Movie list

Because I had a “to do” to write a blog post, and instead joined this game on Facebook, decided to share it with my Twitter and Blog followers as well. As you can see, I have a somewhat non-conventional taste for movies đź™‚

•Movie I Think Is overrated: Groundhog Day
•Movie I Think Is Underrated: Melancholia
•Movie I Love: The Constant Gardener
•Movie I Secretly Love: Irreversible
•Favorite Action Movie: Kill Bill
•Favorite Drama: The Barbarian Invasions (Les invasions barbares)
•Favorite Horror: The Shining
•Favorite Comedy: High Fidelity
•Favorite Romance: In the Mood for Love
•Favorite Fantasy: Pan’s Labyrinth
•Favorite Disney Movie: Nah. Shrek!
•Favorite Science Fiction Movie: Donnie Darko
•Favorite Book to Movie Adaptation: Gone Girl
•Favorite Animated Movie: Persepolis
•Favorite Superhero Movie: (Can it be a TV show?) Daredevil
•Favorite Musical: Singing in the Rain
•Favorite Western: Butch Cassidy
•Favorite Documentary: Exit through the gift shop
•Favorite Ridiculous Movie: The dinner game (Le diner de cons)
•Childhood Favorite: ET
•Favorite Franchise: 007
•Best Trilogy: Before sunrise/Before Sunset/Before Midnight
•Favorite Director: Almodovar
•Favorite Actor: Mark Ruffalo
•Favorite Actress: Kate Winslet
•Favorite Movie This Year So Far: Haven’t seen any
•Worst Movie: Once upon a time in Mexico
•Movie I Have Recently Watched: Boyhood
•Favorite Movie Of All Time: Mulholland Drive

“Saw things so much clearer”

It’s been more than a month since I’ve been to the SFN meeting. My first SFN meeting was in 2002 in Orlando, and since then I’ve only missed one in 2013 when I had visa problems. Last year I was not in academia anymore, nor doing anything related to neuroscience, but decided to attend regardless because I simply love this meeting and it’s a great place to see old (and twitter) friends! Well, that’s what I used to tell myself. This year I decided to attend to the SFN meeting last minute. Filled my itinerary with people I wanted to catch up with, but this year I added some (potential) customers as well. After all, I’ve been working on my *new* job for a year and a half, and I feel way more confident about all the chemistry and products now. Sales it’s all about relationships, and I know that being a people person is a big advantage that I have.

But as days of SFN passed, I started to feel so… happy for being there! Not only because of friends or fun, but because… I wasn’t sure exactly why. Did I miss academia? After talking to a couple of people about dept problems, grants, and funding – I knew that I didn’t miss that part of academia. I didn’t miss the specific research I was doing either, but it took me several days to understand my feelings. I’ve spent some time talking to people that do Science Outreach and Science Communication. I attended to the scicomm pannel. During SFNBanter I’ve met amazing people that made me realize Science can be so much bigger than an experiment, or any particular research! 

Immediately after SFN I had a training meeting for my new job. It was a stressful one, after the elections and with the certainty to have to deal with a lot of republicans there. But it wasn’t that what made it a not so nice meeting. It was the contrast of people, of ideas, of views! At some moment I felt like I swallowed the bird (sorry for The OA reference), and I finally saw things so much clearer. What I miss is Science, as a whole, under a broad perspective. There are so many problems with the way Science is funded, published, and communicated to the public. I feel there are so many ways I could make a difference and help Science to be a ‘better place’. During this past month I’ve done a couple of informative interviews that helped me see what’s out there and what type of job I could pursue to go this route. I feel some job where I’d have to meet people and advocate for science would be ideal, but there are other Science Outreach options that I’m attracted as well. Right now let’s say this is a ‘work in progress’ and I’m hoping the right opportunity will eventually show up, if I’m opened to it.

