Yesterday afternoon, the Women in Science organization hosted the event “COVID-19 & the Female Academic: Solving Quarantine Brain,” exploring the transition from virtual events to in-person interaction.
“We [Women in Science] often get postdocs, faculty and staff members in our meetings (which is awesome because they can share their own experiences and insights!)” Elizabeth Herder, a fifth-year PhD candidate in molecular and cell biology with a concentration in microbiology, said. She founded the organization with her advisor, Dr. Sarah Hind.
The event was very informal, with an open flow of discussion between members. They continued running discussions during quarantine to give people a place to blow off some steam and talk about their stresses. Hird explained these meetings offer a platform for “like-minded people who want to hear and want to help.”
The discussion began with some of the positives of working virtually. Many people agreed that it’s nice to not have to commute anywhere, find parking or change out of your pajamas. They posed the question: If those working virtually have the same productivity level as they did when working in person, why not keep it that way?
There were a lot of concerns brought up about whether or not UConn will require students to get vaccinated. Nursing students are already required to be vaccinated in order to visit clinical sites.
A professor within the School of Nursing voiced her apprehension by exclaiming “I’m a little anxious about going back to campus in the fall, from a pandemic perspective. I just had eight students in one class that I teach come down with Covid all at the same time.”
“I’m a little anxious about going back to campus in the fall, from a pandemic perspective. I just had eight students in one class that I teach come down with Covid all at the same time.”Professor, School of Nursing
Many members of the community hope UConn will be able to put together a vaccination unit by August, since the high risk citizens will most likely already be vaccinated by then. One of the attendees told a story about someone they know who refuses to get the vaccine due to their fear of needles, touching upon the population of people who refrain from vaccinations for various reasons.
Attendees of the event also discussed spring break. Many mentioned how they thought the later spring break has led to many students and faculty members being burnt out and tired. They expressed the need for a mental break a bit earlier, especially after the events of the past year.
As the event came to a close, attendees discussed how life will look after the worst of the pandemic comes to an end. They mentioned the difficulty of moving forward without much direction, but also addressed a positive of virtual interaction. Now, if an employee feels a cold or any other ailment coming on, they can just stay home rather than go to work and potentially spread it to their coworkers.
Women in Science was founded in 2017 and is considered a graduate student organization. However, they encourage anyone who is interested to attend their meetings. Their events cover a specific topic each week, which can be a paper, a simple check-in with their members or workshops. Women in Science has brought in recruiting agencies to teach their members how to shift from school to the industry. This organization’s meetings can be a great resource to anyone interested in the scientific field, whether your studies reflect that or not.