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It’s not a lab coat June 16, 2014

Posted by mareserinitatis in engineering, research, work.
Tags: , , , , , ,

I’ve been doing some work in the lab, and after I fried something, decided I needed to be a bit more careful.  So out come the blue smocks.

Of course, some people prefer to call them ESD jackets.  I’m one of them, but I absent-mindedly revert to ‘smock’ when I’m not thinking.  I prefer to call them jackets because ‘smock’ evokes images of an granny in a ruffly apron who speaks in a high, squeaky voice (almost as annoying as Karen from Will and Grace).

Come to think of it, they’re about as flattering…

My coworker had a pretty good description: he said we looked like the Bobbsey Twins.  I’d never heard of them, but after seeing this, I think he’s right:

Bobbsey Twins


That’s approximately the correct shade of blue for an ESD smock.  However, I wish my ESD jacket had a ruffled collar.  Or that it was actually purple.

Wordless Wednesday: The engineering section January 29, 2014

Posted by mareserinitatis in engineering, photography.
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1 comment so far


Playing dress-up July 11, 2013

Posted by mareserinitatis in career, engineering.
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A while back, I wrote a post on EngineerBlogs about how I could never find the right mix of clothes to make me look like an engineer.  A lot of people had great advice, and a few months ago, I finally settled on what I call my ‘work uniform’.  I looked at most of my male engineering colleagues, and I wore what I viewed to be the equivalent female for an outfit: a button down shirt, jeans, and flats.  So far, I like it.  We’ll see how I feel once I start teaching this fall.

Okay, I have to admit that one of the shirts has a cheetah pattern.  I am amused when I wear this.  I’m not sure why, but I think it’s hilarious.

This is totally me...if I were Asian and skinny.

This is totally me…if I were Asian and skinny.

On the other hand, there are days when I still need to step it up.  I know a lot of women like to dress up, but it really makes me uncomfortable.  Rather than feeling like I’m making a great impression, I feel more like I’m a five-year-old who is rummaging around in mom’s closet for the pumps and lipstick so I can play dress up.  I suspect I’d be able to walk in heels better if they were twice the size of my feet but, sadly, I’m no longer able to find anything with same proportions to my adult feet that my five-year-old feet were used to.  I probably look just fine, but somehow I feel goofy and just want my jeans back.

Dress for success, i.e. dress like a man September 14, 2012

Posted by mareserinitatis in career, engineering, teaching, work.
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This week, I had a speaker from the career center come and talk to my classes in preparation for a career fair.  He spent some time talking about appropriate dress, and showed examples of potential outfits for both sexes.  I found this quite interesting, especially given a previous discussion on the topic of women’s dress on EngineerBlogs.

The first thing that caught my attention was that he said that women should wear their hair up if they want to be perceived as more professional.  As a woman who has long hair, I can totally see this.  I’m also not terribly happy about it because when my hair gets to a certain length, I start getting headaches if I wear it up.  Beyond that, though, I think it’s interesting because of potential social implications.  The speaker said that a woman who is willing to expose her neck comes across as more confident and competent.  But that does make me wonder why…and the only thing I’ve been able to come up with is that women who wear ponytails look a lot more like men.  Men who are considered ‘professional’ tend to wear their hair short.  A woman who puts her hair up and exposes her neck looks more like a man with a short haircut, and men, in general, are going to be perceived as more professional.  I may be wrong about that, but I couldn’t help but wonder.

Women’s clothing choices seemed more limited, IMO.  It seemed like men could wear a lot of different things and still look ‘professional’.  (I do have to note, however, that men don’t have extremely wide wardrobe choices to begin with.)  By contrast, women’s clothing varied so much more in style, and most of them were not professional.  Make sure you wear sleeves, be careful of color, watch the jewelry, etc.  Beyond that, one of the outfits was one that I think a lot of other women would find professional or stylish but apparently weren’t perceived that way by potential employers.  I’ve seen women criticize other women’s clothing, but apparently some of the choices that were being criticized as ‘unfashionable’ were being judged differently by employers.  This makes me wonder if it’s not a good idea to get ideas of professional dress from other women, particularly if the field is much more male-oriented.

Beyond that, I had to wonder if presentations like this are ultimately harmful.  On the one hand, I think it’s good to make sure the students understand the implications of their dress choices.  Still, I have to wonder if these presentations reinforce ideas about what is professional and not, leading students to eventually make evaluations of others based on what they were told.  I sort of feel like this is perpetuating a system where people are evaluated based on their clothing choices, especially on how feminine they look, rather than their technical ability.  This is particularly frustrating because my observation is that someone who is quick to catch on to what constitutes professionalism may not necessarily be the best engineer.


Hung out to dry May 5, 2012

Posted by mareserinitatis in family, personal.
Tags: , , , ,

Some days I don’t feel like posting about science or engineering or anything like that.  This is one of those days, and I’m feeling more domestically inclined.  (Perhaps it was baking muffins that got me on this kick.)

Over a year ago, a relative of mine was featured in the local paper because of his attempts to minimize energy use and how this was connected to his ministry (he was a minister at a local church, at the time).  I actually didn’t know how far he’d gone in his attempts until reading the article, and I have to say I’ve been trying to think of ways to do things like this ever since.  The picture included with the article showed him in his basement with lines hung all around, drying his clothes.

A couple months ago, I decided that there was no reason not to try something similar.  When I was a kid, we had clotheslines in the back of most of the places we lived, but I never really liked those.  I don’t know how many times I brought in clothes that were covered in dust or seeds…or even bugs!  I also had no idea how I’d hang lines around my basement (or how to keep the kids from playing with them and turning them into a place to hang and launch toys.) Instead, I bought a couple of clothes-drying racks and set them up in my basement.  I figured it would cut down on use of our dryer (extending its longevity), cut down on energy use, and help keep some of our clothes from coming to an early demise.  (I think I read somewhere that heat destroys cotton over time, and I’ve seen it with a few of my own things.)

I tried to talk my husband into using them, but I don’t think he likes them a whole lot.  He is giving it a try…at least for now.  We’ve determined that several of our work clothes just simply can’t be dried on the rack because they get too wrinkled.  (I’m sorry, but I really don’t iron clothes unless absolutely necessary.)  Also, jeans take forever.  I keep trying to get myself onto a schedule (like I was a few years ago), where I did specific loads of laundry on specific days (Mondays was whites, Tuesdays was jeans, etc.).  I think it would work much better than just doing things on the weekend…and running out of space.  I am also trying to think harder about what kinds of clothes will dry well on the racks and try to avoid those really wrinkly things.  That’s difficult, however, as you can’t always tell how well they’ll work until you see what they look like wet.

The end result is that we’re drying about half of our laundry on the racks, while the other half is still going through the drier.  I still feel guilty that I’m not doing all of it this way, but I keep telling myself that every little bit is a step in the right direction.  (And, hey, if it cuts down on expenses, even better.)

(Thanks to Ukko.de for the picture!)


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