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!

Changing climate will impact our health

Lyme disease, zika, dengue fever, allergies, food shortages, oh my! Today I want to talk about something that everyday people rarely think about: health and climate change. It’s likely that the changes we are seeing around the globe will have huge impacts on our health and the health of our loved ones.

Recently, Bowling Green State University held a symposium on the effects of climate change on health. I spent a good amount of time helping my advisor, who was one of the speakers on the panel, research and put together a presentation on the effects of climate change on ecology that will effect health and boy was it eye opening! I had a vague idea of how climate change would effect health but I didn’t know the extent and now I’m worried about people! But before I get into the specifics I want to talk a little about the panel.

The University brought in prominent members of the community to talk about the impacts of climate change featuring keynote speaker Dr. Shannon Ore, Dr. Tim Davis of NOAA, Dr. Shannon Pelini (our badass advisor and) BGSU biology faculty, and Ryan Wichman a meteorologist from WTOL. They all highlighted the important information about climate change and how it will effect our economy, politics, and health. I want to highlight some interesting things that I took from the talks and give you some ways to prevent health impacts of climate change. I care about people and while researching it became apparent that this will affect everyone in some way.

I think the number one take away message from this talk was that climate change is going to make everything worse. This is one of the main reasons that we should be fighting to stop it. It is difficult to think far into the future, especially when we have other more immediate issues going on in our lives, but at this point we no longer have to imagine what climate change will do because we are seeing the effects right now.

Diseases are creeping closer and closer to people as their vectors (mosquitoes, ticks, and other critters) move northward due to warmer temperatures. Zika has recently been in the news but other mosquito borne disease are also moving northward. Also, NPR wrote a great article about Lyme disease here is a sneak peek below of the spread. Lyme disease can cause a bullseye rash at the bite site and if it isn’t treated it can lead to cronic fatigue, joint and muscle pain, and in later stages physical disability.

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We are also seeing increases in the amount of pollen as plants spread to new areas and grow larger and more potent. These plants move because again northern regions are becoming warmer but also because of increases in carbon dioxide (CO2). Plants use CO2 to grow and that means more CO2 leads to larger plants.

We often say “Not in our backyard” when referring to bad things happening. Climate change forces us to question how large is our metaphorical backyard? Because we don’t live in a bubble and our world is connected, if a part of the country suddenly has a climate change induced drought and that area grows a large proportion of our food, our “backyard” suddenly seems a lot larger. It may encompass the whole country or the whole world. We need to realize that climate change will eventually affect everyone.

The New York Times recently published information from Yale, which shows how Americans think climate change will affect their health. From these results, it appears that at least half of Americans think climate change is happening, fewer people think it’s human caused, but throughout the majority of the country, save a few spots in southern Texas and California, only about 30% of people in counties across the U.S. believe climate change will harm them personally.

It’s easy to forget about climate change when you live in a relatively unaffected area, but people are feeling the effects even now. A group of physicians, the Medical Society Consortium on Climate Health, recently put out a review of the effects of climate change on their patients. They have a variety of resources including case studies but mostly they highlight the potential health effects of climate change from fires, disease vectors, food shortages, disasters, and mental health effects that follow any of these traumatic events.

In order to protect yourself from the health impacts of climate change you should be more vigilant about insect repellent at all times of the year. Bugs don’t pay attention to seasons, they only care about the weather and if it’s warm they may be out! In Ohio, we had a couple of really warm days in February and March. People who are spending time outside on these days, especially if your walking around the woods, should pay attention to ticks. Additionally, if you’re an allergy sufferer you may want to stock up on allergy medication early and keep it handy because pollen may become worse or spread further in the coming seasons.

Speaking of pollen, there are some things that you can do to protect those bugs that are important for our crops. Pollinators have seen declines for many reasons lately, but one of those reasons may be climate related. Planting pollinator friendly plants in your yard may help increase the number of pollinators that we rely on to pollinate our crops. If you’re feeling really bug friendly try creating a bug hotel for your flying friends! I wish I had a yard so I could create one!

Look even The Brain Scoop’s Emily Graslie is doing it!

