Bogged Down

By Jason Norton

What had begun as a wretch of a week for Preston Alstodt was turning out most glorious. His elation would have invariably been lost on the casual observer who did not share his passion for botany. But knee-deep in the brackish muck of the Everglades — leeches, gators, and fist-sized mosquitoes aside — he was reborn.

Originally, he’d planned to stay on campus and work through Spring Break. That was before the kitchen pipes burst and the alternator in his 2007 Toyota Corolla died. On Thursday, two of his fellow biology professors were notified that Harvard did not require their talents in the upcoming year. With untold semesters to go before he could even hope for the security of tenure, Preston took their dismissal as a threat. He needed to publish or at least contribute to some credible research soon to bolster his credentials — or his resume.

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