“Can you hear the horses, ’cause here they come!”
In case it wasn’t obvious to anyone who also follows me on Facebook or Twitter, I got a job!
On May 6, I will be starting as a Research Assistant (full-time, non-tenure track faculty) with the Earth & Environmental Systems Institute (EESI) within the Department of Earth & Mineral Sciences at the Pennsylvania State University, in State College, PA.
I applied to two positions, and what I was offered officially when the interviews and negotiations were complete was most of the first, a little of the second, and wiggle room for several other things that caught the eye of the EESI (read the acronym as “easy”) Director (my soon-to-be-boss) and several other participating scientists. My primary responsibilities will be to work with a team responsible for the Critical Zone Observatory (the Critical Zone is the outer layer of the Earth – from the vegetation canopy to soil and groundwater), which has a local observation station south of campus. It’s an NSF-funded project on which I will work on public outreach documents and presentations, publishing data on the web, visualizing data, and otherwise promoting the CZO’s scientific efforts online. I will also work within EESI to assist students and faculty in data management and visualization, such as creation and use of science graphics for proposals, publications, posters and presentations. I may also work with other scientists on a case-by-case basis, using my knowledge of radar meteorology and cloud physics and other areas of expertise.
It isn’t pure atmospheric science, but I will get to use that, along with other knowledge and skills I’ve honed during and since my previous career, and I will be learning a lot of the other earth sciences. I’m very excited. While I’ve become an expert at many things while working somewhere, this will be the first time I’ll be walking in as the expert in several things. That will be different. I am still a bit boggled at how I have, twice during my nearly year-long job search, managed to have someone try to create or customize a position for me.
Toni went with me last week on a site visit. I had a day of meetings/interviews on Thursday, and more on Friday morning. After my final meeting on Friday ended, I e-mailed my preference between the two posted jobs to which I had originally applied. We looked at a condo (for which we have already been approved – we plan to move sometime in mid-April). And we have a good friend in the area, whom I think is also looking forward to our move there. Went to lunch with her on Friday after the condo visit, and, while sitting in the Wegmans Cafe, I received an e-mail mentioning their intent to make me an offer. By the time we’d been to the bookstore for me to get a Nittany Lions t-shirt, the Berkey Creamery (yum!) for ice cream, and back to the hotel, I got my offer letter via e-mail, indicating some of the customized responsibilities based on my many conversations. For a large, public university, I was impressed with the speed and efficiency, and I have a feeling my soon-to-be boss had a lot to do with that.
So now we have a growing list of things to do for the upcoming move…