Greetings, fellow bloggers and readers. It feels like forever since I last got in front of the computer and typed my thoughts despite the fact that I am currently writing a Master’s thesis. The last two months were a whirlwind of traveling, research, and sharing findings. Here I present you with an update on my life.
Last week I got back from an adventure in San Francisco, California, where I attended the largest international Earth and space science meeting in the world: The American Geophysical Union’s Centennial, also known as AGU. I had my wallet stolen on the trip and came down with something I now call the “AGU Flu”, both of which made the 5-hour flight back home a little difficult. Nevertheless, I survived and learned about work going on at the cutting edge of science. This included how to map wetlands and other ecosystems, ways to improve atmospheric data collection and synthesis, and flaws with my own project and how to improve it. I flitted between lectures, workshops and panel discussions, a video documentary, a science expo, and aisles upon aisles of posters. I scrambled for the San Francisco clam chowder at the opening night reception – a nice treat. On one of the less insane days, I escaped with a friend for a walk through the Japanese Tea Garden in the massive Golden Gate Park. If you ever have the chance to go to AGU I recommend that you do.
The collages above and below are made of photos of my view from the Hilton at Union Square, the cityscape as seen from the conference venue, my poster presentation, and pictures of the park. You may also notice some miscellaneous items including the best bento box I’ve ever had, a burrito that looked a lot better than it tasted, and a street with my name on it.
Prior to presenting my poster on stream carbon as a proxy for whole wetland carbon exchange at AGU, I presented my work on canopy sheltering at the 13th annual Graduate Climate Conference (GCC) in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Attending a conference that was organized and attended solely by graduate students was awesome. It was obvious from the bags under their eyes that orchestrating such a seamless, successful meeting while simultaneously performing research and taking classes took an incredible amount of effort. Not only did the conference committee have to read through and select students to attend the event, but also they had to put together financial support from donors, locate a guest speaker, and more. Nevertheless, the students from MIT and Harvard who put the event together were positive and welcoming the entire time.
Unfortunately, Alvin (the famous deep sea research vessel) was going on an excursion on our designated “explore the town” day. Alvin can descend down 4,500 m and spend a full 10 hours underwater. I am sitting in the model of Alvin in the upper right corner of the collage above.
We may not have explored life at the bottom of the ocean, but we definitely got our fare share of adventure during the conference. It turns out that quite a lot of discovery has happened at Woods Hole. It can all be seen in the Discovery Center. I snapped some pictures of the shark cam and the Neil Armstrong research vessel owned by the Oceanographic Institute there. The Neil Armstrong ship (which houses Alvin) that students sail on to research glaciers in Greenland, study deep sea creatures and other things, is in the top left of the collage below.
My mind is still brimming with interdisciplinary research topics I learned about at GCC, from reducing cow methane emissions with seaweed to sustainable development plans for small islands. Through it all, I made connections with people at similar places in their career that I will continue to keep in contact with.
Somewhere in the madness of the last two months, I held a committee meeting and finished a final essay for a class called Indigenous People and the Environment. I discovered that I didn’t win the outreach grant I applied for called Fellowship for the Future, but I am grateful for the experience and to everyone who helped me along the way. I submitted eddy covariance flux data to the Ameriflux database twice, because quality control and processing for continuously collected data never stops. I asked myself what I want to do with my life. I never gave a straight answer.
Have you been to San Francisco? What about Woods Hole? Any work conference adventures to share? Let me know in the comments. Have a great rest of your week, Jess 🙂