Our new SPAG (Science Policy Advocacy Group) website is now up and running! Check it out above. Let me know if you have any questions or comments for how to improve the site!
Earlier this month I sat down with WRRI and discuss the state of my current Master’s research and my science communication and policy work. My mentors Dr. Toni Sebastian and Dr. Kathie Dello also shared their thoughts on our research progress.
I co-moderated a panel of climate change experts in the Research Triangle as Vice-President of the UNC Science Policy Advocacy Group (SPAG) on Tuesday, November 16th, 2021. We discussed a myriad of issues in NC concerning projected climate change impacts, barriers to policy creation and adoption, and ways to become involved in climate change advocacy work. Have a listen!
I competed in my first ever head race on Saturday, November 6th at the Head of the Hooch in Chattanooga, TN. I was stroke seat in the 2V8 of the Men’s Collegiate 8+. It was cold and foggy until late morning, delaying the race by 90 minutes. Enjoy some photos of the event by Ira Wilder below and check out my race on Strava! https://www.strava.com/activities/6221404484?utm_content=55749835&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=twitter #strava
Municipal elections for the town of Chapel Hill were held on Tuesday, November 2nd. I excitedly researched the candidates for Mayor, Town Council, and Board of Education, but unfortunately found little information on many of their positions. Read my thoughts after voting in this article by the Daily Tar Heel! https://www.dailytarheel.com/article/2021/11/city-election-student-poll-reactions
I really enjoyed volunteering for the Eno Environmental Education for Kids (EEEK!) tent at the 2021 Fourth of July Festival for the Eno (EnoFest).
Along with Eno River Association employees, I collected macroinvertebrates like this crayfish from the Eno River to teach festival attendees about riverine biodiversity.
After my 0930 to 1230 shift, I stayed on the property to listen to live music, order some delicious Indian food from Vimala’s Curryblossom Cafe, read a few chapters of JRR Tolkien’s The Two Towers, and check out all of the many vendors.
As the first music festival that I’ve attended since the start of the pandemic, the 42nd EnoFest allowed me to thoroughly enjoy myself.
On a whim I took my cousin to our first orienteering event with Georgia Orienteering Club, Inc. at Don Carter State Park on 2020.12.13. I watched countless YouTube videos the night before and packed a compass, a whistle, and a liter of water.
We found the registration tent and picked up our map and an electronic fingerstick. We ran a yellow course (slightly harder than the intro white courses) and had fun getting lost in the woods a few times.
After this inaugural success, I quickly joined the local orienteering chapter in the Research Triangle. I’m now posting results for the meets when I’m able to attend. Let me know if you’re ever interested in getting lost in the woods!
Check out my results from a June meet here.
What better time to start something new than in grad school? I began rowing for UNC in January 2021 to enjoy the benefits of team sports, a consistent workout schedule, and comradery for my mental and physical health.
I didn’t expect that I would get along with the team as well as I do when I joined a novice group of 18 year old as a 25 year old. I firmly believe that age is just a number; that you are the only person stopping yourself from starting anything from scratch or that you must have perfected a craft to enjoy it.
I’m proud to say that I’m not that great at rowing, but I’m trying to improve every day. I have fun with this group of guys, I enjoy being mentored by Coach Work, and I feel stronger and more confident in my sport and in my research than just a half year ago.
Check out the oldest UNC Crew Novice here (I row port) and view the team’s social media below.
I am excited to announce that I will be joining the Science Policy Advocacy Group (SPAG) Executive Board as Vice-President for the UNC-CH 2021-2022 academic year.
I’m looking forward to coordinating events with affiliated groups at UNC and expanding science communication on campus and in the Research Triangle! Find us on Twitter below!
In May of 2020, I had just accepted a position as an incoming MSc graduate student in Dr. Sebastian’s lab at UNC-CH. I was excited to begin research immediately and Toni knew that I was new to hydrology as a research discipline, so she suggested that I look into writing a proposal for the joint Water Resources Research Institute (WRRI) USGS program administered through NCSU.
I didn’t know what I was doing or even how to start the proposal. I spent my days working on construction sites in the Yards of Southeast Washington, DC as a hydrogeologist and my nights catching up on literature, identifying knowledge gaps, and drafting my first ever research proposal (aside from my graduate school application essays).
In one memorable (if slightly hectic) July week I submitted my two-week notice, moved in with a few close friends after my lease ended, and submitted a 2021-2022 WRRI-USGS 104(b) Grant application. I don’t recall needing coffee that week.
My first experience with a fellowship application was interesting to say the least. I received confirmation of submittal and waited for updates. In a panic I told my advisor that I had the wrong email listed on the submission. Weeks turned into months; I started my master’s degree in August of 2020 and continued waiting.
Finally, in October we received the great news that my proposal had been selected! However, the funding was contingent upon Congressional Appropriations and, since we were in the second wave of the pandemic, the entire funding cycle could be scrapped. I enlisted my now-fiancé (with a background in Appropriations) to check weekly for updates.
By January 2021, USGS had received but not yet released funds to WRRI. In response, the program director decided to preemptively fund all selected projects. Finally, I could share the great news!
My greatest takeaway from this experience has been the confidence that I gained by entering and starting a graduate program, in the middle of the pandemic no less, and hit the ground running. I used this opportunity to better understand my advisor’s approach to research, to funding, to asking interesting questions. I gained an appreciation for the funding process – by applying for funding I learned that I needed to design a research plan that could work.
I am thankful for how this experience has shaped the outline for my master’s thesis, and I hope to use this opportunity to improve science communication and outreach within North Carolina communities affected by flooding.
Read the official announcement here and check out the NC WRRI at the Twitter icon below!