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28 November 2017

Taking a breather

So I’ve definitely been letting the blogging and tweeting drop off for a couple of months now, and there are a few reasons for that. The first is that I’ve taken on some new responsibilities at work and I’m now a USGS Social Media Ambassador, which means that some of the USGS Volcanoes content you see is being produced by yours truly. This means, however, that I don’t access my …


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6 November 2014

Getting sketchy (when it comes to geology)

I was inspired to think about the topic of drawing (and markerboards) by the great post by Miles Traer on using stick figure animations to explain complex science concepts. I don’t know if geoscientists are a special breed in that they often default toward drawing out their ideas and thoughts, but I’ve always found it to be an invaluable part of my research process.


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3 January 2014

What I’ve learned in grad school

A couple of weeks ago was my (gasp) six-year “blogiversary”, which I always forget about. But the end of one year and the beginning of a new one always seems to call for more introspective posts, and for my first post of the new year I thought I’d write about the main reason I started this blog: graduate school.


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22 November 2013

Resurrected post: Academic jobs are “laid-back”? Not exactly.

Doubtless those of you who are interested in science careers have seen the many offended blog posts prompted by that fairly ill-considered Forbes article about how professors/academics have the most laid-back jobs because they only teach one or two classes a semester. After getting my hysterical laughter under control, I started thinking about all the comments where people describe how their typical academic day. I’m certainly not surprised by the long descriptions of everything that has to get done (and often doesn’t) during a professor’s day, but I did notice that there wasn’t much there from students.


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7 November 2013

Pumpkin ‘cratering’ and a farewell to Buffalo

Despite the frantic packing and last-minute paperwork of my last few days in Buffalo, I managed to take a little time on the last day to go watch a UB Geology tradition: pumpkin impact cratering. It’s an introductory lab that we usually try to do around Halloween, one that I remember teaching almost four years ago now, where students get to drop pumpkins off the roof of one of the buildings on camps and see what happens. Obviously there’s a lot more involved for the lab students – they very diligently measured the pumpkins and the resulting impact sites and cleaned up quite nicely afterwards – but as a departing grad, I got to enjoy the show without having to do any recording. It’s a fun lab and a relevant one, especially since we’ve recently seen what happens when even a relatively small body heads for the Earth.


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21 August 2013


It’s been very quiet around here, mainly because I’ve been working nonstop to finish writing my dissertation. (By ‘nonstop’ I mean I’m dreaming about figures and waking up a couple of times a night to write notes down on the pads I’ve started leaving around my apartment…) At any rate, posting is going to be spotty for the next month or so, until I get the craziness back to manageable …


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6 May 2013

End of semester update

…and I finally, finally have a chance to breathe. It’s been a really busy couple of months for me – not just because I was teaching a lecture class for the first time, but because I was also getting ready for my technical thesis defense.


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8 March 2013

My experience as a woman in the geosciences

Being deep in the throes of thesis-wrangling has left me little time for blogging lately, but as a woman and a geoscientist I definitely thought it was important to write a little bit about International Women’s Day, and about my own experiences. I first became aware that this was a day of celebration when my graduate advisor and I encountered a parade in downtown Xela when we were in Guatemala doing fieldwork for my thesis. It was a beautiful day and the parade-goers were lively and excited and enthused.


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24 February 2013

So you want to be a volcanologist?

In addition to my blogging and on-again-off-again relationship with Twitter, I like to take my geologizing to places outside the office. Just yesterday, I had the opportunity to talk with a girls’ STEM club at my old elementary school about being a volcanologist. I actually do this fairly often, and I’m always really impressed by the questions the students come up with. They’re always inquisitive and thoughtful, and often catch me off guard – which is good!


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11 January 2013

A foray into teaching – and a request for advice!

This semester, as part of an attempt to keep myself funded through the end of my PhD (always an uphill battle), I’m going to be teaching a smallish section of our introductory environmental science course. And the main topic is…deep breath…climate change! Not being an expert on climate change, this has me perusing background information to get ready for the content, but also looking at techniques for teaching controversial environmental topics. And I’m looking for help!


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