We are a team
Coming from a sport background, I realize teamwork is essential for success. Based on my insights, compared with labs at various other institutions this principle stands out. We are a large and united group of awesome people possessing diverse skillsets and we work together successfully with numerous institutions, companies and government organizations.
Dave is the head coach and Chelsie is the assistant coach, and they constantly monitor and support the rest of us, the players. The players have strengths in disciplines such as engineering, statistics, computer science and earth sciences, and the coaches assign players roles to maximize individual and team success.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Like going over drills in practice to improve a jump shot, gaining any skill takes repetition and practice. For me, that new skill was coding in R for which I thank my wise teammates who turned me into a master (just kidding!). There is ALWAYS room for improvement, and you need to persevere or you’ll lose some of your form and skill.
Work Hard, Play Hard
We have a great work life-balance in the Flux Lab. Work is fast paced and demanding, but hours are flexible so we have personal time to devout to hobbies and interests. We often hang out to unwind as a team. Our Annual General Meeting is always a fun time! Once we tried an escape room…my group just made it out alive?
This team stays in shape and encourages health & wellness with things like fitness challenges, team hikes and squash matches. Among us are cyclists, rock climbers, runners, yogis and hockey players. We make time to get those workouts in!
Bi-weekly meetings allow the team to focus in and stay up to date on current projects and new developments. Our coaches guide the discussion, and everyone can contribute. Coach Dave ensures projects are steered properly and in one on one meetings the players gain personal feedback about projects.
The Locker Room
We have awesome work spaces that facilitate sociability. Hello comfy couches on campus! In Halifax, some of us work from Volta, a cool open co-working space downtown that is close to great lunch spots.
Connections with Alumni
During my MSc, I planned weekly Earth Science talks with guest speakers at Dalhousie University. Having alumni involved with and supporting the team is important for the strength of any program, athletic or academic. It was great to connect with past Flux Lab member like James Williams (McGill) and Nick Nickerson (Eosense) who gave talks in Fall 2018.
Field season and conference travel is similar to team travel to games. We get to experience new areas or cities in Canada or internationally, and have to show up with our game face on as we were constantly meeting new collaborators, scientists, and stakeholders while representing our research lab and working hard in the field or sharing our research. I attended massive Annual Geophysics Union conferences in New Orleans with Tara and Liz in 2017 and in Washington D.C. with Nadia in 2018. Both were incredible experiences.
Feeling that the community is behind you and your teammates is empowering, and this is true for basketball and research. During my field work in Stellarton people welcomed the lab crew and I to sample their groundwater wells. The “superfans” were highly interested in our work; they chatted with us the entire time we were sampling and some even baked treats specifically for us. They said having us visit to sample the well water was the highlight of their day which enhanced field work all the more!
Buzzer beaters for the win
Much like the game winning basket in the final seconds, we often rely on each other to meet report/thesis/project deadlines, and always get the job done!
Field season is like AUS playoffs; dedication and effort invested during the months leading up to it is on display. Prepping for a killer summer field season requires tons of organizing, planning, and prepping or building equipment. The team puts a lot of work in all year long so that the data we collect during field season will carry us forward and on to the next level, when we’ll watch senior players embark on new paths and welcome rookies for a new season.
by Kim Taylor, April 2019