Monday, October 05, 2009

467. Pitch for My Ph.D. Thesis to Pass Around: Adaptive / Integrative Storytelling in Science and Society: Case Studies in Human-Environmental Systems

Figure 1. Questioning the Role of Science in Society in Concern of Human-Environmental Problems (Promotional Cartoon to Decor Any Open-Minded Individual's Office).
Figure 2. Ditto. This cartoon is also present in Blog 363. Initiating my first correspondences with my Gonzo Science Hero... John Bohannon!


So, I have to turn in the dreaded "Form 1" for my Ph.D. thesis at the Bren School at UC Santa Barbara, and I have to write a blurb about what I will be doing for my Ph.D. aka some form of "meaning of life" statement. I tried to summarize my work in a couple of pages, but it didn't happen. It's 7 pages now, but at least it's BARELY COHERENT ENOUGH, BARELY COHESIVE ENOUGH so that the professors I will be talking to can have the basic gist of where I'm heading. If I didn't have a 15-second elevator pitch, I would ask people the question, "What is the definition of science when humans/scientists consider themselves a part of the experiment? A part of their systems of study?" Welcome to my rabbithole, plain and simple.

I had a very hard time writing this document... this "pitch".... I tried to start writing it back in Sebastopol... maybe over two weeks ago... but without much luck. I think I needed some initial advice, input, feedback from my friends in Santa Barbara, like Shannon and Julie.... I think I have had enough conversations throughout the entire week to feel confidence to crank out this little blurb that barely scratches the surface of the rabbithole I've dug myself into.

I came to realize I NEEDED this document before I start spreading my Mountain's Last Flower novella like a disease across campus... more so to a carefully handpicked crop of professors who I may or may not ask the "Will you marry me?" aka "Will you be on my committee?" question, forming solid molecular bonds of an intellectual family around me (ugh, the stress!). My advisor Oran gave me some really COOL advice. He told me to engage in several conversations around campus, but ask the question politely, "If asked in the near future, would you be willing to be on my committee?" So, the first round does not require commitment whatsoever... so you don't drop a bombshell. Whew. Good move.

So here I go, dropping some kind of half-xss bomb on a bunch of people around campus--people who don't necessarily deserve it--I really feel like I'm giving people a hazardous construction site for a summary of a project... but I suppose I need to provide more elaboration since my project's so interdisciplinary. Maybe in this case, it's better to show a "promising work in progress" than a "turd fancy wrapped with a bonus bow tie." Eh? I think my conversations with Mike Davis further encouraged me. Thanks to all my friends and professors the last week for encouraging me! All I need right now is nothing but "positive momentum." Same with Jules!

1 comment:

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