Get more of them please
Get more of them please
I am testing this right now!
LPSC has an option for uploading your poster for access, so now both the abstract and presented poster appear!
The down side is that with all I’ve learned, I’d really like to update some of what is written. It makes me wonder how scientists feel and deal with older research they’ve done once they’ve developed more accurate results. And in regards to this abstract and poster, among the things I’d love to address include the fact that these streaks aren’t quite so active or dynamic as some of the surface processes we are beginning to discover. I can pretty much guarantee that the reason the dark slope streaks didn’t get funding is because the RSLs (recurring slope lineae) have a great deal more potential right now – essentially, RSLs ARE water/liquid induced, and grow during the hottest part of the day and during the summer months. As such, I can respect those getting more attention and funding, much as I would have really liked getting paid to continue doing the dark slope streaks. However, still working on the research and getting into opacity depth of the images and actual atmospheric correction. I’m also looking more into comparing the rate of change of the features with dust deposition rates determined from the different rovers. There’s more, but we’ll see.
On another note, I am getting exceptionally excited for a research project for this summer. I don’t want to assume I have it until the paperwork is signed and in, but unless something unexpected interferes, I should be working with an amazing scientist on a topic that is a particular passion of mine, so yay!
Spring Break is starting tomorrow, and I have a lot on my plate that I really want to complete:
…I bet there is more I’m missing…On the up-side, I really like this pace. It keeps me busy, efficient, and feeling very productive. I’m just very happy so much of what is on this list are things I really enjoy.
So yeah, that’s a thing. The first day it kept coming up that some of the talks had descriptions written as haikus. It was pretty epic, so I thought I’d do a hat’s off for that.
So I had that interview – it was a lot of fun, and overall pretty casual. I’ll get an email when it airs, probably in a few weeks. It was a good thing to say yes to, I think, and I’ve realized just how much I have learned and developed my project despite having limited amount of research progress compared to the summer. Maybe I just like doing lots of different things. I did get in a few talks, but sadly I’m having to check my twitter feed for what they were. Most of what I caught dealt with chemical pathways, which is not my strong suit, but the last talk was very fascinating and an excellent example of good science. (Dr?) Glotch used both theoretical and experimental methods to confine salt reactions for the surface of Mars.
After that, I ended up having lunch with someone I had met back on Monday night who practices the same martial art I used to. We essentially geeked out with that talking about battle scars, funny stories, and insights. Then came the afternoon talks. I swear, myself and one of the other microbloggers in particular kept hitting the same talks. Ironically it’s the same girl I have the photo of the Mars Panorama skirt of and who welcomed me into the group playing cards Monday night. Small world in this arena. I already have trouble walking between talks without seeing someone I recognize, and slowly they are recognizing me, so I must be doing something right with the interacting! It’ll be such a great feeling when I actually get to being a real, published scientist and get to feel that much closer to their level and recognition. And I can’t wait for the excellent conversations and discoveries, but right now, I still have so much to learn, and often from these very people. Afternoon talks were good, and exoplanets have begun invading planetary science: There was a session called “Planetary Atmospheres: Exoplanets”! There too there was an excellent presentation, and one I have a great deal of respect for. Essentially, the analysis process was used on the solar system as a testing ground and moderate verification, and from there roughly applied to exoplanets. I do at some point want to touch on exoplanets, but I would want it to be in a similar fashion where I can take an idea from the solar system and have it tested for applicability here so that then in using it on other systems there is a moderately founded result. After having talked with Dr. Melosh at AGU, I’m able to pick out the presentations/posters/etc. that rely on so many ‘ifs’ that should one variable be altered, all that time and research is crippled.
