Pearls of Wisdom–The Blog

~~ “You tell the truth, you tell it well. In the crowded and fetid swamp that is the job market, that is oxygen.” – a reader

The_Professor_Is_In.inddLove the blog? Now get it in handy book form!

Buy it at all these places!

indiebound-button-graphicamazon-button-graphicbn-button-graphic target_retailer googlebooks-button-graphic New iBooks Badge - 11 12

It also makes a great gift for all those struggling grad students in your life!

For bulk orders for use in classes, seminars, and workshops, please call Crown Publishing  (Random House) Customer Service at 1-800-733-3000.



The definitive career guide for grad students, adjuncts, post-docs and anyone else eager to get tenure or turn their Ph.D.  into their ideal job.

Karen Kelsky has made it her mission to help readers join the select few who get the most out of their Ph.D. As a former tenured professor and department head who oversaw numerous academic job searches, she knows from experience exactly what gets an academic applicant a job. And as the creator of the popular and widely respected advice site The Professor is In, she has helped countless Ph.D.’s turn themselves into stronger applicants and land their dream careers.

Now, for the first time ever, Karen has poured all her best advice into a single handy guide that addresses the most important issues facing any Ph.D., including:

-When, where, and what to publish
-Writing a foolproof grant application
-Cultivating references and crafting the perfect CV
-Acing the job talk and campus interview
-Avoiding the adjunct trap
-Making the leap to nonacademic work, when the time is right

The Professor Is In addresses all of these issues, and many more.

If you would like your academic career to begin in delusion and end in disillusionment, then by all means, ignore Karen Kelsky. If, however, you want unvarnished straight talk about the academic job market—and how to navigate it—then heed her, and heed her now.” —Rebecca Schuman, education columnist for Slate.



I post once a week, usually on Friday, on topics related to the academic job market, academic life and politics, general professionalization skills related to writing, publishing, conferencing, networking, and scholarly comportment, and the tenure process.

I also put up posts on the Post-Ac/Non-Ac job search by my Panel of Post-Ac Experts, on Monday or Tuesday.

Let me know if there’s a topic you want to see me post on!  I am always happy to put Special Requests into the queue. Comment here, or email me at:

You can  always get to a particular Category by clicking it in the Categories column to the right.———>

Please note that as of January 2013  the rate of comments to this blog has exceeded my ability to respond individually to each one. I’m sorry that not all comments will get a personal response by Dr. Karen.  If you have a really pressing question, do consider getting in touch to get on my calendar to work together.  I strive to make services affordable to all.

Here’s a short glossary to help you follow the discussions in the blog:

  • TT– tenure track
  • VAP–visiting assistant professor (position)
  • ABD–all but dissertation (status)
  • SLAC–small liberal arts college
  • R1–top ranked research-intensive institution with Ph.D.-granting departments, such as University of California at Berkeley, University of Michigan, etc.
  • R2–research institution with primarily MA-granting departments

I Must Become a Menace To My Enemies

I Must Become A Menace To My Enemies

June Jordan 1936-2002



June Millicent Jordan was a Caribbean-American poet, essayist, teacher, and activist.




I will no longer lightly walk behind
a one of you who fear me:
Be afraid.
I plan to give you reasons for your jumpy fits
and facial tics
I will not walk politely on the pavements anymore
and this is dedicated in particular
to those who hear my footsteps
or the insubstantial rattling of my grocery
then turn around
see me
and hurry on
away from this impressive terror I must be:
I plan to blossom bloody on an afternoon
surrounded by my comrades singing
terrible revenge in merciless
I have watched a blind man studying his face.
I have set the table in the evening and sat down
to eat the news.
I have gone to sleep.
There is no one to forgive me.
The dead do not give a damn.
I live like a lover
who drops her dime into the phone
just as the subway shakes into the station
wasting her message
canceling the question of her call:
fulminating or forgetful but late
and always after the fact that could save or
condemn me

I must become the action of my fate.

How many of my brothers and my sisters
will they kill
before I teach myself

Shall we pick a number?
South Africa for instance:
do we agree that more than ten thousand
in less than a year but that less than
five thousand slaughtered in more than six
months will

I must become a menace to my enemies.

And if I
if I ever let you slide
who should be extirpated from my universe
who should be cauterized from earth
(lawandorder jerkoffs of the first the
terrorist degree)
then let my body fail my soul
in its bedeviled lecheries

And if I
if I ever let love go
because the hatred and the whisperings
become a phantom dictate I o-
bey in lieu of impulse and realities
(the blossoming flamingos of my
wild mimosa trees)
then let love freeze me
I must become
I must become a menace to my enemies.


Copyright © 2017 by the June M. Jordan Literary Estate.

