29 August 2014

Greetings from Texas, and my new office!

It's been quiet around here lately. My excuse this time was moving halfway across the country. I announced a few months back that I'm starting as an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Tyler, and I'm happy to report that I've arrived and am adjusting to this new role. Five days of orientation and other meetings last week was followed by a week of getting settled in to my office here on campus.

Getting an office of my own was high on my list of things to gleefully anticipate after moving. I'm very invested in having a working space that is comfortable with my commonly used materials readily accessible. That seems common sense, but it's a bit more unpredictable in practice. To be frank, my sense of aesthetics is somewhat...weird. I was assigned an office that formerly belonged to a group of graduate students, complete with a wealth of academic detritus to sort and clean. Rather than being disgruntled at the extra work, I was delighted! I enlisted the help of my kind partner, Matt, to rearrange furniture and bring in my books. What treasures did we unearth?

Hiding behind a bookcase was an old-school bulletin board. My office it near a main entrance for the building, so a campus map is handy for directing brand-new students to their classes (most of them are looking for another building, of course). I'm also adding some obligatory cat cartoons and geeky science pictures (top right is a sticker from Craig McClain's wood fall project).

Dum Dums....
of the chewy variety
Lurking in desk drawers were various electronics. I'm the proud new owner of a Dell desktop, three scanners, a printer, and too many other peripherals to count! I'll be setting them up in my lab next spring for students to use.

I've also learned that Chewy Dum Dums are a thing. I have a 2 lb bag, although I only keep a portion of them "on display" in this lovely fall-themed container (there's a This Is Public Health sticker on the other side). In the interest of public health, I'll probably eat the entire bag of candy myself...who knows how long they've been there!

The blood II
The pièce de résistance of my new office finds is a poster aptly titled "The blood II," made in Soviet Occupied Germany. It suits my pseudo-vampiric aesthetic quite nicely. On the wall opposite that masterpiece is one of my most prized possessions...a microbiology lab report in quilt form, made and gifted to me by my dear friend Katy. I have a few other posters and pieces of art to hang in here, and am planning on adding at least one wall hanging of my own (which has yet to be created...I'm thinking something knitted with needle felted elements, with nature motifs?). 

Katy's quilted microbiology lab report
So far, I'm satisfied with the setup of my space for now. I don't have any windows, so I might add a desk lamp (see my post about headaches and the importance of lighting). I also want to add some plants, and I have a few cricket "pets" hiding beneath my desk right now. Regardless, I'm very much looking forward to finally getting back to science after too many weeks of moving and administrative work.