Finally came the poster presentations. It was unlike any previous experience, whether in comparison to last year or to AGU. First off, simply having the research means you easily talk with people and exchange ideas about something you have some knowledge of (your own poster) whereas last year, I was so far behind the curve that essentially I could only ask questions and not provide much of a dialogue at all. Second, having the poster at the best fitting conference means you get a lot more feedback by people who work on the subject. That’s not to say there aren’t very good reasons for getting feedback from people in other fields, and they may even have an expertise that lends an insight that would have been otherwise missed. It’s just that I now have three papers to look up, and several concepts to test out to help solidify my research. Best way I can put it is that the poster session is a testing ground for your research and the ability for a small, simple project to grow into a larger, comprehensive beast is fantastic. I also had my first cold introduction, in the sense that a new friend/contact asked if I knew so-and-so and when I didn’t, said so-and-so was brought over for me to speak with. Can we say deer in the headlights? Ok it wasn’t that bad, and luckily we were talking about icy moons, so my passion shined through, perhaps a bit too much since I was getting a little, oh I don’t know, like a little kid. He asked if I had a research question in mind, and I talked a bit about some of the things I had been thinking about the last few months. He offered his card and, while at this point it would be unpaid, to possibly work with him on a post-doc. a bit of a ways away, but just see if I don’t corner him for some sort of project, even if it’s on my own and not paid, just to get to do more science! Ok, yes I want to get paid someday, mainly so I don’t have to work another job to support my addiction, but again, someday! Uhmmmm, I think that’s it. Except two of three random people I’ve held a conversation with due to either bumming a ride or while on the shuttle bus were from another country; cool but weird statistic, lol.
Tomorrow should be easy. One more meeting, this one with someone I’d love to work with in grad school, so we’ll see how that goes. The talks are less my line of interest, but I’m more than sure I will enjoy them. Worse case scenario I decide to be productive and get my official undergraduate/student conference advice and list together, along with all the regular things I should do for school. Also, updated my CV…I owe a lot to a couple specific people: Dr. Loverude from my home university for helping me keep going when I was struggling with direction; Dr. Rudolph, for taking me in and connecting me with planetary science, specifically for suggesting the CAMPARE program and the research under Cynthia Phillips; and finally my mentor Dr. Cynthia Phillips, who has helped me with my first steps into planetary science and with the people involved. Under these three people, I have thrived, volunteered, researched like crazy, and I don’t think I can do enough to thank them.
Oh my, so perhaps this won’t be as thorough as I’d like, being as it’s already very late. First off, I’m just going to add to the list I started the other day.
6) (revised) Networking and interacting > talks/presentations.
7) Ask good questions. People remember someone who asks good questions better than conversations. One scientist, when she was first getting into the field, constantly had someone asking a question she so she made it her goal to be able to go up and ask the question first. The scientist then knew her and approached her for a conversation.
8) Set goals for the conference
9) Be considerate in your speaking and writing. You want things to be about the science, and that can be hard to do if someone gets offended or insulted.
Ok, so today. Fantastic talks about many subjects today. As additional info, I’m trying to informally be a microblogger – it helps connect me with people and I don’t think there are quite enough to cover all the rooms (I certainly wish I could be everywhere at once, so the tweets helped me feel somewhat more abreast with all that goings on). However, towards the end of yesterday and again today, it really felt like we kept all going to the same talks!! It is a great method of connecting and interacting, however, and is a particularly great source for those who wanted to be at LPSC or could only be there for part of the time.
As mentioned before, conferences are not all about the talks. I had a chance to really talk with my mentor Dr. Cynthia Phillips for the first time in awhile, and we went over my options. I think I mentioned our funny little back and forth about not wanting to step on each others toes, but I want to do research. Paid is nice, but I’ll do unpaid if that’s what it takes, and without a second thought. This did open up possibilities and as it turns out it is looking like I may have the opportunity to work with someone I have looked up to in the field for quite awhile. I can think of a great many things I could have done better over the years, but in this last year and particularly what I’ve been learning this week, I really can feel how much further that determined, active, and willing attitude can get me. If nothing comes up to interfere so this position does work out, …I just have no words at the moment.
