As I am writing this on international women’s day, I just want to acknowledge how exciting it has been to get to work with so many inspirational female scientists since starting my PhD! It reminds me of a short poem by one of my favourite poets Rupi Kaur:
we all move forward when
we recognise how resilient
and striking the women
around us are
As well as feeling inspired by my female (and male) colleagues, I am thrilled to inform you that after months of writing and editing my first paper “Consumer friendly food allergen detection: moving toward smartphone based immunoassays” it has been accepted for publication by Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry. I am super excited for my first publication and can confirm that receiving that “Accepted” email made all of the slaving away over my manuscript worth it. One of the exciting aspects of working on a Marie Curie project is publishing open access. For those of you who don’t know, open access means that the paper is there for everyone to read without any financial restrictions. This is great news because there is nothing more annoying than having access restricted for journals/articles that are not covered by your university/company databases. It opens up science for everybody.
(Beautiful Tiger and Butterflies at Burgers Zoo, Arnhem)
This past month our FSP colleague Sahl has been staying in Wageningen on secondment at Aquamarijn. It was great to get to meet him and share ideas with each-other and our supervisors. Discussing the project in the context of future collaborations was motivating and it has highlighted how multi-disciplinary the FoodSmartphone project is. It is really gives us the opportunity to work on aspects of science we have never encountered before.
One of the other interesting things that has happened to me recently is starting a Presenting with Impact (PIW) course at Wageningen University. Anyone who knows me knows that I love to talk, unfortunately that does not transcend into “loves to present”, but hopefully I can change this. I have always seen presentations as an important tool to inform a group about interesting developments in your research, but up until now I have just focused on making sure I know what I am saying and that I do not look like too much of a sweaty, shaky mess whilst saying it. Even after just one PIW session I have been able to appreciate just how a powerful a platform presenting is. In the course we use different vocal and breathing techniques to train our “vocal instrument” and learn how to speak clearly, passionately and for me: s l o w l y. It was comforting hearing that my fellow PhD students have the same presentation anxieties as me and made me understand that I am not the only scientist not that comfortable with public speaking. This is something I wish to change though, and my goal of 2018 is to try and enjoy presenting as I think being an excellent public speaker is similar to having a super power. The power that everyone will listen to everything you have to say.
(Me exploring the city of Delft, on a bridge and in front of a mural in the style of the famous Delftware plates)
To finish I just want to express how exhilarating and alien it was for me to see all of the lakes, canals, every body of water frozen last week in the Netherlands. I had heard that people skate on the frozen ice but I could not appreciate it until I saw it in action. It really reminded me what a special place this is. Although I don’t own any ice skates, I did STAND on the ice on the lake on the university campus and even that felt electrifying. If it freezes again next year, I will definitely invest in some ice skates!
(Me in the forest in Renkum)
Until next time,