#AGU14 – Friday (What I Learned)

There is way to much to even say after this fantastic conference, so I have to boil it down to three points. This is just a snippit of what I learned from AGU 2014:

1. Scientists want to share their science (whether or not they know how): After attending sessions all week and presenting on Monday, I have encountered a lot of scientists who want to share their research, whether it be through public outreach, journalistic stories or blogging their own ideas.

From my poster, I encouraged scientists to use what’s going on in popular culture as a springboard for spreading ideas. The holiday season is coming up, so how can you relate your science to that? What will be going on in space that day? How can you cut down on fossil fuel emissions during holiday travel? What will the weather be like? This method can be applied to any event. Think of what the public is thinking about – then relate to it.

2. PLUTO IS AWESOME: I say, a lot, that I don’t understand science. I really want to but my brain just doesn’t work that way! I attended a pre-screening of a movie about Pluto on Thursday, and I have been thinking about it ever since. How do scientists know what’s out there when they’ve never been that far? How did they navigate the spacecraft 3 billion miles away and know its exact path! More importantly, how do they navigate the thing at all! For a refresher, NASA sent the “New Horizons” spacecraft to Pluto in 2006. It will finally make it’s way to Pluto for data-collection in July 2015. Next year has been dubbed the “Year of Pluto.”

Takeaway from this lesson: I am amazed at what planetary scientists can do. And I still do not get it.

Photo by Nicky Ouellet
Dr. G and I! Photo by Nicky Ouellet

3. The AGU is even more awesome: Networking, networking and more networking. I was able to meet my science writing idol, Liz Neeley, and even take a selfie with her. Meeting Kara Rodean and Ali Branscombe of AGU face-to-face helped me realize what cool jobs they have and how much work they put into the fall meeting! Presenting in the Outstanding Student Paper Award makes me proud of all the student scientists at AGU.

Helping Kimmie Bowen (Dr. G‘s student) get through the meeting reminded me how far I have come as a presenter and student. Tweeting with the student volunteers all week gave me a new appreciation for Twitter (mostly that I’m obsessed with it, still). Meeting up with Dr. G (for the first time since AGU last year!) has engrained in me the important impact she has had on my life from the first time I took her class in 2010 at Penn State Brandywine.

Lastly, I’m thankful for the people at AGU who help convene sessions, especially the keynote talks! Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell is by far the most inspiring cabinet member I have ever encountered (okay, she’s the only one), and I’m happy AGU was able to make that happen. Stay tuned for my AGU blog post on that one later!

Overall, I am thankful to have made so many amazing connections at AGU, both new and old. I’m thankful that I’ve been able to come to AGU for the last three years in a row, and that San Francisco is the greatest city on the west coast! Until next time, AGU!

#AGU14 Thursday

Today, I made my usual rounds, wandering between poster boards in the poster hall.

For the keynote, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell (former CEO of REI, and all-around TOUGH CHICK) talked about the importance scientific research has on shaping public policy (and the world). I’ll be blogging about her lecture on the AGU Blog “The Bridge,” so I’ll link to that when it’s published!

This afternoon, I watched a rough-cut of the upcoming program “The Year of Pluto,” which documents the 9 year 3 billion mile journey that NASA spacecraft New Horizons has taken out to the body (former planet). The mission, which launched in Jan. 2006, will do a fly-by during July 2015.

The scientists who worked on the mission since grad school, including Alan Stern (principal investigator of the mission and planetary scientist), are more than excited for the project’s success. This mission is significant because it’s an exploration mission – since no country has yet been to Pluto. While the fly-by is happening, communications to the space station will go momentarily dark because the spacecraft need’s to spend all it’s energy taking photos and collecting data.

Around dinner time, we headed over to the Penn State reception, where I got to get my Penn State fix, since I haven’t been back since I graduated in May 2013. The AGU retweeted me twice today, but below is the most popular one. Follow me on Twitter if you haven’t already! My last day of live-tweeting is tomorrow!