I did unfortunately miss the Women in Planetary Science meeting tonight, although I was able to attend the FameLab finals. FameLab, a competition designed to encourage and improve upcoming (and current) scientists ability to convey information to the public using only themselves and a prop – no slides or electronic displays. It was great to see people working, and bravo to them for the courage and effort of going through the competition. Had it not overlapped with the Undergraduate Research Session, I would have participated. Ah well, next time. And it is inspiring; to either choose a subject you feel passionately about in science or choose something and find that passion in it to convey and utilize simple objects to demonstrate scientific ideas, to compete and see other methods…I really am sad I didn’t get to do this.
Tomorrow I’m set up to do an interview in the morning with someone from a podcast called Western Worlds from Canada. No idea if it will actually be aired or when, but hey, another experience. And this too from just interacting with people, in this case starting a discussion with someone at the poster session who works on an instrument on the Mars Science Laboratory. And with that, I say goodnight!
Making my way through day 2…and boy does that sounds so inaccurate. Haven’t I been gone a week? Busy morning with watching the icy moons talks. Best of all, I met up with my mentor, Dr. Cynthia Phillips – we got to chat a bit more about me getting to continue working on the Mars project. It was actually rather funny; she doesn’t have he funding to pay me for the work, so was worried about me feeling exploited, and I was worried I was stealing her thunder/project. Turns out we were both wrong, all for the win. So she will get to see and help make progress on a really neat and potentially cascading project and I get to keep playing real planetary scientist. She also invited me to lunch, introducing me to several people she works with as well, including one woman who after a few questions we realized we had met last year at the women in science dinner at LPSC2012 (I had gone up and asked questions at the end…more of that taking initiative having a ripple effect). I got a taste of some of the politics that can occur, and it makes me very glad of my experience in Aikido, where there was a lot of navigating around personalities and conflicts. It gives me an additional appreciation for how to interact in doing research within the field, especially one as small as planetary. I know there is more, but I’ve been averaging less than 6 hours of sleep a night for a little too long. Students are always told not to burn themselves out, but when it is where you want to be another hour or so can be full of opportunities that might otherwise be missed, so long as you are determined enough to stick it out.
Summary of advice:
1) Be inclined to say yes – you can gt involved with people and projects that open so many doors and the effect is compounding.
2) Be willing to work for free if that’s what it takes. Sometimes options are limited, but you can stay in the game, and like point 1, it can open doors with people and projects…ones that down the road ARE actually paid.
3) Work towards cooperative research; a pissing contest in science just builds bad blood, detracts from the good science, and means you’ve missed a chance to make the science better by sounding ideas back and forth.
4) Take the initiative!! Meet people, even if you feel out of place, and take some risks to stand out and make an impression, in the best way possible of course. This is what other people will remember, not the wallflower or person who sticks with his/her own cliques.
5) Be the last one standing…in the sense that you don’t want to be fried, but utilize the time to take advantage of as many chances as possible. “Success is not an accident”
6) The real purpose in going to a conference is the networking and interacting. Yes, you will learn. Yes, you will see some really cool things. Ultimately though, the interactions can lead to introductions to new and important people, development of projects, inclusions of people in those projects, jobs, and potential student positions for grad school, among many, many others.
Again, more later, lol…
First off, I am really thankful for the planetary science community being so incredibly welcoming and kind. Second, there’s gotta be some sort of training for going up and starting a conversation/engaging with people you’ve never really interacted with before. Third, awesome people are awesome, and taking the risk can truly lead to some incredible things.