#MakeupMonday: #FuckKavanaugh

I am barely holding it together for obvious reasons. #FuckKavanaugh

So I am just going to share a thing I did this weekend that made me happy. #FuckKavanaugh

It involved a mask. #FuckKavanaugh

First I will share a little story.  Three years ago coming back from Europe we had a layover in Heathrow or somewhere, and I was desperately searching for a little gift to bring back for Miyako. She’s always been hard to buy for. I stumbled upon some fancy-looking face masks at about $15 a pop. Normally I’d never spend that on a face mask, but it was a gift. And since I wasn’t about to get my 16 year old (at the time) daughter a $15 European face mask and not get one for myself, I picked up two. #FuckKavanaugh

I came home, used it, and fell in love. It was astounding. My skin was transformed. But this was when I was just dipping my toe into the world of skin care, and I promptly forgot the name of the company and the whole experience.  #FuckKavanaugh

But in recent months I’ve been getting seriously back into masking. And that mask from years back started niggling at me. What was it? #FuckKavanaugh

And then, randomly, about two weeks ago, thanks to the creepy magic of the Internet, a mask popped up in front of my eyeballs online, and I thought…”wait… wait… is that… that mask???”  #FuckKavanaugh

And I clicked through, and lo, it was!  Before my eyes, at long last, was the StarSkin Close-Up Firming Bio Cellulose Face Mask #FuckKavanaugh

That was the brand:  StarSkin. And for whatever reason, you can’t find that brand just… around.  It’s at European airport Duty-Free shops, and at Barneys, and such-like fancy locales. #FuckKavanaugh

Normally I’d never buy something so… obscure. But because I had seen the results, I was ready to check it out and dig deeper.  With my newfound background in all things skincare, I went into the website and really spent some time. I read about the company and I looked at all the products. And I decided, since it was just about my birthday, to spring for a set of items. I got my old friend the Close-Up, and some eye masks.  And I also got StarSkin’s current signature product, the StarSkin Pro Micro-Filler Mask Pack ($35).  #FuckKavanaugh

And so, on Sunday, in the midst of my grief and rage and fury and despair, I used my new $35 mask. #FuckKavanaugh


And….  wow…. what can I say.  The results were just… wow.  My skin was glowing. And lifted.  And just… really… wow.  #FuckKavanaugh




Thanks to Facebook today I encountered this picture of myself from two years ago. If you want to see the difference that regular skin care can make, well, here it is. And this is even in the post-Trump apocalypse  #FuckKavanaugh


I am in no way urging you, my readers, to spend $35 on a face mask. I know that is not possible or responsible for many of you in our academic economy. #FuckKavanaugh

I will mention, though, that you can get the Close Up Firming Mask for $10 from the website.  And of course my home-away-from-home TJ Maxx continues to have endless effective K-Beauty masks for $5.99 for a box of 5. #FuckKavanaugh

I share this story just to say that sometimes a break is necessary. #FuckKavanaugh

For me, my breaks are skin care (and dancing with my dance community, and shopping for new bargain makeup products and then trying them out).  If there is something that gives you joy, please do it.


Beyond Angry – Guest Post by Dr. Terri Givens

By Dr. Terri Givens

Dr. Givens previously contributed a three-part series about leaving a Provost position to go post-ac.


George F. Will wrote several hit pieces about Anita Hill in his Newsweek columns in 1991-92. I responded to one in which he insinuated that she only got into Yale law school because of affirmative action. I had recently been admitted to grad school at UCLA and I was tired of people assuming that I had only gotten into Stanford and UCLA because of affirmative action. My angry letter was published in Newsweek and I have saved it to this day. But now, I am beyond angry. History seems to be repeating itself with old white men trying to put a man on the Supreme Court who is clearly mendacious, reactionary, and accused of sexual assault (talk about affirmative action…). Quotes from Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas keep coming to mind.

It has been quite a couple of weeks. Regardless of how you feel about Serena Williams’ behavior at the U.S. Open, she certainly didn’t deserve the response she got, particularly from white men, after the match. The characterizations of her behavior were out of control racist and sexist. I am tired of the way that black women are treated in this country and beyond. And speaking of the way that black women are treated, Meg Guilford’s Op-Ed in the Washington Post raised a whole host of issues about racism in academe, including a mention of my own experiences. As so many of us have said this week, we are exhausted. It just keeps piling on top of the usual micro and macro aggressions we deal with in every aspect of our lives.  And then a black man was shot in his own home by a white police officer. I felt the need to write this on Twitter this week:

I also wrote that we desperately need more women, particularly women of color, in leadership positions. That may sound strange from someone who just left an academic leadership position. But what we also need is support for those women who take on leadership positions, not just from other women, but from men. It’s past time for men to stand up and although I know that there are many who do, there are clearly not enough. It’s too easy for men to sit back and say “gee, that’s too bad that she has to go through that tough situation.” They need to speak up, do something, take action. I keep saying that it’s not women who need the leadership seminars and the trainings – it’s men who need to learn how to support and bring women into the leadership positions that would help both academe and the business world to at least start to move past these issues of sexism, misogyny and racism that we have been struggling with for so long. I had a couple of white male friends contact me directly, and they both agreed that it would be hard to change things in academe – they are doing what they can, but is it enough?

There are all kinds of bullying behavior (which includes men losing their cool) that go on in the worlds of business and academe, and generally, there is little price to be paid when a white male acts like a bully, or worse. One of the problems with the situation for academe was highlighted for me by a friend who was talking about a situation in which she had been proactive in trying to help someone, but in the end her efforts were scuttled by someone above her. I couldn’t help but remember a time when I was in a similar situation. I was trying to help retain a couple who were being recruited by another department. I had pulled every string I could, including getting the dean involved, when a particularly arrogant senior faculty member sent an email to one of the professors being recruited to ask if she would perform a service duty. When she politely refused, he sent her a scathing response, which she forwarded to me, and I forwarded to the department chair. This was the kind of behavior that she had previously complained about, and he had just handed her a prime reason to leave. Of course, there were no repercussions for the senior faculty member, he still has his cushy teaching load and endowed chair, while the department lost two promising junior faculty.

