Monday, January 09, 2006

Whoever said money can't buy happiness must never have been poor

Some of you have been faithfully following the story of the interdisciplinary bio-nano mucho moolah fellowship I applied for back in June, which I chronicled here, here and here. Well, 7 months later and the verdict is in: I got it! They had deferred my application fall semester for spring and I still hadn't heard back until today, the first day of spring semester. I was sure I had to teach three classes and have a miserable semester. That's actually not true. My fabulous boss (Dr. Woods, not Dr. Hari who's also fabulous) in charge of teaching assisstants had a "hunch" I'd get it and neglected putting me on the teaching schedule. He said if I didn't get it, he would have let me be his personal aid for the semester.

My advisor Dr. Hari is THE worst person in the world about keeping secrets. It's funny because he will be the first one to tell us gossip about faculty members and even students sometimes. He called me up to his office today very morosely. When I walked in he was nonchalantly flipping through a magazine, trying to cover up a grin.

"Do you want the bad news or the good news?" he said.

"Bad." I said, playing into his melodrama, which at this point I already suspected was a total put-on.

"There is no bad news. You got the fellowship!"

He shook my hand while I sat there stunned. I assumed it was over when I hadn't heard anything for months. Now I am officially a National Science Foundation fellow, awarded a prestigious title and making one and a half times the school graduate student stipend.

Dr. Hari said, "Please wait to tell the others until the Program Manager has sent you a confirmation letter. He gave me word a couple days ago and I thought I would burst for not being able to tell you sooner. But congratulations."

I went back down to the lab and told the others immediately. I had to, I was so excited. I warned them that I wasn't supposed to tell and to try to act surprised when Dr. Hari made the announcement.

They shook my hand, hugged me and clapped me on the back. Then James said, "Go ahead, say it!" So I boomed in my best Dave Chapelle, "I'm riiiiich beeeee-yotch!"

A couple of minutes later Dr. Hari came downstairs. "Well, I have something to tell you all."

Srinath blew my cover. "Natalie told us she got the fellowship." Thanks.

Dr. Hari looked at me, surprised at finding somebody worse at keeping a secret than him. "You didn't even make it five minutes!" He said teasingly, "That's okay. I told Jeff a couple of days ago because I couldn't keep it to myself."

Jeff, my closest friend in the lab had known since Friday. I turned and glared at him. "You.....STINKER!" I shouted.

"It wasn't easy not telling you!" he countered back. I had already forgiven him.

So there it is. I have entered the scary realm where biology meets nanotechnology and my resume will be better for it. Not to mention my credit card bills. And my bookshelf...

And just to reiterate, I am making 50% more than my male counterparts now. I kick ass.


minnesotablue said...

Wow!!!!! Are we proud or what!You earned it, desrved it and GOT IT!!!!

Jackie said...


secret girl lunch buddy said...

C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S ! ! !

I knew you should get it. Too bad I didn't know when we went to lunch today. I could have let you buy, money bags. :)

gabrielle said...

Congratulations, Natalie! We won't tell anybody...promise!!!

Sylvia said...

Congratulations!!! I knew you deserved it and am so happy that you got it!! You should be very proud of yourself and all you have accomplished!

lefty_grrrl said...


dancingo4 said...

You are awesome. I'm your dumb American Studies/History Liberal Arts friend so I don't really know understand your nano-bio-physics-crazy science something. But I'm super proud and excited for you! You deserve all the awards they should shower on you. Congratulations you smart, smart girl!!!

mom said...

beauty, brains and now some extra money, you got it going on girl!

DearOldDad said...

I thought something was up after you prevailed at the Math-Masters competition (4th grade!), I just didn’t know it would lead to this!! You are awesome!!!

magnetbabe said...

Family, friends and faithful readers-
Thank you so much for your kind words. Save some enthusiasm for when I (finally) get my PhD! Really, I wouldn't be who I am without an outstanding support circle that includes all of you. Your words and encouragement mean more to me than you will know. This sounds corny as hell, but it's true!

Scott said...

One of the first posts I read of yours was about the imbalance between males and females in your industry. Congrats for going up on all of them. I'm very excited for you.

mr. schprock said...

I'm going to print this out and make my daughters read it. Then I'll say: See? I'll bet she did all her homework and passed her projects in on time!


Hot4Teacha said...

Nat -

You are so totally the smartest person I know, and I am so happy you have been recognized for all your hard work. (Now, in the true Jerry Springer style, you need to do a snap/head twist with a "You better reco-nize!!!!!" at all the guys in your lab!!) Also, can I get a loan?


paganking said...

Way to go Natalie!

magnetbabe said...

I'm really glad that post came back and bit me in the ass ;)

Mr. Schprock-
Maybe not ALL my homeworks and projects. BUt you can tell them I did.

Thanks Di and paganking!