Lake me anywhere: thanks and farewell Meghan Duffy

Meghan Duffy (@duffy_ma) is an associate Professor in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan and joined RealScientists in August. Meghan burst out of the blocks with style, having put together a really cool and unique outline for the week:

And I for one, was pleased as plankton to be introduced to the undeniably adorable mini crustacean Daphnia.

But you know what they say – nature red in tooth and claw and all that… OMNOMNOM


Meghan kindly responded to our post-curation interview, and her reflections follow.

In general terms, how did you find your week as a curator?

I found it really interesting to interact with such a broad group of people! It definitely took up a lot of my time during the week, but I think that was time well spent, as it provided a really great opportunity to engage with a lot of people. I’m hoping that people are now a bit more aware of some of the really cool critters that live in lakes, and also that some of the discussions related to academia (e.g., mental health, teaching, diversity) may have influenced some folks.

It can be a shock talking to so many. Did you find the sudden rush of interactions (good and bad) daunting?

It was impossible to keep up with all the notifications, so I’m sure I missed some replies. But, for the most part, it was a lot of fun to interact with so many people.

What were the highlights? Were there any lowlights?

I think the highlights for me were 1) discussions about mental health in academia, 2) the responses to #myworstgrade, and 3) people’s reactions to the photos of plankton that I posted.

In terms of lowlights, there wasn’t anything big. There were a few people who got annoyed at diversity-related things that I posted, but those were pretty minimal, fortunately!

Is there anything you wanted to get out of / do on the RS account that you didn’t manage to fit in?

I keep thinking of specific things I meant to bring up but that I forgot, but (so far, at least!) none of those have been major things. I wanted to have more discussions about diversity, but I had a harder time with those. Those felt less natural to me from an account where I don’t have a background of interactions with people.

Did you have a plan? If so, did you stick to it?

I did have a plan and I mostly stuck to it, though some days I ended up with less time available to tweet than I’d hoped (because something came up). And by the end of the week I was running out of steam a bit!

As soon as I contacted the Real Scientists Mods about potentially hosting the account, I started an Evernote file where I kept track of ideas. The week before hosting, I tried to organize those into different themes and split them out into days (or half days). I think that general approach worked well. I borrowed an idea from Melissa Márquez and made an image with my plan on it. If nothing else, that forced me to think through a big picture plan for my week and was useful for me to refer back to during the week!

I did realize during the week that I had forgotten to include a more general introduction to lakes and the work we do in my plan, so I fit that in mid-week.

Do you have any tips or advice for future RS curators?

Having a plan was very helpful. I didn’t plan out my specific tweets in advance, and I think that was fine. I did use old blog posts on different topics as a basis for some of my tweet threads, which I think worked well.

I probably should have saved the first tweet in each thread so I can more easily go back to them in the future. I could go and do that now, but it seems more daunting after a whole week!

Also: there were a few people who really appreciated that I captioned all the photos I posted during the week. It takes a little more time, but it’s worth it, IMO, since it makes the account more inclusive.

What other people or accounts should people follow if they enjoyed your tweets this week?

There’s my regular account (@duffy_ma), but that’s obvious. @annejmcneil & @gbaucom are fellow UMich faculty & scimoms. @needhibhalla tweets great stuff about women in science. @hormiga also tweets and blogs about topics related to diversity in academia & teaching. @stephenbheard also tweets and blogs about process of science topics. @coralsncaves and @jacquelyngill are great to follow for information on climate change & diversity in science. I learn a lot from @leafwarbler and @brunalab tweets & links. @thelabandfield has great natural history. I love @berondam’s tweets about mentoring. Some earlier career folks who tweet stuff that regularly makes me think include @jbyoder, @ambikamath, @cricketcrocker, and @algaebarnacle. I could go on, but I need to get breakfast for my kids now!

Thanks once again Meghan from all of us here at RealScientists HQ. If you missed anything from Meghan’s week, the tweets are all collated at the following link.


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