I’m not sure how we will get past this cultural/political moment. For those of us who lived through the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas hearings, it’s very painful to be reliving the situation (with some of the same players), despite the triumph of so many women in the election that followed. The sad truth is that the legacy of that moment is we still have Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court, Roe v. Wade is in danger, and many of the rulings related to civil rights and the environment could be history. The next few months will tell us if we can move forward as a country, or if we will fall further into discord. I know that I will continue to fight like hell to keep things moving forward. I will keep asking every ally we can get to help, if not for my sake, for the sake of the next generation. The last thing I want to see is my grandchildren having to go through yet another Supreme Court nomination hearing with such an unsuitable candidate.



#MakeupMonday: Ph.D. in Poise: Three Takeaways from Pageant Life

I’m delighted to present another in my ongoing series of guests posts contributed by black women and other women of color.  Please submit yours!  I welcome post drafts or ideas for posts for consideration; email me at I pay $150 for accepted posts. The posts can be anonymous or not, as you prefer.  I welcome content on #MakeupMonday (the initial impetus was a Twitter follower asking for #MakeupMonday posts oriented toward women of color) as well as anything related to the academic and post-academic career.
Today’s post is by Linh Anh Cat.
Linh Anh Cat is an ecologist starting her career in science policy, and an ABD at UC Irvine. She loves brunch, the beach, and serious board games. You can find her tweeting from @LinhAnhCat.

Me in áo dài during a three-point turn

Earlier this year, I decided compete in a pageant. The Miss Vietnam of Southern California (MVSC) scholarship pageant is held at the largest Têt (lunar new year’s) festival outside of Vietnam. MVSC isn’t a typical pageant: 1) it is culturally focused, 2) it’s totally free for participants (including professional make-up sponsors, which saves contestants several hundred dollars), and 3) it has a reputation for genuinely supportive pageant contestants. I think this stems from the pageant’s accessibility, which attracts high-achieving women from all walks of life.

I joined because I wanted to meet awesome women and to make new friends who I could relate to culturally.  I never had any Vietnamese-American friends growing up in Florida. Even now that I’m in California to earn my Ph.D., I study ecology, which doesn’t attract many Asian-Americans or other minority groups.

Competing in pageant is a crash course in modeling. Walking in heels is already challenging for me, so strutting across the stage without even glancing down raised the hazard level, compounded by the challenge of not tripping over my flowy áo dài (traditional Vietnamese dress). If that doesn’t sound challenging enough, once you reach the center of the stage you must effortlessly transition into a three-point turn, which is turning 360 degrees while striking three different poses.

According to the Labor Department, modeling and being a scientist are listed as “opposite” jobs with non-overlapping skill sets. Learning something totally different from my day-to-day researching was a really fun, refreshing change!

Here are three takeaways you can apply to academia from pageant life:

  1. Have a power pose.

On a daily basis I am guilty of slouching at my desk. When I’m giving a presentation, my natural tendency is to shift my weight back and forth nervously. I see it in other graduate students and professors as well. When someone has presence and poise you automatically take them more seriously and listen. They stand out.

During pageant practice I learned how to do a three-point turn, or a set of various poses you string together seamlessly at the end of your catwalk. I had to practice a ton with a mirror to get this to look totally effortless yet powerful. Having a confident pose that you feel comfortable standing in will make your presentations more impactful. I recommend recording yourself (video) for a few minutes while giving a presentation. Although it’s uncomfortable, observe the nervous ticks you do without even noticing. Then, practice standing in a comfortable, grounded pose. Try to maintain this pose while giving a presentation on your research. It’s hard.

At first it takes focus and practice, but the investment is worth it when you’re able to command a room at a conference or seminar. This is extra important for women in academia who face additional challenges getting their research taken seriously. Plus, having good posture while sitting translates to improved circulation and breathing, which will help you write a better grant proposal!


  1. Be able to skillfully answer questions on the fly.

There is a tendency for academics to prefer non-stressful time to think and generate a thoughtful answer. Unfortunately this is not the case when fielding questions after a research talk.

Secret: appearing comfortable (even if you’re really nervous inside!)

During pageant, contestants usually answer “fishbowl” questions randomly drawn from a jar. For the MVSC pageant, the Top 10 contestants got lucky red envelopes (usually they are filled with money for good luck during Têt) with random questions. Simple questions that are really hard to answer well. (My question: What can men learn from Vietnamese-American women?)

Though this is a “thinking-on-your-feet” skill, it is one that you can practice. With a friend, you can go through a list of common interview questions (or a list of questions you are terrified will come up after your research talk). At first it will be uncomfortable, but with some practice you will surprise yourself and come up with some great answers. These can be adjusted to answer similar questions. Practicing also gives you confidence in handling unexpected questions so you’ll be less nervous and stressed. Putting yourself in difficult and challenging situations for practice will help you shine when it actually counts!


