Disclaimer: These work in my current setup using iTerm2 on macOS. Other environments may vary.

Keyboard shortcuts when typing at the command line

Tab completion

When typing a command name or path:

Navigating within the line


Actually, I can’t speak for admissions committees in general — only for myself as a faculty member responsible for weighing in on graduate admissions decisions in particular STEM fields. (I am at the intersection of two STEM fields — computer science and linguistics — and review applications in both doctoral programs at Georgetown University. This advice pertains to Ph.D. programs in the United States, which typically include a master’s degree and can be expected to take 5+ years in total. Ph.D. programs in some other parts of the world are structured differently.)

The statement of purpose (SOP) is considered alongside…

Over the years I’ve received lots of excellent advice on giving academic talks. For my students I decided to put together a page of basic tips for slides. PDF handout

Use these rules of thumb to make better slides for oral presentations.

1. Minimize text

Bad: filling the slides with paragraphs, equations, and huge tables. This treats the slides like a paper; there’s no way the audience can read all that text while listening to what you’re saying.

Good: short bullet points, concise tables.

Better: images (photos/clipart, charts/diagrams) to capture the ideas succinctly so the audience can focus on what you’re saying.

2. Lead with an example


As a linguist, whenever I write I do my best to eliminate unnecessary ambiguity. Such ambiguity is not limited to sentence structure and vagueness; it also can arise in social meaning, especially in the absence of cues like tone of voice and body language.

Some people spend a lot of conversational energy nurturing the relationship between the interlocutors. This does not come naturally to me; my style of communication is fairly informal and to-the-point. But I try to remember to use these strategies when communicating to avoid being misunderstood:

1. Acknowledge the other person

When responding to someone, acknowledge their contribution (positively if possible) before…

“If I only had the nerve…to do research!”

This post was inspired by Charles Sutton’s commentary on the toll that comes from being emotionally invested in our research, allowing our scientific successes and failures to influence our sense of self-worth. It also relates to the much-discussed topic of imposter syndrome.

As has been noted, being a researcher means living with the fear of not being good enough. Even if I’ve been successful so far, there’s always the possibility that I’ll run out of ideas, waste time on dead ends, or fail the next milestone of my career. …

“How’s work going?”

It’s a natural question to ask. It’s seemingly innocuous. When a family member asks me, I usually give the nonspecific answer “fine”, having inferred that they did not intend to ask a question whose complexity is tantamount to — for example — “Assess our current military readiness and posture with respect to Eastern Europe.” Yet, since becoming an assistant professor, I’ve discovered that work is so multifaceted as to make a succinct answer impossible.

So, what is it that I do all day?

Let me start by saying that I have an amazing job: it comes with…

Nathan Schneider

Assistant Professor of Linguistics and Computer Science, Georgetown University ▪ http://nathan.cl

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