In trying to go back on my day I realize there was more and somehow it really seems like two or three days. The undergraduates who participated in Sunday’s research conference all met up with professional mentors – turns out I was meeting someone who went through undergrad at Santa Cruz, where I’d love to go, and we share a passion for field mapping in addition to PS. Some fantastic lectures later, including sections on Lunar Remote Sensing, Differentiation Across the Solar System, and Planetary Dynamics and Tectonics and I was wiped again. I unfortunately missed the NASA HQ Briefing that took place afterwards, but thanks to the efforts of several microbloggers, I was able to keep up with some of it while I ate, dropped some things off at the hotel and took care of a few things…like an almost dead phone. The undergrads had all been encouraged to attend a Monday night gathering for Young Planetary Scientists for Exploration at a local spot. I had run across some of my fellow undergrads, but after about 20 minutes of waiting, I decided to go ahead and head over. I walked up to the place and knew NOONE enough to sidle up and start a conversation. After one sweep of the bar/pub/restaurant I stepped outside a moment and debated whether to call it, wait for the students from before, or just go in and try to meet people. And this is where the aforementioned points one two and three come in. Turns out the girl who I had stopped on Sunday with the panorama of Mars skirt recognized me and I think thought I looked lost enough that when I recognized her she invited me to sit down with her and a friend she was with. Not five minutes later, she pulls out a card game – they were impressed I recognized it and I knew instantly I couldn’t have sat with a better fit of a group. Ended up befriending a mission specialist, several people on the MSL team, and others, all awesome. One of them even studies the martial art I was involved in for over 10 years! So overall, a good night, successful, and all thanks to taking a chance and putting myself out there to interact with new people.
Well, it is past 1 am, and I have talks to see at 8:30…sooo time for bed!
P.S. they have free coffee every morning…BOY do they know their crowd!
I am at my third conference for this research now, the first being American Geophysical Union Fall 2012 Meeting, the second the American Astronomical Society’s 221st Meeting, and now Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. I hope to come back and comment on the two earlier once, particularly since they were someone outside the general trend of research there. At LPSC, however, I am home and meeting a kind of extended family.
In addition to a very welcoming environment, I have already made so strange connections. On my flight over, I had a transfer in Tuscon, and got waved down by another woman with a poster carrier. We knew instantly we were both headed to the same conference. In talking further, it came out that she knew the CAMPARE program, and in fact interacted with some of the students at the Astronomy Camp in Arizona, and even knew my friend from CSUF Gabriela Serna, who participated in the Astronomy Camp for CAMPARE. Small world!
I have also now met five of the women on the women in planetary science interview/highlight, all very cool so far, and most becoming real-life role models of people I want to be when I make it to being a professional (something of a first for me to find such close fits). The ones who were here for the Undergraduate Session of LPSC included Dr. Britney Schmidt, Dr. Emily Cobabe-Ammann, and Dr. Nadine Barlow. So much of the advice that was given, both by them and other panelists, has really helped identify how to enter the field; using a knowledge of yourself to identify strategies to network and interact. That, and to take chances and just introduce yourself (at least in this field). I even got the nerve-wracking experience of practicing that. Usually, I can introduce myself if I have a question or comment, but in the case of Dr. Schmidt, I really wanted to connect and talk more, but we had already briefly chatted between some of the panels. She was exceptionally welcoming and friendly, however, and between her and others, I already have a growing list of people with whom I am on a…professionally friendly (?) basis. In terms of the panels, I also very much appreciated the talk on alternative careers in science, and some of the stories about science advisors and comic-con connections were definitely chuckle-worthy.
More updates later, and until then…Cheers!
P.S. The skirt that was a panorama of the martian landscape was my favorite.
It’s already September and nearly a month has past since the four Arizona-bound CAMPARians returned home, with both fond memories of burning under the Tucson sun and experience to guide them in their future endeavours. When they weren’t exploring the city, looking at big telescopes, or standing in front of the air conditioner, they were staring blankly into a computer screen confused as to why their program wouldn’t do what it was supposed to. For this lowly undergraduate physics major, the 8-week internship was meant to help guide his academic focus for graduate school – and that it did.