  1. Compete against yourself, not others.

    2018 Miss Vietnam of SoCal Royal Court!

It’s obviously tempting to compare yourself to others when you are dancing, talking, and smiling your way up to the final rounds in pageant. However, I knew if I wanted be happy and get what I wanted out of my pageant experience (new friends), I couldn’t be comparing my body or my accomplishments against others. This is probably the hardest of the three takeaways to truly follow.

In academia, it is especially easy to compare to cohort members or other postdocs or early career PIs with all the ways to quantify your success (e.g., number of publications, H-index, number of grants received, fellowships/awards, etc.). I’ve found that I’ve learned and accomplished so much over the last few years of graduate school despite feeling no different on the surface. When I think about it that way. If you can’t give up the urge to quantitatively compare something, look at your CV now versus from a few years ago. I often fall for the illusion that success is easy for others, and forget they often had several failures I didn’t see, or had devote time to practice how to speak so powerfully.

Being crowned first princess

As a byproduct of following these three tips, I won 1st Princess (first runner-up) at MVSC! Now, I own not only a sparkly crown and sash, but I also own my confidence in a genuine way – not just at the “fake-it-til-you-make-it” level (though it was a good start). I hope these tips from pageant can help you feel like Miss Academia!


Banish These Words: Sexism and Binarism Edition – Guest Post by Maggie Levantovskaya

By Dr. Maggie Levantovskaya

Maggie Levantovskaya is one of our TPII editors, and a writer and adjunct professor based in the Bay Area.


Let’s talk about sexist language in job application materials. I read countless cover letters, teaching statements, syllabi, postdoc proposals and other docs in my role as editor at The Professor Is In and I continue to encounter terms and phrases that either fit into the category of sexist language or reinforce binary gender norms. First of all, this is something that I see in documents by clients in various fields, though as you can imagine, some fields are bigger offenders than others.

I also find sexist and binary phrasing articulated by clients at all stages in their careers and of different ages. Maybe there is a generational pattern (I haven’t gathered the data) but I see PhD candidates who are clearly spending a lot of time in the classroom writing in ways that I know can be avoided.

Clients who are coming from cultural or linguistic contexts where such attention to language is not important or even frowned upon, have an even bigger challenge to learn how to be mindful about the heteropatriarchy of English.

To this end, here is a very short list of phrases and observations that can get folx started in excising at least some of the more egregious examples of sexism and binarism in their job docs and beyond. I’m hoping that others can add to it and keep the conversation going.


Always shocked to see this one in 2018! We have the phrase “first-year student.”


This is going to be hard for some of you to believe, but it’s still out there. Academics are still writing sentences like “We explore the problems that continue to define man,” in their teaching philosophies. Eeeek!

“His or her”

That seems inclusive, right? Well, it’s better than just saying “his” (still happens!). But the phrase also promotes binary views of gender. We have the plurals they / their. Let’s keep working on normalizing that usage for gender neutrality.

“Members of the opposite sex”

I mean, what do I even say!

I also give feedback on syllabi and I constantly see that clients do not say anything about preferred gender pronouns under course policies and rarely mention asking students about their preferred pronouns in teaching philosophies. I realize that syllabi are impossibly long these days, but adding a line like “My preferred pronouns are she/her. Please let me know what yours are and correct me if I ever get them wrong,” is not going to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

I’m a teacher myself and I put my preferred pronouns into my email signature to signal to students that pronoun usage is not obvious and that we should respect each other’s preferences in this matter.

Another issue that I regularly encounter in client cover letters and teaching philosophies has to do with how they discuss teaching gender norms in the classroom. A lot of our clients teach students to challenge norms and I think that that’s great. The problem is that some of the descriptions of these methods appear, well, problematic. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read clients discuss teaching gender by saying something in the vein of “I get students to see that gender is a construct by dressing like a member of the opposite gender and then reflecting on the experience” or “my assignment asks students to interview an LGBTQ+ person.” Some clients say the same thing about homeless, immigrants and other groups.

Now, I don’t know what these clients are actually doing with their students and my job is not to critique their teaching. However, when I see this, I advise clients to avoid language that gamifies gender and sexuality or treats queer people instrumentally and hope that this resonates beyond job doc editing.

There are so many resources about this stuff online! Teen Vogue is telling us how to be gender neutral and many other publications have extremely accessible guides on how to make spaces less hostile for non-binary folx.

It’s 2018. Let’s do better!


#MakeupMonday Guest Post: Everyday Eye Makeup for Monolids

I’m delighted to present another in my ongoing series of guests posts contributed by black women and other women of color.  I always want more!  I welcome post drafts or ideas for posts for consideration; email me at I pay $150 for accepted posts. The posts can be anonymous or not, as you prefer.  I welcome content on #MakeupMonday (the initial impetus was a Twitter follower asking for #MakeupMonday posts oriented toward women of color) as well as anything related to the academic and post-academic career.

Today’s post is by Wendy Laybourn; this is a followup (requested by me) to her earlier #MakeupMonday post, Finding My Asian-American Mirrors.


I’m definitely no makeup artist, however I do have some tips and tricks for everyday makeup application that I’ve learned along the way. First let me acknowledge that what I may think of as “everyday eye makeup” may not be what you want for your daily routine. However, I will share some eye shadow application prep and application tips that will hopefully help you as you put together your eye makeup look.