Finally, talk to your doctor if you notice any weird symptoms or you just want to talk about issues that may be related to your area please ask your doctor! It’s so important for everyone to be on top of these issues so that we can all stay healthy!

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



Support sci comm and sci art!

Our labmate, Amanda, is planning to paint an awesome mural in our town depicting ecosystem services that we often take for granted. It will be beautiful and educational!

“We’d like to beautify the Slippery Elm bike trail and educate park visitors on the food web and nutrient cycling! We need money for paint and a sign that describes arrows on the mural. Not only will this mural be aesthetically pleasing, but we’re hoping that it will spark curiosity in young minds. We hope that people will be more aware of their natural surroundings after viewing the mural and will be more likely to appreciate organisms they encounter the trail.” – Amanda

In order to accomplish this, she needs to raise funds, predominately for painting supplies. So, take a look at her page and if you can, donate! Your time and kindness is appreciated!


Episode 9: The dumpster fire that is a thesis (okay maybe it’s not that bad).

Today we come to you with stories of writing a thesis. We are in the thick of it right now folks, and we wanted to share our experiences as they are happening.

As we speak my advisor is looking over my first draft of my thesis. Right now it’s bothering me that it’s not absolutely perfect. Are any of you perfectionists when it comes to writing? I know that it is impossible to write something that is considered perfect, especially in the eyes of the author, but it really will bother me right up until the day I hand it in.

Other than perfection, we also talk about taking care of yourself while writing and choosing a place where you will be most productive. For me, that is usually sitting on my couch in my sweatpants typing away for hours at a time. I usually maintain my stress levels by taking cooking breaks and making sure I drink enough water. Cari mentions that she takes cartoon breaks to minimize her stress. What are some ways that you have kept your stress levels down as much as possible during the thesis writing process?

Finally, we talk a little about the writing process as a whole. I’m a marathon writer. I sit down and do large sections all at once. For example, last Saturday I wrote the results and discussion of my thesis in one sitting. I get into a groove and just write for a long time. Other people probably think this sounds like death and write in more manageable moments.

So, if you’ve written a thesis we would love to hear your process and any suggestions you have to make it as manageable as possible! Also, this week we have a fantastic opportunity for you all to express your love for sharks! Our dear co-host, Cari, loves sharks more than we could ever describe to you. Recently she has become a brand ambassador for Respect The Fin, a group passionate about shark research, conservation, and education. In fact, 20% of your purchase goes back to that cause! But now, you can also get 10% off your order using Cari’s code (cariritz10), so there’s never been a more perfect time to expand your shark wardrobe! Best yet, this is a group run by a college student, which we think it super cool and can’t support her enough! So, check it out!


Welcome to a sneak peak of our first sponsor and our new favorite cup! Hydro Flask recently sent us an amazing gift: two of their new tumblers!


We can’t say enough about these amazing tumblers! They’ve been incredible and easily the nicest we’ve ever owned!

I had an iced tea in my 32 oz tumbler (Pacific) and the ice remained cubed from 9 am until 1 pm! It could probably chill for even longer. I didn’t leave it sitting just to find out, it literally just took me that long to finish drinking that much liquid.


On the flip side, in her 22 oz tumbler (Cobalt), Caitlin made hot tea! It kept hot for about the same amount of time. In fact, for a while after she made the tea it stayed too hot for her to even drink!


So, what makes these tumblers the most amazing things we’ve ever drank out of?

First of all, they’ve got a narrow design to fit in almost any cup holders! Which is crazy nice because I typically run into this problem where my giant drinks don’t fit into my cup holders. But I drink a lot of liquids so I need the big cups!

The tumbler itself is double walled, stainless steel! For added temperature control, the press-in lid has a honeycomb design!

And best yet, it’s BPA free!

The press-in lid isn’t spill proof, but it still what travel lid really is? I haven’t had any issues with spilling other then when I’ve over filled the cup.

Hydro Flask makes more than tumblers too! They also make water bottles, food containers, coffee cups, and growlers! All of their products are available in multiple colors and their newest water you can pick all your colors!

Long story short, we love our Hydro Flask’s and we want to encourage you to try them too! We promise you’ll love them as much as we have!