Sure, the work was tough, the hours were long, and there was a lot to take in for just eight weeks. I won’t even elaborate on the weather. However, I can honestly say (for myself) that CAMPARE was well worth the experience (even if they hand’t paid us to be there). My childhood interests in astronomy followed me to college, but when I needed to start thinking about what I should pursue as a career choice I began looking for a push in the right direction. When the offer to go to Arizona – to do real astronomy research – arrived in my inbox at 2:30 in the morning, I accepted without hesitation. In retrospect, it was the push I needed to convince myself that I should pursue astronomy as a career choice. While I had learned the concepts and mathematics behind astrophysics in class, nothing compares to actually applying the concepts to actual research. Analogous to the lab that completes the lecture. Everything from telescope optics, to atomic and thermal physics, to stellar structure was thrown right in front of our faces in Tucson, and we were given the chance to apply our knowledge to actual research. Nothing is more rewarding, especially when years of education is finally given a purpose.
By the way, please enjoy these cool panoramic shots. (open them in a new tab, they’re kinda huge).
Now for the time-line and extra stuff I got to do. In reading, you’ll probably understand the reason for doing these updates after I got back. When I discovered my data was not reliable, I wasn’t ready to post about it; I wanted to be able have some information about what I was pursuing to either validate or invalidate the data with a couple results. Not to mention the fact that I was putting some pretty intensive time in just to try and work out where my data stood. The ironic part of that situation was that meeting was held about an hour after I had been asked and agreed to help organize the SETI Institute event for the Mars Science Lab landing, and my role was not a small one.
It had turned out that only one person, Karen, at SETI Institute had been in charge of organizing everything in coordination with a Google contact to arrange a live Google+ Hangout. I agreed to help on Friday, Aug 3rd with MSL landing two days later, and so far there was an unconfirmed list of people speaking on two tracks for 15 minute time-slots, most of which were unfilled. I took on emailing scientists on that list to confirm talk times, establish if they could be connecting on-site or remotely, and if they could make a test run before the actual event. Further, I contacted other scientists to try an fill the time-slots and opened up for anyone to speak for 30 minutes instead of 15. In addition, I wrote up summaries for each speaker and their talk. There were even a couple students who were willing to talk about their research, and I added myself to the list early Sunday morning once I got enough finished and filled in that I felt I could actually come up with a presentation in time. I slept for maybe 2 hours Saturday night/Sunday morning, and hadn’t slept much the night before, but it was that wonderful adrenaline zone of being utterly productive and in a time crunch. Day of, I was lucky enough to have about four other interns volunteer to help organize packets and take them over to the SETI Institute booth at the NASA AMES event site while I tried to work out the various odds and ends that were up in the air. For one thing, we had no idea where exactly we were setting up for the on-site Google Hangout access point, nor did we even know if we would have internet beyond the shaky sign-in used at the dorms (for which I only had one set of log-in credentials) and no one seemed to be able to answer those questions. Karen had found a little corner behind the booth and I asked about being able to go inside one of the nearby buildings for a quite access point. About that time, sitting around the SETI Institute booth at NASA AMES my balance went all wonky – obvious discovery: Food is a good thing. By the time I got back about half an hour later, Karen had found a building for us to use a little ways away – it worked out perfect: not only were there long tables, nice office chairs, and a fireplace, but lots of outlets and within very good range of the free wifi from the on-site program Singularity University. It looked like we had planned it from the start! Talk about an awesome moment.
As we started getting ready to launch for the actual live hangout, it because apparent that how Karen and I had perceived this going and how our Google contact and coordinator for the hangout planned it going was quite different. Instead of a series of 15 minute talks on two different tracks, it was really a single track in conjunction with Jill Tarter and Seth Shostak where various scientists could jump in and have more of a round table discussion about Mars, MSL, and related science. To boot, there was a second hangout SETI Institute had been invited to join that got bumped up by two hours, effectively cutting out several students, scientists and other guests from appearing on the SETI Institute hangout. Despite this, everyone did a marvelous job, and we got a very good public response! It was a good lesson in organizing an event for me, and I know a lot more about the types of questions and clarifications to look for in the future. It was, in all honesty, a lot of fun too, although I didn’t have much time to wander around the NASA AMES area with everything they had set up. Once again, I adore my mentor – she knew just how much work and time I had put into helping out for this event, and told me she didn’t want to see me until after 12 on Monday, which I was more than happy to oblige.