For me, on a work day, I pretty much always do some sort of eye makeup – brows and mascara are bare minimum, that plus eye shadow is more typical. My entire makeup routine takes about 12 minutes, with eye makeup taking up a good portion of that time. I won’t go into my CC cream, blush, and highlighter routine here, but instead I’ll focus on the eyes, something that’s sadly taken me my entire life to learn.

The first thing about eyes, especially for monolids, is primer. Primer helps create a smooth, even foundation for the rest of your eye makeup, and it also ensures that your eye shadow will “pop” and last through the entire day. My favorite eye shadow primer is Urban Decay Primer Potion. You’ll want to apply a thin layer over your entire eyelid. It’s also a good idea to set your primer so there’s no creasing when you apply your eye shadow. This can be done by lightly sweeping a loose and/or translucent powder over your eyelid. I actually do not do this (even though I’m telling you to! Lol) and have never experience creasing or folding of my eye shadow but apparently it can happen.

Next I usually do my brows but since brows can be super personal in regards to shape, desired thickness, etc. I am going to leave the brows to you. Instead, I will jump right to eye shadow application. For this How To, I am going to discuss the gradient eye shadow technique. I find it’s super easy to do though it does require some dedicated time to do all of the blending.

The key thing to know about this eye shadow technique is your eye shadow brush movement. Instead of a window washer movement (side to side, left to right), you will use an upward and small circular motion moving towards the outer corner of your eyelid. This will draw your eye shadow up, from your lash line to underneath your brow bone (or where a crease would be if you had one).

The benefit of having a monolid is that you can keep your eye open as you apply your eye shadow. If you tilt your head back slightly, you will get that nice flat surface and be able to gauge where you are placing your eye shadow and where you want it to stop.

For the gradient eye shadow (you can also think of this as an ombré eye shadow), you’ll want two eye shadow colors – one lighter, maybe a shade darker than your skin tone for a natural look, and one darker, a dark brown works here, and this is the one that will help make your eye “pop” and create a smoky eye look. For my everyday work eyes, I’ve recently been using ColourPop’s “Give It To Me Straight” palette with “Downright” serving as my lighter color and “Actually” as my darker color. Another everyday eye combo is from my Tarteist Pro To Go mini palette. This palette is great because the six shades can be combined to achieve a variety of day or night looks. I use “Drive” for my lighter color and “Stylin” for my darker color.

Here I am with my eye primer already on and set (I did dust with a light coat of Laura Mercier loose translucent setting powder).

Dip your Sigma Blending brush (E25) or any firm, rounded eye shadow brush into your lighter eye shadow. Tap your brush to remove any excess. Press the color into your lash line, then begin your upward circular brush motion to draw the color up your eyelid. You will probably need to pick up more color, pressing it higher up your eyelid and then continuing to blend it upward until you’ve reached the area where your crease would be (or underneath your brow bone). The lighter color should cover your entire eyelid.

I have one eyelid with a light base color so you can see where I placed the eye shadow. I used “Drive” form my Tarteist Pro To Go palette.

You’ll repeat the same motions with your darker color, pressing the color into your lash line, then blending up, but not covering the entire lighter color (so not covering your entire eyelid). The idea is that you will create a gentle progression of color, which is why it’s so important to blend. You don’t want harsh lines separating the two colors. To achieve the soft gradation, you will want to use your Sigma Tapered Blending brush (E40) or any soft, fluffy tapered blending brush to blend out any potential harsh lines. When you use this brush, you can use the left to right, windshield wiper motion.


For my darker color, I used “Actually” from my ColourPop “Give It To Me Straight” palette.

Here it is with both eyes done.


I finished out both eyes and then did my brows, using Anastasia Dipbrow.

To brighten up your eye, you may want to highlight the inner corner of your eyes with a iridescent color, like “Up Front” from the “Give It To Me Straight” ColourPop palette.

You can use this technique, experimenting with your color combinations, to create as bold, dramatic, and colorful look as you’d like.

Next, you may want to apply eyeliner. While I do think liquid liner is generally more preferable due to the brush applicator, which allows you to make the perfect cat eye, and because of its more long-lasting and waterproof properties, I also really like Son & Park’s eyeliner pencil. Some of my favorite liquid liners are Clio’s Kill Black waterproof pen liner and Sigma’s Liquid Pen eyeliner.

Then, it’s time for mascara but first you gotta curl those lashes! The secret to getting that sky high curl, especially for our short and often unruly eyelashes, is to get an eyelash curler that follows the curve of your eyelid. You may think that all eyelash curlers are created equal but that’s not the case. Some eyelash curlers are super rounded, mimicking a more rounded eyelid. For monolids, our eyelid shape tends to be less round. So, you’ll want to get a less round eyelash curler, which will enable you to get very close to your eyelid and curl your eyelash closer to the lash line. Then, of course, give your lashes a couple more curls, one about midway down your eyelashes and then a brief curl at the tips of your eyelashes. Shiseido and Shu Uemura are both brands to check out.

Now for mascara. Honestly, I don’t have any super strong endorsements for mascara because I’m still trying to find one that I really love. I do suggest that you get a waterproof mascara. Actually, I insist. Again, because of our eye shape and eyelashes, you need a waterproof mascara to guard against smudging and running.

Voila! With your eye makeup complete, you are ready to take on the world!

