Smells like lab spirit

We have a departmental volleyball tournament at school.
That’s right, all the nerds and their nerd professors battle it out for the trophy.
I decided to participate. Me, the girl who was frequently picked second-to-last in middle school gym class. (The consistent, last pick watched Little House on the Prairie re-runs and had a penchant for getting knocked in the head with the ball.) Somehow, I thought that I could help my lab/team win. In fact, I was CONFIDENT that I could. I had possessed a mean serve back in the 90s. Volleyball was the one sport in which I was a top pick.
Last semester, I donned our team t-shirt and my high school gym shorts. I was ready to do some damage.
But, halfway into the game, my “mean” serve had only yielded one point.
I guess it was rusty.
Then, I saw an opportunity for redemption.
“Got it”, I shouted.
Just like the movies, that ball came towards me in slow motion. I prepared to set. All ten fingers were poised to send that ball over the net and lead our lab to victory. They were ready. I was ready. The eleven of us were going to be team heroes.
Until the ball jammed my right thumb.
I suppressed a squeal. And that damn volleyball went out of bounds…on my side of the net. UGH!
It turns out that I had partially torn my thumb’s ulnar collateral ligament.
All I had wanted was a point. Instead, I got a splint (and damage to the connective tissue between two bones ON MY RIGHT HAND). Great.

Life was hard in the lab with one opposable thumb. Pipetting was painful. I couldn’t open the bottle of 1.5M Tris buffer. I couldn’t open any bottle, for that matter. I was a gimp, a laboratory gimp, for eight weeks until that splint came off. And, for what? A ball that didn’t even go over the net!

Last week, I got an email announcing this semester’s volleyball tournament. Will I participate?
NO! No lab spirit this semester…

A Change of Plans

After all of the self-generated hubbub, I have decided against the MBA.
I began having second thoughts when I realized that I needed to address a skills gap.
I’ve learned science and math. I consider myself a decent writer. But, I can’t code. I don’t even know what code is. And, in this day and age, that’s embarrassing (not to mention, impractical).
My goals have remained the same. But, I don’t think I can reach them if I’m unable to program. I do think I can reach them without a formal, business education. And, I can certainly reach them without an extra $120k of student loan debt.

So, it’s settled.

Now, I just have to find a program. There are so many options: bootcamps, free online material, guided (and pricey) online material, old-fashioned programming texts, post-baccalaureate courses etc. I have a lot of sifting to do if I’m going to cobble together a technology-steeped education.

On the other hand, there’s also the go-all-out/comprehensive option. If my ultimate goal is an interdisciplinary career that mixes chemistry, education, technology and entrepreneurship, shouldn’t I cast my eye towards EdTech programs? Maybe I should ignore the insane price-tag and go for a technology/education hybrid that’s tailored to my specific needs.

Hmmm…decisions, decisions.


It is official.  It’s crunch time.

I have:

5 1/2 months to get conclusive results in lab and to write/defend a thesis

2 months to prep for and take the GMAT (and perform with flying colors)

2 weeks until I hear from the business competition I entered

2-3 weeks to scout internship opportunities for the fall semester

and 1.5 months (I think) to apply for NSF I-Corps Teams

(oh yeah, and I’m also going to learn how to code).

I’m clutching my heart…I think I’m having a heart attack.

It’s the big one.

I can feel it!!


Alas, I’ve brought this upon myself.  I got the bright idea to commercialize a patent.  It was me who got bitten by the licensing/I-must-get-an-MBA bug 2 seconds before the 2015 application season.  


Today is a GMAT-study day.

Tomorrow, I’m back in the lab, hoping that my bacteria will do what they’re supposed to.  

Shape-Shifter 2.0 (Part 1)

In the olden days, there were shape-shifters.
Folks were transformed by a spell or talisman.
The frog who transformed into a prince? A shape-shifter.
Mr. Beast who locked Belle in his castle with singing teacups? A furry shape-shifter…with horns.
And lest we forget, there was Princess Fiona from The Land of Far, Far Away. (Shape-Shift, Inc. was ahead of its time as an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer).
But, as a modern society, we no longer believe in the shape-shifter.
Fiona? Dracula? Wolf Man? Fooey!
Nowadays, the shape-shifter has been off-shored and has lost the battle against obsolescence.
He/she/it has been replaced by the CAREER-SHIFTERS…of which, I am one.
The Transformation

Pipettes here, spatulas there and spilled yeast everywhere
From my lab bench, the objects and fungi would stare.

As I toiled to make solutions
I came to the conclusion
That TCA and protein might mesh well
With strategy and marketing to sell.

With rolled-up sleeves and a furrowed brow
I thought, “I must get my feet wet (in business) NOW!”

Off to 3-Day Start-up I went,
and after 72 hours were spent…
No, I had not transmuted into a dog with mange

But, I wanted to further explore my new decision
And tip-toe towards a science AND business collision.
Technology transfer offices and commercialization…
I wanted in, as this trend swept the academic nation.

Now, with days devoted to the TCA and titanium dioxide with which I work,
a business plan 1st draft for a tweaked, lithium-ion battery lurks.

Dropping (Uric) Acid

It’s springtime here in Philadelphia. The temperature is mild, humidity is tolerable and the birds are chirping.

But, chirping birds are not to be trusted.

When the weather is beautiful and I’ve donned a t-shirt and my hair is freshly styled, they target me.

NYC summer:
I’m rushing for the bus. The scorching heat melts me, but I carry on. Just a few steps and a token from the comfort of air conditioned mass transit.
And then…*SPLAT*
“Aaaaah!”, I cry out.
I’ve been hit!
A white, uric acid bomb has tattooed my upper arm.
Reflexively, I scan the sky with disgust and clenched fists.
The assailant had fled…ten feet above and half-way across the street.
I seethe while feverishly squirting Purell and whisking tissues across my marred skin, 800 times over.

The previous spring:
What should have been a pleasant walk to McDonald’s, wasn’t. As I was crossing the street, *THUD*. A mass of some kind had landed atop my head. My eyes widened with horror. I hurried to the curb and suppressed a squeal. My fingertips cautiously approached.
It was warm.
An exothermic–energy releasing–reaction was occurring IN MY HAIR!
Courtesy of those dang birds…

They say it’s good luck. But, I don’t buy it.
I’ve been pelted two too many times.
I’ll happily exchange my “good fortune” for something not-so-exothermic.