Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Donors to tour my lab


Like many schools, our facilities are outdated. Wayyy outdated. We are in a campaign to raise money for a new science center. It will be so expensive, that our fundraising department is not even bothering us peons yet, they are spending all their effort on people who can make a substantial contribution. A goodly portion of these people will be touring the facility in a few weeks. I've been asked to give a demonstration of my research- complete with student doing experiment and all. There are a few concerns about this. 1. The student hasn't been in the lab for weeks and has yet to get a successful experiment. I'm very nervous about the success of this "demo" experiment. 2. The list of donors, once I looked over them, were not wealthy alum business owners as I expected, but heads of research corporations and science bigwigs including a name you know. Yes, I know you know this name. That big.

*#^*#@*$^!*@!!!!! What have I gotten myself into?!?!?

I wish I could put aside all my teaching responsibilities and just perfect the lab for the next few weeks, but I can't. Moreover, I wish the student was available for that full time, too, so I could assure myself that he really knows what he was talking about. He likes to speak with confidence about everything, no matter whether he knows his stuff or not. Wealthy businessperson alumni could be fooled. These people absolutely cannot.


  1. Good luck!
    We had a film crew come to our lab once to take some stock footage of us doing "experiments"

    It Lets just say I understand how the scientific advisers at CSI now feel. Useless.
    "No, we don't normally do science in the dark with glowing green beakers."

    "Yes, I do know it does make good TV."

    I hope your experiment goes off with out a hitch!

  2. Can you introduce a structured component to this tour, like a short powerpoint presentation given by the student (3-4 slides)? He could practice with you ahead of time, have a few topics to expand (but nothing outside of his knowledge) and you could make him practice saying "I don't know".

  3. Thanks for the well wishes and suggestions. I will take the suggestion of having a structured component... perhaps I will intriduce the whole lab with our posters outside the lab and he can springboard on that to introduce his project and technique. I still really hope it works. We have a positive control, that we may pull out if necessary. But then he wouldn't actually be working on his project (makes for good TV, I guess)...