Art helps you learn, not only about the subject, but about yourself. It leaves an impression. Art makes you laugh and cry. It makes you think and feel. And then, when you least expect it, that residual experience creeps back into your conscience without prompt.
Viewing a subject through an artistic lens can provoke spontaneous inspiration and creativity. Art gets you to think outside the box. It simplifies. It relates. Art penetrates even the most daunting of topics. Which is why this month The NICHD Connection comes to you with an artistic twist.
For those fellows who are unaware that we have a bona fide poet in our midst, we present an original work by Dr. Stratakis. His poem, titled “Nicaea, DC (the 2nd time),” is a re-envisioned version of a previous poem that celebrates the diversity of our workforce. In my interpretation, the poem captures the range and juxtapositions of peoples and cultures throughout time and space—an elegant symbolism for how diverse our NICHD community is.
Some of our summer interns have also taken their hands to pen—ok, probably keyboard. They package a single thought about their research experiences into a haiku, a traditional form of Japanese poetry known, in part, for its syllable composition. Their haikus offer a rare look into the mind of a young trainee.
Certainly, we can’t have an art-focused issue without “The Arts” column. Nicki Swan shifts our focus to the visual arts, where she expertly explains the difference between vector and raster graphics. If you plan to generate a poster or PowerPoint presentation in your future, this article will help you avoid rookie graphic mistakes.
We round out the issue with a comprehensive article by Dr. Anthony Hickey about the exciting progress we’ve made in HIV research discussed during the July 2014 NICHD Exchange meeting. On the job front, Dr. Swagata Roychowdhury writes about the Principal Investigator (PI) Predictor, an online program that aims to predict a scientist’s likelihood of becoming a PI. Skeptical? Check it out.
In honor of postdoc appreciation week this month, I will make my artistic contribution in the form of a postdoc-inspired sonnet using a traditional Italian rhyming and stanza scheme.
“Sonnet of a Postdoc”
Tis been three days, two nights in lab I spent
The sun, a figment of my mind’s brisk dream
I fear my patience tore its fragile seam
The deadline for my manuscript has went
The chemicals float up the hooded vent
My dear pipette does offer steady stream
My bank account has taken on a theme
It never breaks a hundred and two cent
What’s this? My gel does have a single band
Does this exist before my very eye?
Oh joy! I can’t believe the data’s there
A job from this, oh yes, I think I’ll land
To all best research schools I will apply
I think I’ll ask for the department chair
Your Editor in Chief,
Shana R. Spindler, PhD
Please send correspondence (we welcome your feedback!) to Shana.Spindler@gmail.com.