So along rolls Monday, and it’s time to buckle down and get some progress made on verifying my data, perhaps even enough to narrow down a good specific direction. In addition to pursuing the four or five different things Cynthia and I had talked about, I started thinking about how to do an actual error analysis on my data, and came up with my full pixel analysis. However, the bigger priority was writing up and submitting the AGU abstract that was due that Wednesday. In focusing on that, I was able to organize my thoughts and data much better and come up with new correlations. I the future, I plan on doing abstract style summaries periodically throughout my research as it had really helped make large strides in how I was thinking about my data.
By the end of the day Thursday I had finished my first full-pixel analysis. It had taken several hours since not only was I measuring the I/R value and MOLA for over 300 points, I was checking each of them to make sure they were reasonably located and highlighting exactly which on-streak pixels were being used. When I showed this to Cynthia Friday morning, she was very pleased with what I had come up with as a check and the work I had put into it, but highly recommended that I switch my focus and start working on my 15 presentation, particularly since I was to go first one Monday. Needless to say, the only time I left SETI Institute was to go back and sleep. Also, I’m buying Microsoft Office. I love using OpenOffice software, particularly since it has done everything I have needed in past projects and presentation, however there were several things that just weren’t quite where I needed them to be that weekend. The two big things were trying to convert my presentation files to .ppt for a one-computer set of presentations and the speed and flexibility of animations and transitions. While the later was not necessary, it makes establishing a visual method of conveying information and data much easier and versatile. I ended up being able to do quite nicely with the presentation, but it was noticeable how much quicker and smoother those using professional software were able to complete similar tasks.
Practicing and preparing for my Monday presentation was incredibly nerve-racking. I have done plenty of college presentations in my time and have taught (martial arts) classes on my own, however, this was the first time that I was presenting on my own work and progress to people I wanted to impress and looked up to so much. To boot, I couldn’t get to sleep the night prior and kept going over my presentation and data in my mind. It actually turned out to be a good thing because that was where I figured out my initial full pixel analysis was actually skewed, and was able to show this and refine it in time for my presentation, actually lending more weight to my data and conclusions. Up to that point, because I felt I couldn’t say anything solid about my data, my conclusions had been really weak, but in trying to figure out what it would take for me to believe my own results and how I could do this I ended up something substantially more solid. It was a great moment and I was super excited to show Cynthia. After the presentations on Monday, it was time to try and get my 3 minute lightening talk together. I don’t think I have ever had that much trouble with a presentation in my life. Three slides, with one being my title, name, mentor, and institute, the second slide being background introduction and the purpose and methods of my research and the last slide being the data and conclusions. The positive thing about it being 3-minutes was it meant I could practice it 5 times more than the 15 minute presentation. By Wednesday, I was nailing it! I could consistently land at 3 minutes +/- ~3 seconds, and I wasn’t even repeating the same words each time. It is certainly one way to get a solid sense of a time-frame!
Again, I was incredibly nervous. I couldn’t even eat that morning and when I went to stand in front and present I could see my hands shaking. Overall, though, I pulled through, and once again landed right about 3 minutes. Check it out (my presentation is at 12:55): https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=G20QjGgZRII
The next few days I spent finishing up the things for SETI Institute they needed before I left. It was an incredibly sad time and I absolutely did not want to leave. The only thing I could think was that some day I would be back! The group of us interns got a lot stuff together for the mentors and people who had been really involved with us for the Friday farewell luncheon. We got flowers, a gift card, and a picture for Cynthia as the head of the REU program at SETI Institute, as well as framed pictures for Jill Tarter, Gerry Harp, and Oana Marcu for all their involvement with us interns during our week up at Hat Creek Radio Observatory. It had been an incredible summer, one that will be a goal for the rest of my life to live up to. I will someday surpass it, but it will never be quite like this experience, and it will take determination to be at that level of learning, fun, involvement, exposure to new ideas and areas of study, and in particular, the camaraderie of all levels of people and scientists involved.
<Pictures to be inserted later>
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