen as a career move rather than a failure. Please don’t think of yourself as a failiure if this is you. Everyone needs to make the best decision for themselves in order to be happy.

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!


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!

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!

Episode 11: Science Journal for Kids

As the disconnect between scientists and the public grows there is an undeniable need for the world to become more science literate. This begins at the early stages of learning. The Science Journal for Kids, created by Tanya Dimitrova, is a non-profit that converts scientific papers into the papers that can be easily understood by students.

This project began 4 years ago, while Tanya was teaching high school environmental science in Texas. She wanted her students to use peer reviewed scientific articles for a project but quickly learned that these papers were far too difficult for  her students to understand. To help them better understand the material, Tanya used her background in science to adapt the papers into something that her students could understand. Thus, Science Journal for Kids was born!

Her idea grew from an idea to help her students in Texas to help students and teachers around the world connect with science. They are slowly expanding and would like to ultimately connect researchers with students through a forum where students can ask questions. Not only will this benefit the students, but it may also allow researchers to gain unique feedback on their work.

The best part of the program, though, that it is open access. This means that teachers get free access to all of the scientific articles and materials, some of which include videos. If you are a teacher or know a teacher that wants to incorporate interesting and relevant scientific material into the classroom definitely check out the Science Journal for Kids. The links are below to all of the website and other social media accounts!

Additionally, if you enjoyed the podcast and want to give us a rating or review that would be great! We want to know if our listeners are enjoying our content.

Science Journal for Kids links!






Episode 10: Cross Podication with Arthro-Pod

Today is our 10th episode everyone! You don’t know how excited we are to be posting this for all of you! We love all the support we’ve gotten throughout this process and cannot thank you, lovely listeners, for taking the time to hear what we have to say every week.

In this episode we had the pleasure of doing some cross podication, sorry we couldn’t help ourselves, with Dr. Jonathan Larson from the University of Nebraska and host of Artho-Pod. We talk about all things podcast in this blog and basically get to know one another and why we each started podcasting.

We also spend a fair amount of time nerding out about our favorite bugs, so if you’ve been waiting for some bug related content here it is people!

Definitely spend some time checking out all of his episodes over on iTunes! He has some great interviews with other insect people. Also if you enjoyed this podcast please let us know and rate us on iTunes. It helps us out immensely and a great to know what you all want to hear from the podcast!

If you’d like to follow Dr. Jonathan Larson here are his links