My finished look. I did add Sephora Luxe False Eyelashes in “Quill” (because I’m trying out this false eyelash thing) and Touch in Sol Metallist gloss in “Lottie”.

**I must acknowledge Annie Haubenhofer (YouTube/IG: thecityinthesky) for teaching me the gradient eye shadow technique.



Product List:

Urban Decay Primer Potion

ColourPop “Give It To Me Straight” palette

Tarteist Pro To Go palette

Sigma Blending brush (E25)

Sigma Tapered Blending brush (E40)

Clio’s Kill Black waterproof pen liner

Sigma’s Liquid Pen eyeliner

Shiseido eyelash curler

Shu Uemura eyelash curler

Anastasia Dipbrow

Sephora Luxe False Eyelashes in Quill

Touch in Sol Metallist gloss

Laura Mercier Loose Translucent Setting Powder


#MakeupMonday: Finding My Asian American Mirrors – Guest Post

I’m delighted to present another guest post in my series by black women and other women of color.  I always want more!  Please submit a post or an idea for a post for consideration, at I pay $150 for accepted posts. The posts can be anonymous or not, as you prefer.  I welcome content on #MakeupMonday (the initial impetus was a Twitter follower asking for #MakeupMonday posts oriented toward women of color) as well as anything related to the academic and post-academic career.

Today’s writer, Dr. Wendy Laybourn, is a recent University of Maryland Ph.D.  This fall she began her first tenure-track position in the Department of Sociology at the University of Memphis (her undergrad alma mater!). Her research examines racial and ethnic identity formation, particularly the effects of cross-racial interactions, as well as racialization, and media. Most recently, her book with Devon Goss entitled, Diversity in Black Greek Letter Organizations: Breaking the Line, was published this summer with Routledge.


By Wendy Laybourn

On campus in IT Cosmetics’ Your Skin But Better CC Cream; skin flawless despite the intense heat!

For most of my life, makeup has been a struggle. I came of age in the 90s and while all my classmates were experimenting with makeup in middle school, I felt lost. Seventeen, Young & Modern, and Cosmo Girl! were the go to resources for seemingly every aspect of teen girlhood, but as an Asian American girl certain aspects just didn’t resonate – especially when it came to the latest makeup trends and tutorials.

Every makeup How To was focused on eye shadow placement with reference to the eyelid crease, but as a person with a monolid I was stumped. Though eye shadow was impossible, I still tried to give mascara a try. But, even then, I found that I couldn’t quite get that right either. With tiny lashes that curled out, under, down, any way but up, mascara seemed to find its way to all the wrong places.

It didn’t help that I was virtually the only Asian American in my class. Compounding my makeup quandaries was the fact that I was adopted by a white family. This meant that no one knew how to approach the makeup issue with me – not friends, not friends’ moms, and not my own family. Over time, I learned that makeup was just not for me.

At my favorite local coffee shop, wearing Becca Liptuitive Glow Lip Gloss.

While college is often the time for coming into your own and meeting co-ethnic peers (especially for Asian adoptees), this was not the case for me. Since I attended my hometown university and since my hometown had an almost insignificant Asian American population, there was still no way for me to join my girlfriends in the nightly routine of getting glammed up for going out… or at least not in a way that naturally accentuated my features.

The internet explosion revolutionized how I saw myself – not only because Asian Americans, like other communities of color, used online platforms like YouTube to create alternative programming featuring Asian Americans and centering Asian American experiences, but also specifically because of the beauty vlogging world. It was here that I was introduced to folks like Michelle Phan, Jenn Chae (From Head to Toe), and Claire Marshall (Hey Claire), among others.

Off-campus work day, in ColourPop crème formula in Julep

While I knew that my eye shadow placement would be different than folks with a double eyelid, until seeing their makeup videos it never occurred to me that there would be different types and sizes of tapered, rounded, and domed eye shadow brushes that would be most appropriate for smaller eyelids and monolids.

Most recently I attended a Korean adoptee conference where a fellow Korean adoptee and makeup artist, Annie Haubenhofer (YouTube/IG: thecityinthesky), presented a hands-on workshop for eye makeup application. That workshop changed my (makeup) life. Now I almost always wear a full face of makeup with the confidence that I am doing so in a way that best emphasizes my features. After spending most of my life, not seeing myself reflected in magazines, media, or in my social settings, being able to present a glammed up face to the person in the mirror and the world is long overdue.


Product list:

Sigma brushes – Good quality at a decent mid-range price (around $15-20 per brush). Plus, they are ideal for smaller lids. I first learned about these brushes from watching Jenn (From Head to Toe), where she recommended them because of the size and density of the bristles. All of my everyday eye shadow brushes are Sigma brushes.

ColourPop – I’ve recently fallen in love with ColourPop. Their eye shadow palettes are gorgeous and with the price range ($12-25), they’re an inexpensive way to experiment with new colors. I also really like their lip colors – vibrant and long-lasting.

BECCA Liptuitive Glow Lip Gloss – For the days when you just want a touch of natural color. The Liptuitive Glow Lip Gloss enhances your natural lip color (or intensifies any lip color you might be wearing) and provides a high shine.

IT Cosmetics’ Your Skin But Better CC cream – I love the light but buildable coverage of this CC cream. And, I can attest to its staying power. Even in the Southern heat and humidity, it does not budge. (Of course, I use a primer before application, which also helps.)