As we say in our Recovering Academic podcast “your next job doesn’t have to be your last, and it probably won’t”. I’m not sure where I’ll go after my current job. I’m not even sure IF I’m going somewhere after this. But right now, I just feel that life can be bigger and better. It’s not that I don’t like my job, but I feel I want to do more. I want to make a difference. And that’s my goal for 2017. Advocate for Science. In the meantime, I’ll keep doing it through Twitter, through our #DiversityJC, and even with our #RecoveringAcademic podcast, in a way. But I’m looking for alternatives, and hopefully I’ll find my new path. And be happier!

Ps. Title of this post inspired by Pearl Jam, Reviewmirror

We are superheroes – Aleppo #GivingTuesday

I had the pleasure to meet Pierre Le Corf around one year ago. It was a weekday, and I went to a bar to meet a friend for a quick beer. As I was going to leave, another friend introduced me to Pierre – and I stayed there talking to him for another two or three hours. I’ve never met anyone like that in my entire life. His kindness and desire to help people is something extraordinary. Listening to him talk about the problems of the world as a whole, and how he fights against them was truly inspiring.

Everyone has a story, a life knowledge to share. We have so much to learn from each others.


Pierre is an humanitarian who sold everything he owned  and started going around the world listening to stories from marginalized communities and posting them in a blog. After a while he founded We are superheroes, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness and the self-confidence of marginalized communities through storytelling. You can read more about his journey here. On April 2016 he went to Aleppo, what was supposed to be a short visit, and has been there since, helping people. I only met him that very first time, but we became friends on Facebook and I kept following his journey through there. Although he was recently accused of being a propagandist Assad, he is still standing strong, helping civilians affected by war.

I remember thinking that I should write a blog post about my experience of meeting him. It didn’t happen back then, but I have been thinking a lot about Pierre during these last few days, while reading and listening to the battle happening in Aleppo right now.I remember my last words to him were “Thank you. People like you make this world a better place”. Today is #GivingTuesday, and my donation will go to his organization and his amazing work.  I hope you can do the same, and help sharing his story.

Heavy Heart on times of hate

It’s been four days since the Orlando shootings. There are still tons of articles and news and interviews about the subject. Despite having had a lovely Sunday and not being able to catch up with the news, on Monday the news hit me like a brick. My heart was so heavy and I felt like I could break down in tears any moment. I was asked by a friend what kind of a shock it was for me and I really didn’t know the answer. I just felt pain and wasn’t sure why.

Just a couple of days before the shooting, I went out to catch up with a friend that’s a Trump supporter. He is a very nice person, and although I knew he was leaning towards Trump, I thought we could still be friends (well, I still do, in a way…). I believe his speech was moderated by the fact that he cares about me, but I could still listen to the anger and the hate in between the lines, specially when he was talking to others in the group. But listening things as “Diversity is nonsense and doesn’t bring anything good to anywhere” or “Now if I care about the rights of my kind, I’m called racist” were really tough to swallow. That whole conversation would make me angry if I didn’t know that person so well, but in fact it just made me sad.

This morning I read the Storify of a Trump rally in Greensboro. Two things cough up my eye:

That’s it. This last incident was result of so much racism, misogyny, homophobia, and just plain ugliness. I’m not gay, but I’m a latina. I’m an immigrant. I’m a woman. It causes me extreme sadness to think that there’s this amount of racism and hate among us. Even if Trump doesn’t win the elections, Trump supporters will still be out there, with their hate, their anger, and their racism against anything that’s “different” from them. Even if some gun control regulations are made, those people will still be there. Hating different people just like me. 

Things like this make me wonder about my security in this country. It makes me question my decision of moving to this country to begin with. And it just makes me sad.

