Cross-posting research I’ve led, which examines how to help students complete their qualifications. Our research shows that more apprentices and trainees will complete their training if students are given six behaviourally informed SMS prompts. Messages provided timely and practical advice on workplace rights, and where to seek support if they were struggling. Our results equate to 16% fewer learners dropping out. Our intervention led to a 7:1 return on investment.Continue reading Applied Sociology of Qualifications
Career Planning in the Research Sector
I’m sharing the resource I created for the Association of Iberian and Latin American Studies of Australasia (AILASA) Conference. I am leading a workshop on ‘Career Planning in the Research Sector.’ This presentation is intended for early career researchers who may be near completion of a postgraduate degree, or recently completed a Masters or PhD. Specifically, I look at how Latin American Studies scholars can market their skills, especially in current times following the bushfire disaster in late 2019 to early 2020, and the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, which led to significant restrictions and socio-economic disruption from the end of March 2020 to the present day in July (and ongoing). The job market poses many challenges. The lessons here are applicable for other early career researchers.
You can flick through my slides below, or download my slides as a PDF. Further down, there are links to resources for how to look for work, preparing a CV and interview. Accessible descriptions of slides at the end.Continue reading Career Planning in the Research Sector
Media, Universities and Social Movements
Sociologist Dingxin Zhao argues that in an authoritarian society, social movements are radical while in democratic states, social movements are reformist. In his book, The Power of Tiananmen: State-Society Relations and the 1989 Beijing Student Movement, Zhao argues that even though Western societies position the media as an independent agent, Zhao’s research shows that the media tends to portray the views of the dominant culture. By representing the majority, the media are actually conformist.
In an authoritative regime, the media are under state control. Zhao argues that in China in the mid-1980s, the media tried to escape state control by reporting positively on the student protest movement. Similarly, Zhao argues that universities are more radical in an “underdeveloped authoritarian regime” than in Western societies. In China, the university system “over produced” students who then joined radical social movements.
Zhao’s comparative focus on state institutions and social institutions remains ever useful.
Photo: Dingxin Zhao (University of Chicago) speaking at the Third Chinese Political Sociology Workshop. By UChicago Beijing via Flickr.
Source: The Other Sociologist.
Introduction to Applied Sociology
Here’s a brief visual overview about how sociology is used beyond universities. Applied sociology is the use of sociological concepts and methods to answer specific client questions and to address community concerns.
Students and Postdocs of Colour in American Astronomy
Physics and astronomy are amongst the least diverse sciences in the USA (with biology being relatively more diverse). In 2012, only one PhD in Astronomy was conferred to a Black American scholar and two to Latin Americans; in Physics two were to African Americans and three to Latins.
Continue reading Students and Postdocs of Colour in American Astronomy
STEM Women in Education: Dr Inger Mewburn, The Thesis Whisperer
In 15 minutes, I will be co-hosting this STEM Women discussion with Dr Inger Mewburn. Inger is the Director of Research Training at the Australian National University. Her background was in architecture, but she’s specialised in education research since 2006. We will discuss Inger’s research on the gender experiences of PhD students as they negotiate their relationships with their supervisors and administration. She will also discuss her popular blog, The Thesis Whisperer, which provides practical advice for students across STEM fields. Inger will share insights for women research students and also tell us about her career, and provide tips for navigating a successful path in academia.
In a study published earlier this year, Inger and colleagues find gendered patterns in the way postgraduates negotiate their supervisor and administration relationships. Women are more likely than men to struggle with university bureaucracy. Even filling in progress reports can be fraught with anxiety about how they may be negatively judged. Women are also less likely to report problems with their supervisors, while men find it relatively easy to approach their supervisors for help and support.
Inger will discuss how these gender differences are linked to institutional processes that prevent women from realising their full potential in STEM. We’ll discuss how we can better support women PhD students navigate the academic system and prevent the so-called leaky pipeline.
Read a write-up of our discussion on STEM Women.
Training Women Engineers at Google
This morning, I co-hosted a STEM Women on G+ event, speaking with two women who work on Google’s IT Residency Program. We asked them about how women can get involved with this program and how it helps them manage working in a male-dominated field. Erin Leverton manages the program which runs across several cities (including Sydney). They recruit new graduates like Samantha Schaevitz who spoke with us about her experience transitioning from studying computer science and working at the IT helpdesk in her university, to training on the program, and then getting a permanent role at Google as an engineer.Continue reading Training Women Engineers at Google
Graduate Careers in Sociology
In this video, I discuss the careers panel that I sat on as part of the annual conference for The Australian Sociological Association (TASA). I focus on the panel discussion about how to translate theory into practice when you’re working outside academia. I also cover workplace ethics in the video, as well issues about managing professional identity outside of academia and the importance of networking. I was asked about how I manage my research consultancy business. I talk about how to market yourself and how to establish a professional reputation with prospective clients using social media.
Read a summary of the video on Sociology at Work.
Citizen Science: Getting Students into STEM
Very excited to be co-hosting this Science on Google+ event. We are chatting with paleontologists Jason Osborne and Dr Aaron Alford about their efforts to improve citizen science. In particular, we’ll talk about outreach to students through data collection. I especially love their work that gives youth from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to participate in practical science, including a chance to publish their findings.
Continue reading Citizen Science: Getting Students into STEM
How Parents Can Support Girls’ STEM Education
Join us on STEM Women in less than 30 minutes as we talk about how parents can support girls’ education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)! We’ll discuss how parents might use experiments, storytelling and other activities to connect with and bolster their daughters’ STEM passion.
We will speak to Professor Rajini Rao, Dr Bill Carter and Dr La Vergne Lestermeringolo Thatch about the challenges and rewards that come with encouraging girls to pursue a STEM career someday!