At NatGeo, Mondays and Fridays are generally quiet, while Tuesday through Thursday is an endless string of one-hour meetings. I’m not sure what it is about the one-hour meeting, but even if everything is solved within 38 minutes, we’ll inevitably find another 22 minutes of things to talk about. I’m told that’s a very “DC” thing – the one-hour meeting – probably comes from the government.
I started my morning with a fabulous lecture from one of our grantees – Dr. Erin Riley (San Diego State University) – talking about her NGS-funded project to study the Silver River macaques of Florida. These are the only primates (besides us) living in the continental United States, and they were brought to Florida in the 1940s-50s to be a tourist attraction for a “jungle cruise.” There are now hundreds of these Southeast Asian monkeys living in a state park near Jacksonville. Is there anything endemic still living in Florida? I doubt it…
Early afternoon brought a super-fun trip to the dentist, before returning to my desk to work on some cool metrics we’re investigating at the moment. NatGeo has never analyzed its grant-giving performance. For example, we can’t tell you, how many grantees are female. Or Latino. What is the success rate of women vs. men applying to our grant programs? Who knows?! But we’re trying to change that. I’ve started a simple analysis looking at the number of women applying to NatGeo for research grants in anthropology, archaeology, geography, geology, and paleontology. I want to compare applicant rates (i.e., how many women apply vs. men) and success rates (i.e., how many female applicants are successful vs. male) over the past 10 years, and compare applicant/success rates between the different disciplines. Hopefully I’ll finish it by the end of this week.
I had a meeting at 4pm today with the head of our Science and Exploration group, a representation from our international channel (NGCi), and a film producer currently making a documentary for British TV about one of our grantees working in Egypt. As one of the resident PhDs at NatGeo, one of the roles I play is to keep our media “on track” and away from offensive or unethical content. It’s always interesting to learn how media thinks about science, versus how scientists think about science. It gives one insight into the problems communicating climate change, evolution, etc.