I hope you have some great lab parties

Neil Buttery and Boahemaa Adu-Oppong are moving on, so we had a lab party to celebrate the wonderful times we have had. It was a pot-luck at our home. We had a British chicken, spinach pakoras, guacamole, bread, cheese, yogurt, dips, pflaumenkuchen, peanut butter cookies, raisin oatmeal cookies, peach pie, St. Louis beer, Michigan beer, and many other delicacies. In Houston we nearly always had pizza parties, with our homemade pizza and many toppings, all vegetarian. I’m glad to have moved to pot-lucks, I have to say.

Niel and Boahemaa clowning around.

It is one of the sad things that students move on. Their time with us is limited, a summer, one year, five years, or more, but it always ends. Neil is going home to Manchester where he’ll be teaching and getting his food business off the ground.  I hope you’re reading his blogs, Neil Cooks Grigson, and British Food: A History. We’ll be able to keep up with him and his wonderful recipes, but he won’t be bringing them to us to try at lunch any more. No more Gentleman’s relish, or beet chutney, or lemon curd.

Boahemaa has been with us for five years, first as an undergrad, then for a year as a technician. She isn’t going far. She is starting grad school right here at Wash U, and rotating in an ecology lab where she’ll be working with Kerri Crawford, also from Rice. We’ll miss her guidance of our undergrads, our lab management, and our website. You’ll notice the difference over on our lab page. It is wonderful to see what a great scientist she has developed into.

With both Neil and Boahemaa we’ll keep in touch, just as we do with our other former group members. It is really special to see them again, to hear how they are thriving, for yes, they do usually thrive. It is a wonderful worldwide community of the closest connections.

Debbie, Dave, Devin, and friends of Debbie’s

We have a whole crew of new people in our group, which makes it really fun. They are all readers, so we discussed things like what the best intro to philosophy of biology is. Ideas? One thing I really like is how helpful everyone is. Those with NSF predoctoral fellowships help advise those just applying. I wish all of them well, and will read any number of drafts. But everyone can’t get an NSF predoc, so we don’t obsess on them too much. I can’t imagine what sitting on that panel must be like with so many people and so little information.

Hannah, Kim, jeff, Rondy, Xiangjun, Lily, and Boahemaa scored seats at the table. It was too hot outside.

I think parties, celebrations, informal discussions are important, and this one was particularly fun. It was held at one of my favorite times for parties, early Sunday evening, beginning at 5pm. I hope you have found a way to incorporate celebrations into your lab culture. I also love to hear our group do things on their own together, though I wish I were around next week for some of the adventures I heard about here.

For Boahemaa and Neil, best of luck, keep the smiles, the humor, the fun, and keep discovering!

About Joan E. Strassmann

Evolutionary biologist, studies social behavior in insects & microbes, interested in education, travel, birds, tropics, nature, food; biology professor at Washington University in St. Louis
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