Mmm tastes like science.
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August 15, 2016
Restored prairie in Money Creek Township; McLean County, Illinois

Hello, science lovers.

Welcome to our first edition of the BGSA Newsletter, Science Café. We're glad you’re here.

A lot of ideas float through my head every day, usually more than I know what to do with. Most of them remain in the realm of ideas. So I have to admit that it’s simultaneously unbelievable and thrilling to see one of these ideas resonate with my colleagues and transform from the concept of a science newsletter into a real, living document. We are so excited to share this first issue with you.

First, allow me to introduce our team. We are graduate students from each group of the Biological Sciences department at UIC, known by its friends as BioS, who want to talk with you about science.

We’ve built a space to grow and connect our scientific community- within the UIC BioS department, our greater UIC community, and the non-scientific world. Some of it will live in this email, and some of the juicier bits will live on our website. Use the site to learn more about us, check out the cool stuff we just couldn’t fit here, and share your ideas.

As you scroll through this space, be sure to check out these highlights:
- a feature article written by one of our own. Read this month’s piece about how I learned to stop lying about my job.
- a curated collection of what the internet is saying about science. Everything from fresh research breakthroughs to advice on grant writing to what the Olympics would be like in outer space.
- an interview with a BioS grad student. Learn about Abdel Halloway, a PhD student in UIC’s Ecology and Evolution group who makes fake ecosystems.

We’ll bring you these treats and more each month. So sit back, grab your morning beverage of choice, and get clicking!

Happy Monday :)

Laura Manning

Works Cited

Welcome (back) to grad school - nobody cares about you. Get to work and get that money! How to revamp Syllabus Day and practice Jedi mind tricks in the classroom. Meet the fearless pioneers of science. Time to fix the leaky pipeline. Does work-life balance exist in academia? Ask our postdocs. After 140 years, risky science reveals the lichen trinity. Would Michael Phelps be a champion if the Olympics were held in space? And how is the view of the sun out there? Zika, meet CRISPR. Breakthrough technology invented right here on campus. A crash course in the microbiome - hard at work from our athletes to our prairies. High hopes for pest control in a land that evolved for millions of years without mammals. Can humans dressed in whooping crane costumes rescue these birds? The dark side of competitive peer review- and the bright side. Explore this political data playground.

Under the Lens
Abdel Halloway

“Everyone’s ignorant about something and that’s why you go to school, that’s why you get training. If you’re authentic people will be fine with you just being who you are.”

Read our interview with Abdel here.
Who should we interview? Email us at

Podcast Picks

Flip the Script  
What happens when people ignore their natural instinct and act the exact opposite way? Set aside a thoughtful hour with Lulu Miller, Hanna Rosin, and Alix Spiegel.

#3 Guns 
Join Aussie host Wendy Zukerman for a pun-filled thirty minutes to see how the gun lobby matches up against science on whether guns keep us safe. 

Looking to escape reality? Fictional investigative journalist Lia Haddock interviews survivors of a town whose inhabitants all mysteriously disappeared without a trace. Great for a binge.

Supplemental Figure

We are the champions.

Shoutouts to...

Our summer superstars. Jennifer McGinnis passed her prelim. Jane “call me doctor” Kim is tonsil free! Nicholas Waszczak added three special letters to his name, PhD!

Dawson White! Not only did he legally import coca specimens from Peru, he also won a Graduate Student Research Grant from the American Society of Plant Taxonomists AND a Mini-ARTS (Advanced Revisionary Taxonomy and Systematics) Award from the Society of Systematic Biologists. Workin it!

Jarrad Hampton-Marcell who won a UBiome Research Grant Competition of up to $100k! Enjoy those lab kits, Jarrad.

The winners of our BioS Research Photo Competition: Valentina Gomez, Anna Czupryna, Mason Fidino, Gosia Kokoszka, Nolan Bielinski, Sebnem Eksi, Todd Widhelm, Boriana Tchernookova, Steve Sullivan, and Koroush Yazdani. Come see your beautiful framed photos in 4273 SEL.

You summer babies. Avinash G, Xin W, Dan A, Sarah Z, Sarah T, Thom P, and Yang C, we’re so glad you’re alive!

Sandy Troxell-Smith and her brand new summer baby Jackson! The cutest little Spartan we ever saw.

Go on, brag a little. Send us your rockstar moments of the month at



8/15-8/19      New BioS graduate student orientation
8/17              BioS Beginning of the Year Picnic @ the Greenhouse

Weds            Yoga @ the College of Nursing
9/19              Constitution Day  and more Civic Engagement events

8/17              The Secret Life of Female Chimpanzees
                     @ Chicago Public Library
8/20              Field Market Day @ Field Museum
8/27              Improv for PhDs @ The Revival
                     Free Admission Day @ Field Museum
9/15              Adler After Dark @ Adler Planetarium
9/21              Women in Science Symposium @ Field Museum
9/23              Gender Bias Under the Microscope @ Rosalind Franklin

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