Thursday, December 7, 2017

One Lady, Many Beards

Recently Amy started a new job as the Collections Manager at the Museum of the Rockies, marking the end of her time as a graduate student! Yay for Master Atwater! But now that Amy is a professional, she suddenly has all this FREE TIME during her nights and weekends that she is 100% not used to. Does this mean that Amy is using her newfound freedom for exploring her new state and/or exercising and adventuring, or perhaps promoting the public good?


She is embracing her generation and spending most of her time on Snapchat.

Now, for those of you ancient decrepit fools who are not familiar with Snapchat, it is a form of social media based on video/image messaging with facial recognition, allowing for all sorts of strange filters for your face. Or as Scott Williams at the Museum of the Rockies calls it, "that other thing that Millennials use."

How can you not love this?!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Do I Even Want To Go To This Grad School?

Congratulations! You are considering going to graduate school in some sort of STEM field*. Ahead of you are a mountain of applications and decisions, and just think - that sensation you have of maybe I'm not worthy? Yeah, get ready for a LOT OF THAT. It can be really intimidating to apply for graduate school, and lots of people get too stuck in the mind set of "well what if I'm not good enough" when what they really need to be focused on is whether or not the place they are going is good enough for them. There will be plenty of time for self-doubt once you get into graduate school, but trust us, this absolutely is a key time to be picky.

But graduate school is a big life choice, and whether you have one school in mind or many different schools you now get to ask yourself the really awkward questions that will help you decide: Do I Even Want to Go to This Graduate School?


Sunday, November 5, 2017

Interview with the Premiere Geology Doodle Humorist, Alana McGillis

Alana McGillis is an awesome and hilarious paleoartist whose recently published book, “Daring to Dig: Women in American Paleontology” is the best book you’ll read all year. It’s an awesome combination of amazing facts, stories, and gorgeous illustration and it’s available now from the Paleontology Research Institution in Ithaca, New York! Alana is a graduate of Smith College in Massachusetts, where she fell in love with geology and storytelling, and now works in outreach at San Francisco Maritime National Park. Meaghan sat down with her for a Skype interview. Read the below interview for information about Alana, information about the book, and some really, really good cat geology puns - and for more of all three of those things, you can visit her website at, or follow her on twitter at @GilisDoodles!

Meaghan was so excited she spontaneously grew extra chins
...wait u guys don't do that when ur excited?

Monday, October 16, 2017

Social scientists are super hard core

So Meaghan is currently working in Institutional Effectiveness (also called Institutional Research). There's a whole other blog post lurking behind that particular job, but most importantly for this (brief) article is the fact that as a member of IE she has now gone to two harrowing humanities/education-research-themed conferences, and has brought some very important information gleaned via rigorous social science cross training. Chiefly that social scientists are fucking HARD CORE.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A Singularly Stupid Deluge of Dinosaur Selfies

The town of Drumheller, Alberta is famous for being the home of the Royal Tyrrell Museum, a huge paleontology museum dedicated to the fossils of Canada (and beyond). There are lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of extinct chickens (aka dinosaurs) in Canada, so there are lots of dinos at the Royal Tyrrell, SO THERE ARE LOTS OF (really weird) DINOSAUR STATUES IN DRUMHELLER AND WE TOOK SELFIES WITH THEM ALL*!!!!!

Enjoy the photo montage of ridiculousness that ensues when two mammal paleontologists are vacationing in Canada. Or skip this post and come back in like 2-6 months when we finally write something new and/or meaningful again.

You know you want to see the rest of this dumbfuckery.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Meaghan Wrote a Paper on the Pleistocene

The glory of working with oreodonts, other than that they're super cute and really freakin' abundant, is that there's also not that much published literature on them. Being a person who'd rather pluck out her own eyeballs then read a paper that takes too long to get to the point, this is a boon for Meaghan. Unfortunately, Meaghan once had a bright idea that she should write a paper about the ice age, and so has spent her time wading through the swamp of too many goddamn papers as a result.

That paper is finally out now, and since it is out that means it went through many levels of peer review, and since it has gone through review that means that Meaghan now despises this paper with every fiber of her being, and if the mammoths came back she'd hunt them to extinction HERSELF.

Not the ground sloths though, for obvious reasons.

Fuck yeah sloths.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Stop Telling Women Scientists To Try Hard

What do Ivanka Trump and Microsoft have in common?

They're two groups that claim to want more women in STEM but are not being very damn helpful about it.

