Montag 22.04.2024 18:00 — 19:30
Online Event

Growing up in Academia with Corina Logan

Corina Logan today ...

Corina Logan today ... (Photo: Dustin Angell)

... and as a student.

... and as a student.

What is it to be a scientist? How does one become a scientist? Growing Up in Academia is a conversation series with academics at different levels of their career focusing on the sometimes short, sometimes long and winding roads behind the “official CV”.

Each event features an open conversation (interview) with a different faculty member, representing the broad spectrum of academic life. We will cover topics such as dealing with expectations (your own and others’), the role of luck/coincidence in scientific discovery, impostor syndrome, procrastination, and conflicts with advisors. Join us for a conversation about the human factors that universally inform the profession, but that too often remain unspoken. These events will be hosted and presented by Lucia Melloni (Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics). 

On Monday, April 22, 6 p.m. CET, Growing Up in Academia features Corina Logan, Senior Researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology

This Growing Up in Academia session is an online event: Please register here

Official CV

Human modified environments are rapidly increasing and populations must either adjust to or suffer from these habitat changes. Corina’s lab investigates how populations of grackles (an urban bird) use behavior to adapt to environmental change. In particular, she focuses on behavioral flexibility, the ability to adjust behavior to new circumstances, because it is thought to play an important role in acclimating to changing environments. Corina is currently a Senior Researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and previously held two fellowships: one as a Leverhume Early Career Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge, and the other as a Junior Research Fellow at the University of California Santa Barbara. Corina co-founded Peer Community in Registered Reports which is innovating registered reports to make them accessible for all fields and types of research, and she co-leads the #BulliedIntoBadScience campaign where early career researchers are working to change academic culture to adopt open research practices to improve research rigor.


Unoffical CV

Corina, originally from the Seattle USA area, was homeschooled until the age of 16 when she obtained her high school equivalency diploma. Actually, she was “unschooled”, which is where the parents take a passive role in their kids’ education and let the kids lead what they want to learn. She grew up with horses and dogs and cats and loved animals so much that she became vegetarian at a young age, and later vegan. She worked in a variety of jobs, from web designer (back in the day when the internet was new and no one had a website), to retail, to social services where she worked with at risk youth to better connect them with health services as an AmeriCorps member (kind of like the PeaceCorps, but local to the US). At the end of an AmeriCorps term, members get almost $5000 that can only be used toward education at a university. She wasn’t planning on going to university (her dad had odd ideas about education and the government), but she didn’t want to lose the money so she signed up to take classes part time at a local community college (a 2-year college that awards Associate Degrees that count toward a Bachelors Degree). It was here she learned that there is such a career as a biology researcher and that she loved this line of work. She also found an affinity for acting and did some independent films in the Seattle area until she got tired of all of the flaky directors, deciding that, if she wanted to keep enjoying acting, she shouldn’t do it as a career (indeed, she now thoroughly enjoys acting with and directing dogs in short films). After she got her Associate Degree, where she was obsessed with getting high grades, she transferred to The Evergreen State College because they focused on research, there are no grades but rather written evaluations, and courses are taught together as a learning community. She took a tropical rainforests course that allowed her to do independent research in Costa Rica for a term. She studied play behavior in coatis (a raccoon relative) and discovered her passion for animal behavior research. She got her Bachelors Degree and worked with a counselor for first generation college graduates to prepare applications to grad schools. She was rejected from all universities in 2 years of applications until she finally got in to a few places in the third year of applying (during this time, she worked as a field research technician for the State of Washington). Of these, only one offered funding, the Gates Cambridge Scholarship at the University of Cambridge, which happened to also be her top choice. During her PhD, she started applying for post-PhD opportunities - fellowships and grants to do her dream project on grackle behavior. She applied to 30 things and got 1 - the fellowship at UCSB, which is in grackle land and launched her grackle research. It was a 2 year fellowship, but it took 2.5 years to get the permits to study the grackles so her boss kindly gave her an extra year (whew!). She then applied for 10 fellowships and grants and got 1 - the Leverhulme to work on red deer brain size at Cambridge. During this fellowship, she didn’t apply for many things (jobs/grants), but made contact with her current boss at Max Planck. He invited her to give a talk, which ended up resulting in a job offer, and the grackle project was launched at a much bigger scale. While she still loves working with the grackles, she has learned many things about running large scale projects, field sites, collaborations, and teams. In short, the administrative side takes up so much more time than expected and takes a psychological toll (she suffered from depression at one point and got help from a wonderful Max Planck counselor to come out of it). Along the way, she realized that there is rampant exploitation of researchers and public use of funds in academia. For example, readers have to pay to read publicly funded research; journal peer review processes claim to select for quality, but it usually happens behind closed doors and does not take action to counteract sexist and racist biases in choosing which articles get published. This led her to design her own open and verifiable research process and co-found Peer Community in Registered Reports, which forges an ethical path to publication.All of this admin left little room for actually doing research, which is still her passion. To get back to doing field research, she scaled back her team and started collaborations to support other’s field projects. It is working out really well (if you don’t count the fact that the bird tracking gear and automated feeders don’t work and the companies that sold them to her won’t fix them). 


The event will be held on Zoom. Pleaso note the Data Protection Information Regarding Zoom Webinars.