#AGU14 Wednesday

Sometimes the days feel like weeks at the AGU Fall Meeting, but we have all made it through hump day!

This morning, Kimmie Bowen (Dr. G‘s student) and I wandered around the Education section of the poster hall and talked to a whole row of undergrad researchers/scientists doing some pretty amazing things under their research advisors and grants from organizations like NASA!

After the poster presentation, I networked with a couple AGU staffers – Ali Branscombe and Kara (Smedley) Rodean, who are in charge of student programs at AGU. I have been e-mailing with them for a few months prior to the meeting, and Kara since last year, so I was happy to spend some time with them outside the screen!

Kimmie and I went around the Exhibit Hall again, and stopped by the AGU Marketplace to see Dr. G (Laura Guertin) at her “Ask the Expert” couch-side chat where she helped explain social media to the scientists who stopped by! She said most of them needed help with Twitter.

The keynote speaker today was Dr. Kathryn Sullivan – 1st American woman in space – and currently the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere (since March 2014) and NOAA Administrator (since Feb. 2013). Check out my tweets below for tid-bits from the lecture:

She knows that NOAA is doing a good job, but wants to do better. Throughout the talk, she continually referenced building resilient communities through more reports from NOAA. Sullivan ended her lecture with hope that scientists can work together to figure everything out, with more access to information and better weather/climate monitoring.

My last event was the Social Media Forum hosted by AGU and the National Association of Science Writers. The panel was full of superstar social media gurus: Andrew Freedman, senior climate reporter for MashableSarah Horst, earth and planetary scientist at Johns HopkinsLaura Helmuth, science editor at Slate, Scott Horvath, web and social media chief for USGS, and Allen Pope of the National Snow and Ice Data Center. The supergroup answered questions from the audience and had general conversations about best practices for social media.

Here are some tweets from the event. Nicky Ouellet is another grad student in my program who is attending AGU as press!

I also finally got to meet some of my fellow student volunteer live-tweeters!

I’ll leave you with my most popular tweet of the day. Follow me on Twitter for more!

#AGU14 Tuesday

This morning I attended the “Water Science Pop-ups” session (where I presented last year). As you can tell from the title, the talk focused on water scientists explaining what they do! Since the presenters are students, it was awesome to see people my age talking about how passionate they are about their science, and their willingness to share it.

The keynote talk today was given by two wonderful presenters: Robin Chase, founder and former CEO of Zipcar (and founder of BuzzCar in Europe), and Wendy Schmidt, president of the Schmidt Family Foundation. Click-through for my tweets from the event. I will be blogging about this keynote speech on AGU’s “The Bridge” blog. Stay tuned for that!

Click-through for tweets from today's Presidential Forum.
Click-through for tweets from today’s Presidential Forum.

I also stopped by the “Reconstructing the Alcatraz Escape” poster, where a few scientists walked through the science behind how the three men who apparently escaped from the famed Alcatraz Island (former) prison on June 12, 1962. Their research was even featured on dozens of news sites this morning. Dr. Rolf Hut, Dutch scientist featured in the article below, presented at the Water Science Pop-ups this morning:

Dr. Hut said he was inspired to find out more by the US TV show MythBusters, in which the presenters recreated the escape and managed to make landfall.

But the Dutch scientist wanted to recreate the exact conditions of the night using historical tidal data in the computer model. (Read more on BBC)

I next attended the Bloggers Forum to cheer on my mentor (and favorite scientist) Dr. Guertin! She has her own personal blog for students at Penn State, but also blogs for the AGU Blogosphere about geoscience education (GeoEd Trek).

Last up: Open Mic Night, a favorite AGU event! Here are a couple of my favorite lyrics/performances from the night.

I’ll leave you with my most popular tweet of the day, which references water science students using drones and GoPro cameras to collect visual data on watersheds. Follow me on Twitter for more!: