Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Microbe 2017 and Thanking Colleagues

Such a hectic year!  I have just come up for air, and there is so much to discuss.

This summer, I will be traveling quite a bit to forge collaborations and learn new techniques.  Since I don't have a grant at present, I am paying out of my pocket for this summer soiree, but I don't mind.  It's necessary for me in order to have another try at getting a promotion to Full Professor in the coming year. 

I hope to post some fun updates as the summer progresses while I travel to Stanford, Ann Arbor, Nottingham, Tampa, and Denver. And maybe Tucson!

Call it the #DocMartinWorldTour.  Sort of.

I have long been a microbial advocate (#MicrobialAdvocate?).  I can't call myself a #MicrobialAmbassador, since that is a honorary position of the American Society for Microbiology.  But when I was at the recent general meeting of the American Society for Microbiology (#ASMicrobe) in New Orleans, I did my best to show the #MicrobialFlag.

I handed out #MicrobialSupremacy buttons and stickers to folks who recognized me and share my #MicrobialMania.  Here were the types I brought to #ASMicrobe.  Remember, I make these each year for my microbiology course.  I've been doing this for a for a while!

I ran out of buttons and stickers in a hurry.  This is a good thing, since #MicrobialPR is very important to me.

But there was something else that was also important to me.  I have had a challenging climb through academia.  Some of that is my fault. Some of it is not.  But there have been some people who have really stuck by me during my odd and often unpleasant stroll through the academic maze.  These people believed in me and supported me relentlessly, even when I started to give up on myself. So I wanted to give such people a meaningful token of my appreciation.

Two years ago, in my Microbiology course here at the University of Puget Sound, I had a very creative student, Mariko.

On the last day of that class, Mariko gave me this.

It is a summary of various things I had told my microbiology students during the class that really impacted Mariko, artistically rendered.  I have it framed, because it is beyond awesome.  

Look to the upper left of Mariko's drawing.

For many years, I have been calling my microbiology students #Micronauts.  Mariko added the motto:  "Micronauts we soar!"

My artist pal "Vexed Muddler" converted Mariko's drawing into a colored cartoon.  I then had enameled lapel pins made.  I think they came out well.

I was able to hand these out to some of my endlessly patient #MarkSupporters at #ASMicrobe.  I have more to send out to people who didn't attend the general meeting.  Some folks wrote powerful letters of support for me over the years.  Others have helped me with experiments.  Some have invited me into their labs and offered collaborations.  And of course, my undergraduate research students make everything possible.

Short version:  if I give you one of these pins, it means you have made a genuine and lasting impression on my life, and are part of my #QualityQuorum.  I cannot fully express my gratitude in words; I will not forget what you have done for me.

Thank you so very much, #MarkSupporters!

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