Episode 19: What’s the quality of your water?

Do you know how your water is doing? Do you buy plastic water bottles because your worried about water quality or your tap water doesn’t taste good? Well this is the podcast for you. Today we have another exciting guest for you! Andrew Lombardo is a listener who reached out to us because he wanted to get more into science communication. He works with water quality technology where he has been working with water quality technology throughout his career, and he gave us a lot of insight into how we can become more informed about water quality.

With the Flint water crisis, many people may be concerned about their water. While Andrew said that the U.S. usually does a pretty good job ensuring the quality of water, it’s never bad to check on your water. Especially since after it leaves the treatment site, the water has to travel through many pipes which may be contaminated.

The EPA is a great place to start if you want to learn more about water quality. Here is a good link if you’d like to find out how to get your water tested. Depending on your municipality, you may be able to get your water tested for free. Otherwise, it may cost you a small fee.

If you do find that your water quality is an issue or you want to eliminate some of the bad flavor in your water, you can check out these sites for looking for a certified filter.




Getting your water tested and understanding what disinfectant is used by your municipality can help you get the right filter. After you do this you could save a lot of money, if you are always buying plastic water bottles. Did you know that the bottled water can cost you $346 dollars a year according to consumer reports if you buy a bottle every day? Filling up a reusable water bottle once a day would only cost you an average of 48 cents for the WHOLE year! Other than saving money, using a reusable water bottle will help limit the amount of single use plastic that is used all over the world. Which helps our world be a little cleaner.

Anyway, if you’d like to get in touch with Andrew here are a few of his links.


His website



Episode 18: Junior Academy of AMAZING

Hi everyone and welcome to episode 18. We can’t believe that we’re only 2 episodes away from 20! Today we are bringing you a great interview with, Smiti Shah, a member of the Junior Academy of the Global STEM Alliance.

We’re highlighting the Junior Academy this week because Cari has been working with them over the past year, and it is a great way for high school students to get a head start in research. Students are introduced to one another from around the world. They then get to work with a mentor on a STEM project with all of those people.

The goal of the Junior Academy is to work in groups to help solve problems through innovation. Some notable projects have focused on helping underserved communities have access to clean water and reducing fruit spoilage. While talking to Smiti, it amazed me how talented and bright these students were. It really made me excited about the future to know that there are this brilliant students, the innovators of tomorrow all over the globe.

I wish I had the chance to do something like this growing up, so I strongly encourage any of you to talk about this with the young scientists in your life. OR if your currently a scientist, and have some free time to give to students, sign up to be a mentor or an expert. Cari’s experience has been incredibly rewarding.

So check it out!

Junior Academy Website

Until next time sweet listeners! We love you, we’ll see you, goodbye!

Episode 17: Women in STEM

Hey there everyone. We hope you enjoyed our double feature two weeks ago. Today we are bringing you along to talk about women in STEM. It’s a topic near to our heart because after all we are women in STEM.

We cover a variety of topics in this episode, but a couple of events really spurred on our need to talk about this topic. First, there was the whole thing on Twitter about the Benefit makeup add. Here is one Twitter post that I think counters that add quite nicely.

This add really infuriates me because it makes it seem like young girls have to choose between if they want beauty or brains, when in reality you can have both. Weather or not you wear makeup should have no effect on school or how nerdy you are.

Second, this article came out and analyzes the experiences of women, with a focus of women of color, in the workplace. Some of their findings were shocking. For example, 40% of women of color reported feeling unsafe in their workplace. UNSAFE. That’s not uncomfortable or made to feel lesser in their abilities, but they felt threatened. What’s worse is these feelings often made women miss out of career building opportunities.

What Cari and I discuss during this episode is the importance of bringing together all groups when discussing these issues. While it’s important to have women and other minorities discuss their issues together, it’s also helpful to discuss these experiences with a broader group. After all, these issues not only bring down the people directly involved. If individuals feel unsafe within an environment they are more likely to leave that environment. This leads to less diversity within workplaces and fewer great minds working together to solve the world’s problems.

So let’s try to get together to concur these issues for women and minorities so that we can ultimately build a better more understanding world!

Here’s the second article we talked about.

Check out Emily Calandrelli here! And her show’s here!

Check out Emily Graslie too! And her show The Brain Scoop!

Please take a moment to review us on Apple Podcasts and take our survey!

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.

Another Outreach Opportunity!

Hello listeners!

You may remember way back to Episode 7 when we talked about outreach, or maybe to the post I made just a few weeks ago, but you certainly know we LOVE outreach!

One of the things I really enjoy doing is mentoring other students virtually. If you’re interested in trying something like this, we have the perfect opportunity for you!

The Junior Academy of the Global STEM Alliance is looking for new mentors! This group is particularly fun because you have the chance to work with students from around the WORLD! It’s so fun and rewarding! These students are absolutely BRILLIANT!

I’ve included a message directly from them below. Please check them out! If you have any questions at all, I would be more than happy to talk to you about my experience!

The Junior Academy is currently recruiting mentors and experts with experience in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)! Click here to apply to take part in this entirely virtual experience, and have the chance to shape the next generation of STEM innovators!

The Junior Academy introduces exceptional students to an online community where they gain access to best in class STEM resources and work together to solve real-world problems. STEM professionals will mentor student teams during 70-day innovation challenges, with multiple challenges a year for participants to choose from. You can be a part of this global community of solvers by applying to be a mentor or subject matter expert! The next challenge cycle begins in September.

Qualified mentors and experts are:

  • Graduate students, postdocs, or professionals working in a STEM-related field
  • Have some experience conducting scientific research
  • Able to access at least one communication device with internet capabilities
  • Passionate about engaging and inspiring the next generation of STEM innovators

Click here to learn more about this opportunity or start your application today. Applications for the fall challenges are due July 15th, 2017.

You can also find an overview on JA mentoring opportunities here!