Let's start with Ivanka. She's made her dad sign the Inspire Act and the Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act, laws that dictate NSF and NASA need to work to get women and girls interested in science (assuming that they somehow aren't already).  Simultaneously, she stood by as her father cut the budget for education in general, scrapped funding for the biggest science-funding organizations in the nation (aka our federal government), and froze national hiring of federal science positions, ensuring that this year's crop of graduates are even more screwed in their career search than normal. Personally, we don't see the damned point in getting women into STEM, if you then ensure they can't get jobs afterwards.

All internships and no job makes Amy a dull girl

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Men in Paleontology

Look. We love doing science. We love being ladies. But we're beginning to be a little sick of being called women in science. Why? Sometimes it feels like "women in science" sounds a lot like oil in water: two things that do not mix.

Yeah, that seems a bit unnatural, doesn't it? Gender has little natural sway over anyone's love of science, or their ability to perform it. Yet somehow you never hear people call male scientists "men in paleontology" or "boys in STEM" - you only get the extra adjectives if you're a woman, or a person of any color other than "blanched turnip". Sometimes that title feels less like an acknowledgement of our uniqueness, and more like a sentencing of otherness.

Don't get us wrong - we are still women, we are still paleontologists, and we still think paleontology has a lot to catch up on when it  comes to diversity. We're just annoyed that the emphasis is so frequently on our personal diversity, not our science. To make our point, enjoy a series of memes that are by no means politically correct or non-offensive but sure as shit point out how dumb it is to preface everything with "women in" paleontology.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

We Talked About Some Science Stuff!

This week, instead of WRITING about science stuff, we're going to show a video of us TALKING about science stuff. Specifically, Amy gave a great 15 minute talk on her Big Bend Summer internship that we belatedly blogged about like 5 minutes ago, and Meaghan gave a 45 minute talk about the poor sad oreodonts and how they spent their lives mutilating one another for fun or sex or something.



Hope you enjoyed this brief diversion from our writing style to our talking style! Also, we love the sounds of our own voices so please invite us to talk more at your conferences, seminar series, house party, or nearby retirement home - trust us, we'll say yes.

*primates. Whatever.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Alternate Careers for Young Scientists in Trump's America

Are you a young scientist about to graduate into a world where EPA scientists can't discuss their findings, climate change "isn't real", federal hiring is frozen, and NSF funding has been called into question a number of times and is undoubtedly going to be decapitated?

Why, you must be a bit worried about your career prospects, huh?

Don't worry, young graduates. We have some career pathways for you that we'd like to call "Alternative Service Post-Docs" that we think you'd be perfectly cut out for. Someone with your background in logic, reasoning, and (probably) statistics skills will be perfect for these jobs. They offer benefits, flexible hours, and are offered in all 50 states so you can mostly live where you want to - fantastic, huh? There's a bit of paperwork involved, but not as much as you'd think (and from what we've seen, some people in these positions get away without much reading at all). Without further ado, here's our list of top 10 jobs for upcoming science graduates!

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Monday, February 6, 2017

Paleontology of Big Bend National Park

Last summer was a busy one for the Vengeance Team. Meaghan completed her PhD, got married, and got the most adorable puppy on the planet. Amy crafted the shit out of Meaghan's wedding, mostly didn't cry, finally appreciated sheep (kinda) and then spent the rest of her summer working as the paleontology intern for Big Bend National Park in west Texas. Since we're paleontologists time as we mortals experience has no meaning, so we have decided to talk about Amy's Awesome Summer now, in the dead of winter, several months later (it's not procrastination on blog-writing if you can make up a reason for it!)

We've talked a little bit about our adventures in west Texas before on the blog when discussing field work, so this probably sounds familiar. But for those of you just joining us, here's the Big Scoop on Big Bend.

Monday, January 30, 2017

A Post on Science Camps

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, indoorTo this day, most of Amy and Meaghan's longest term friends (including each other), come from outdoor science camps. Science camps, if you've never had the pleasure of attending one, are where fledgling nerds develop their inquisitive wings, and also finally find a group of friends that appreciate their "um actually" sense of humor. But in Oregon and a handful of other states, that science camp experience isn't limited to the nerds, but is given to almost all 6th grade students. In fact, Oregon just passed a measure supporting outdoor school funding for students because the experience is so important and formative for both young scientists AND students who've never looked at science as an interest before. Good job Oregon!

Trees, children, SCIENCE! This one's for Ty, since he never did make it in the OMSI catalog
Photo by David Levering