It was a busy fall semester in the Whitman Lab. We’ve grown, welcoming Nayela Zeba – our new PhD student on the DOE PyOM project – and three undergrads to the lab. We submitted a few proposals and pre-proposals, some internal and some external, and are now working on a big full DOE TES proposal with our collaborators at the Canadian Forest Service and the University of Alberta. The lab also ran a booth on soil ecology at the WID’s Saturday Science in October. In addition, I was invited to a neat workshop on the ASM Microbial Ecology and Evolution (MEE) Track in DC where I really enjoyed meeting other researchers doing some very interesting work (viruses were well-represented!) and discussing the focus and directions of MEE.
My contract has been renewed, too. Assistant professors in our department start with a 3-year contract. After two years, the department (and college) assess your performance, and decide whether or not to renew your contract, and then, if you’re doing well, they will issue a second contract that takes you to the time when you go up for tenure, so that’s a relief! I also have some very exciting news – my partner has been hired as a new assistant professor at UW-Madison, starting this August – huge congratulations to him!
This spring I’ll be teaching Forum on the Environment 101 and Soil Microbiology and Biochemistry 523 again – I’m looking forward to making some changes to both this second time around, implementing many of the the things I’ve learned in MTLE this past year (but I’m sad my cohort is finished – I really enjoyed getting together with them every week to work on our teaching). I’m also looking forward to not preparing two totally new lectures, a reading, and a bioinformatics tutorial every week :)