September 23, 2008

Letters to the Editor

One of the perks to my job is that I'm continuing to lengthen my publications list. My hope is that this will come in extremely handy when I begin searching for my next position.

When many people think of a job in research, they don't see a connection with writing. They envision people working in labs wearing funny goggles and crisp white lab coats.

Our research is so different from that. We plant seeds in fields, we look at different fertilizer rates, different ways of irrigating crops, crop rotations -- all in an attempt to minimize chemical applications, maximize water efficiency and help producers be sustainable.

No matter what the basis, research needs to be published to avoid it being repeated time and time again. Lengthy publications lists make researchers look accomplished and it helps to bring in funding.

So in our downtime I write. And write. And then edit and write some more. I actually enjoy doing it. I don't necessarily see myself as a "writer" but it comes with the territory of the job and it makes me more marketable.

Up until recently, all of my publications were in scientific journals. Stuff that is not read by most people; only looked up when someone is doing research themselves and needs to know what has already been done. I have my name on 9 journal articles (2 of which I'm the main author, the other 7 I'm a co-author). They're excellent to have on my publications list but they're not always practical if that makes sense.

Earlier this summer we put together a magazine article for an industry publication highlighting our project. It was published in September's magazine and it made me giddy to see the article in print. To actually be in a material that people READ! That everyday farmers might read and pay attention to! When the magazine came in the mail, I danced around the kitchen like a teenager who had just been kissed for the first time. Our article was even listed on the front cover! And I was the main author with my picture in the front under the section for the contributors...

In the grand scheme of things, a magazine article isn't viewed very highly, especially in research. To date though, it's been one of the greatest accomplishments in my career.


Sami said...

Congratulations! I hope this is a nice boost to your resume.

Kristen said...

I am so proud. WTG!!!!!!

peter said...

That is so awesome, Amanda! Glossy paper and all. :) You have always been and continue to be a great writer.

Kristin, Rod, and Victoria said...

Awesome! WTG on writing an article that contains lots of information in a way that's easy to read and understand, even to those of us who have no background in science. I found myself not only reading the full article but understanding the why, how, and results. You're so smart. But then you knew that already ;D

On a side note, how old is that picture? I assume you were able to give them an updated photo, but it seems like your hair hasn't been that long in a while (tho it's not like I actually *see* you that often)!