SokoGlam Dr. G sunscreen – Sunscreen is an absolute must! I use Dr. G Brightening Up Sun SPF 50. Even if your CC cream has SPF, which IT Cosmetics’ does, the amount of product needed to achieve full coverage is probably much, much more than you typically use. Ensure you are getting proper sun protection by using a separate sunscreen.

SokoGlam Banila CO Clean It Zero oil cleanser – Once I started using oil cleansers I could not go back to any other kind. Banilla CO Clean It Zero cleansers are my favorite and there are three different formulas to choose from depending on your skin type.

A nice alternative is L’Occitaine’s shea butter cleansing oil

Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade – On the rare days that I don’t do a full face, I always at bare minimum do my brows (and of course wear sunscreen!).



Knowing When to Leave: Lessons from an Academically Unaffiliated Life – A Guest Post

I am delighted to offer another guest post contributed in response to my recent call for contributions to the blog by black women and other women of color.

If you’d like to submit a post or an idea for a post for consideration, email me at I pay $150 for accepted posts. The posts can be anonymous or not, as you prefer. I welcome content on #MakeupMonday (the initial impetus was a Twitter follower asking for #MakeupMonday posts oriented toward women of color) as well as anything related to the academic and post-academic career.

Today’s author is Dr. Jacinta R. Saffold.  Dr. Saffold is a Mellon ACLS Public Fellow at the Association of American Colleges and Universities where she serves as the Associate Director for Diversity, Equity, and Student Success. She received her B.A. in African American Studies and Educational Studies from Emory University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in African American Studies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her postdoctoral fellowship work focuses on building Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation campus centers with colleges and universities across the United States and is working on her manuscript, Books and Beats: The Cultural Kinship of Street Lit and Hip Hop.


“Getting a PhD is a journey” and “You must trust the process” are two of the many mantras I heard in preparation for entering and during my first years of graduate school. While these intentionally vague declarations tend to be universally true, they do not account for the personal nature that journeys to the PhD take on nor that your trust must also be placed in yourself to make the best decisions possible.

I am a Mellon ACLS Public Fellow working at the Association of American Colleges and Universities with a PhD in African American Studies. My path here has been quite a circuitous path of scholarly and extra-academic pursuits. For each time I chose to focus on alt-ac endeavors, my mentors from academe heavily cautioned and at times, flat out demanded that I did not.

In my third year of graduate school, I defended my dissertation prospectus, packed up, moved my whole life 300 miles, and started a new full time job in the span of three days. Aside from my amazing dissertation director who empowered me to trust my vision for my work and life, my decision to leave residence was met with dizzying statistics about failure to complete outside of home departments. I was given pessimistic advice to stay focused on the degree and not get distracted from an actual livable wage or job security.

My decision to leave was two-fold. One, I was miserable. I loved my program but hated living in a cold, rural, place. Two, my research needed a change of pace. My scholarly focus is on African American urban fiction and I was living in a remote, white college town. Within the first month of leaving residence, I was able to connect with one of the main authors my dissertation interrogated who had been ignoring my interview requests for YEARS. I was finally in the right place at the right time to attend one of his book readings. Seeing how he was willing to stay an additional three hours to answer all my questions and even provide me with his direct contact information for following-up affirmed my decision to leave amidst the overwhelming doubt I was letting seep in.

Knowing when it is better for you to leave than to stay is one of the biggest lessons I learned on my journey to the PhD. And trusting myself enough to stand in my decision showed the naysayers, but more importantly—me, that I was strong enough to get the degree on my own terms. Now, that is not to say that being academically homeless was without challenge.

Once my basic needs were meet—shelter, food, a life outside of my dissertation—I set about anchoring myself to academic spaces. I was on a mission to curate my own graduate school structure. I went to the nearest research universities and asked them to add me to the graduate student listservs for English, African American Studies, and any other field related to my work. I wanted to ensure that I was informed about all potential resources and could attend relevant events that would inform my thinking as a scholar. Next, I put myself on a research and writing timeline. It was unrealistic to set daily writing goals due to the unpredictable nature of college admission and recruitment. And at that point my day job took precedence over writing because… well… bills. But, I could reasonably commit to weekly completion targets.

I was a relentless self-advocate. I unabashedly asked questions about free or low-cost resources. I needed to know how to access university and public resources as a visitor. I came to know and deeply appreciate that many of the research-intensive universities with sizable endowments allow independent scholars to pay for access to their physical and digital repositories. They also may let allow unaffiliated persons to access their 24-hour libraries and other study spaces on campus. I took pride in searching for the best local coffee and tea shops with fast wifi and plentiful outlets. Just being in a space where other people were getting work done with thoughts and words helped my brain cooperate with my fingers and keyboard.

The best thing I did in my first year out of residence was to split the time outside of my 9 to 5 between my dissertation and applying for completion fellowships. I felt myself coming undone at the pace I had to maintain to work full time and stay on track for on-time degree completion.

As fate would have it, I was awarded a Woodrow Wilson dissertation completion grant—untethered money that allowed me to write without “distractions.” I couldn’t have been more ecstatic and relieved.  But the grant meant that I would remain academically homeless for the rest of graduate school. I wouldn’t get opportunities to gain additional teaching experience, work on an article under a senior scholar, or get hands on support for the academic job market. It also meant that I would have to believe in myself enough to walk away from a stable paycheck (that allowed me to get an extra side of guacamole with no hesitation) for the small hope of landing a job after graduation.