A day in the life of Doctor_PMS

So this post is my contribution to The New PI‘s amazing idea of sharing “A day in the life” redux: what do scientists outside of academia do? My chosen day was last Monday, November 2nd. I wrote down everything that happened during my day and later on added some more details about it. Because I deal with many people and at recurrent times during the day, I’d refer to them as Professor 1, Professor 2, etc…

8:00 am: radio alarm starts. 8:10am cellphone alarm starts. Yes, you read it correctly. Most of my territory is on central time, so I cannot really start working until 10am my time… Lucky me, such a nocturnal person! Around 8:30 am I finally get out of bed and pick up my personal computer to check personal email, Facebook, Twitter, etc…

9:00-9:20 am: As I work from home, I don’t need to get all dressed up, so I just go to my office (in my living room) and turn on work computer. Check work emails, connect to the firewall, open my CRM. That’s where all inquire for quotes, database of current opportunities and orders are.

9:20-9:35am: As we are in the beginning of the month, I go over what’s likely to be sold this month and send a forecast email to my regional manager.

9:35-9:45am: My Boss asked for a list of all orders I sold belonging to the molecular line. There’s going to be a 2x commission rate for all those! So I go through my system and send him the list. Yay!

9:45-10:35am: Receive a new lead. Professor 1 needs a quote for a detector to add to an existing HPLC. Once you accept the lead in the system, you create an opportunity and need to fill tons of fields. Forecast day. Market code. Product expected value. Found detector but the existing HPLC is discontinued. So I called sales assistance to ask if new detector is compatible with old HPLC. They answered my question and made me download a tool in which you can add equipment specifications and check for compatibility. Cool!

10:35-10:55am: Received a bunch of webinar invitations, accepted and moved them to my google calendar. As everyone I work with is remote, we have tons of webinars that we need to attend.

10:55- 11:20am: Professor 2 asked for a better price on a quote I’ve sent, so I’m adding a 25% discount, instead of 20%. Done and sent!

11:30-11:50am: Professor 3 sent me an email, telling me his old LCMS system went completely down and he needs something ASAP. He runs it with another company’s software and wants to know if his software could run a new LC from our company. I tried to look it up, but couldn’t find the answer online, so I forwarded the email to my HPLC specialist.

11:52-12:20pm: Email request from Professor 4 wanting to see the pricing on the HPLC system I quoted him with manual injection and a degasser.  Also, specifications on the UV detector. Done!

12:23-1:15pm: Lunch break. As I’m trying to lose some weight, I just walk in the kitchen and fix myself a big salad. Coffee and a little lazy time after.

1:15-1:20pm: Check for my follow up email folder. Draft email to new professor 5 about the GC quote I sent while back and invitation to discuss different equipment equivalences with the GC specialist. However, wanted to give the GC specialist a heads up first and discuss arguments in the email. Called him and left message.

1:20-2:00pm: HPLC specialist didn’t write me back, so I just called. System I quoted would not work with professor 3 existing software. We have 2 options: quote a brand new one (more expensive) or demo one. Send email to professor asking his preference.

2:00-3:30pm: Sales training webinar

3:30-3:50pm: Called regional manager to set up details about the lunch and learn that I’m organizing here at the University. Yay, they agreed to pay for it, and it’s going to be awesome!

3:50-4:15pm: GC specialist called me back! We discussed details about quote for professor 5, finished draft email and set up a call meeting.

4:15-4:35pm: In the meantime, professor 3 told me he rather go with a brand new equipment rather than refurbished. Prepare new HPLC quote and dig into my company brochures to justify why this new quote is so much expensive.

4:35-5:15pm: Made a few phone calls to professors with coming opportunities in my system. Most of them didn’t pick up the phone, but talked to one that told me they were still waiting for funding. Update this in my system and check emails one last time.

5:15pm: Done with the day and ready to go to the gym!

So today was a busy day, and I didn’t have extra time to make phone calls to people in my system. Other days are calmer, and I spend more time chitchatting with researchers about their research and future plans. In spite of working from home, I’ve been pretty busy and got used to the new routine. I hope this post was helpful and feel free to contact me if you want to talk more about leaving academia!