From my personal experience, summer time in graduate school means an opportunity to pursue/complete all the projects, papers, etc. that you were unable to complete/start during the academic year. It is a time to be in the lab for long hours running experiments, or processing data. For me, it is like taking a deep breath and being reminded why I started on this path. However, since I started on this path, each summer has had its own personality. So far I have had the summer of adjusting/moving, getting organized, and growth since moving to MN in August 2013. Now that I'm about to start my fourth year in grad school, this summer has become known as the summer of field work.
The summer started with me traveling to the Prairie Pothole Lakes (PPL) near Jamestown, North Dakota with collaborators. My objective was to collect sediments cores to study the effect of mineralogy and storage procedures on extracellular enzymes within PPL sediments (funded by the UMN Moos Graduate Fellowship for Aquatic Biology). See here for more information.
Come Monday, I will be heading to Woods Hole, MA for my my first research cruise! This is something I have been wanting to do since I made the switch to pursue Marine Chemistry my senior year at USC. While I gained a lot of experience working under my former mentor (Dr. Katrina Edwards) about planning, executing, and packing for cruises, I am excited to finally earn my "research sea legs." With the help of my current advisor (Dr. Brandy Toner), I have packed for everything that I may need (see pictures below). All that is left is for me to get some sleep, board the plane, and head to sea. And while I may be a little nervous about my lack of sea experience, I have been reminded multiple times that we all have to start somewhere. My goal is simple - to absorb as much as I can, while hopefully collecting a few samples in the process!
This cruise is part of the University-National Oceanography Laboratory Systems (UNOLS) Early Career Scientist Cruise Training program. For this particular training cruise we will be learning how to use two deep-submersible assets (HOV Alvin and AUV Sentry) to conduct our research at sea, and through telepresence. Leaving from Woods Hole, our cruise sites will be along the continental self where we will be exploring a few canyons and methane seeps in the area. Additionally, we will be broadcasting our daily activities and might even have some live posts. If you would like to follow along on this adventure, see how below!
Personal accounts (see below for icons)
General Cruise accounts
Research Cruise dates: July 28 to August 7
Cruise social media:
Cruise hashtag is #SeaFloorSci
There will also be attempts to conduct live video shows to Periscope or Facebook Live on several evenings. Each of us will take turns as hosts, so tune it!
Hope you can follow along!
Until next time, Anchors Away!!
Colleen L. Hoffman is a scientist by day and adventurer by night. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Earth Science at UMN-Twin Cities.
All photos are the property of Colleen L. Hoffman, unless otherwise noted.
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