Knowing these things and the precariousness of the academic job market, I began seeking out non-academic teaching and mentorship opportunities that would translate well on my CV or guide me towards a career of my choosing. I asked for virtual support from my home institution on writing an article for a peer review journal. I took advantage of the job market resources offered at national conferences in my field and I got in my car and drove the 300 miles back to my program when too many of my emails and phone calls went unanswered. I figured out what I could do on my own, where I needed support, and I was relentless in my pursuit of both.

In the end, I had such pride in knowing that I defined my journey. I knew the best thing I did was refusing to accept the choice between circumstances that were slowly deteriorating my spirit or walking away from my dream of being a PhD. Leaving got me to the PhD. Knowing when it was time to leave got me to self-empowerment.

Say No To the Functional Resume – Guest Post by #Postac Coach Darcy Hannibal

Dr. Darcy Hannibal

By TPII Post-ac Coach Dr. Darcy Hannibal

A functional resume provides all the details of your skills and accomplishments at the beginning of your resume and separate from your employment history, usually separated into job category function subheadings. This is then followed by a work experience section that just gives the basic employment information (employer, job title, dates) and, lastly, the education section. By contrast, the chronological resume has a section on work experience, in reverse chronological order, with the skills relevant to each job described under the basic employment information for that job. This is then followed by the education section.

When someone asks me for resume advice, they often either present me with a draft resume in a functional format or ask my opinion of this format. When I ask them where they heard about it or got this advice, it is usually from a well-meaning career counselor or the website at their university’s career center.

If you go to your university’s career center, they will likely provide many varied and ornately crafted sample resumes as guides. Most of these are an over-formatted and disorganized mess to read for a hiring supervisor. If you are someone who likes looking at resumes all day and coming up with new and interesting ways to format a resume, then I can see how a functional resume seems like a simple solution to help a client with their work history insecurities. But it’s a mistake.

The audience for your resume is prospective supervisors and most of them do not enjoy reading resumes and cover letters. The resume is just a means to an end—finding the best candidate for the job. They want to get through it as quickly and painlessly as possible, so they can get on with other more pressing duties that are a much larger portion of their job.

A functional resume is a pain to read for a prospective supervisor, so my policy is I do not work with clients who insist on using one. It is never, ever, a good idea and here is why:

  • Functional resumes are an immediate red flag to an experienced hiring supervisor because:
  1. This format is often used by someone trying to hide that it has been a loooooong time since they’ve used the skills needed for the job. Sometimes that is not a problem, but it depends on how much things have changed in key skills areas.
  2. The applicant doesn’t want to do the work of describing their skillset, showing me the depth of each skill (evidenced in the work history) and how they match this particular job.
  3. OR they don’t really have any jobs where they used much, if any, of these skills. They are just listing a bunch of skills or interests because they want to make it look like they match the job ad, when in fact they don’t. They are applying for jobs they want, but are not qualified to fill.
  • When it comes time to check references, hiring managers need to be able to connect each of your referees with a job and the associated skills in your resume to determine what each referee should know about the applicant’s experience. If they can’t do that for a particular section of your work history they want to verify, they might ask you for information from an additional referee they can talk to. A functional resume completely disconnects your skills from your work history.
  • If the job requires that the candidate have a lot of depth in certain skill areas (performed and cultivated in multiple jobs over time), then the history of that depth is completely absent.
  • You are making your prospective supervisor’s job hard. And on a task they just want to get through as quickly as possible, so they can move on to other tasks that are more pressing and more fun. Why would they want to hire you if you’re making them spend too much time finding out whether you fit the job? I want to hire people who make my job easier, not harder.

As I hiring supervisor, I often see #3 above. As a post-ac coach with TPII, however, our clients are almost always in category #1 and #2. If you’re in category #1 or #2, my advice is to carefully articulate your skillsets within each job title you’ve had so that it shows how you match the qualifications of the job you are applying for. If you are at a loss as to how to do that, then working with one of TPII’s career coaches is a great way to learn how. If you are in category #3, you are applying for the wrong jobs. You need to apply for jobs (or use your current job, volunteer work, or additional training) to build the skillsets that will make you competitive for the jobs you ultimately want. Sometimes these are lower-level jobs and sometimes they are adjacent jobs, needing skills you currently have, but with opportunities to build the skills you need.

It is hard work to get past the work history insecurities you are feeling with a post-academic career transition, but TPII clients are typically more employable than they give themselves credit for. The functional resume is often such an appealing crutch that I have a hard time convincing people how much it hurts them. So, if you’re still not convinced, please do an internet search for other articles on functional resumes. You’ll find some writers opposed to them and some for them. Oddly, many who are for them, somehow get past their opening descriptions of a functional resume without realizing they should change their article from a “how-to” into a “why you should never submit a functional resume.”

Sometimes people get interviews or jobs despite crappy job documents, but usually only if their awesomeness is hard to hide no matter how bad the documents were put together. And, honestly, most people in an applicant pool have job documents that range from mediocre to awful. Someone with great job documents really stands out, even if they don’t have all the skills.