The Need to Give Thanks

This is my first official blog post from the JOIDES Resolution as a School of Rock participant. Subsequent blogs will not be this long. I promise.

 Day one involved meeting my colleagues, a bit of boat orientation and an introductory tour of the scientific labs by paleontologist, John Firth. It is difficult to condense what we experienced today, but I did have time to journal while some of my colleagues went into the city to enjoy socializing before our departure tomorrow. I would have liked to have joined them, but in the teaching profession it seems that finding time for reflection is a luxury that we do not often receive.

While listening to John Firth talk today about the amount of collaboration that exists between scientists when trying to solve a problem or to create a working model, I got to thinking about just how well the IUP Geoscience Department delivers the realities of scientific research to its undergraduates. I remember feeling challenged and encouraged by the IUP geoscience faculty. We were given opportunities to research problems, attend field trips in every class, a semester long field course in addition to all of the other embedded field time, a mandatory seminar class that was more like an undergraduate thesis and more. Thanks specifically to Dr.  Steven Hovan, Dr. John F. Taylor, Dr. Karen Rose Cercone, Ms. Cinda Roebuck, Dr. Eve Arnold, Dr. Darlene Richardson, Mr. Fred Park and Dr. Frank Hall who were all professors from whom I took courses while attending IUP. By the way, I got to meet with Steve Hovan and Jan Backman last night in San Diego since they just got off of the JOIDES Resolution after an 8 week excursion. It was great to talk with you, Steve!

A great big thanks to all parties who are making the School of Rock workshop happen. It’s important to me that the sponsors know that their money is being put to good use. It’s my intention to find out how many organizations are sponsoring this program. It has been clear from the start that Sharon Katz-Cooper and Leslie Peart have worked very hard to get us here and to coordinate all of the things that we didn’t have to think about (and all of those things that we will never know!). Thanks to Jen Collins, the SOR teacher-fellow, who shared her experiences with us today. She will be our follow-up person to whom we will report the good things we do to promote what we learn while here. Thanks to the staff scientists who are willing to work with us and share their knowledge that we may share it with out students. I am well aware that the time they spend with us is time away from their research.

Thanks to the staff on board the JOIDES Resolution who play such a crucial role in keeping ship activities going. Already we have experienced amazing hospitality from the kitchen crew, laundry crew, some of the engineers, captain and co-captain of the ship. The amount of respect that exists between persons working here is evident in every interaction. I’ve been lost 100 times already, and so far no one has been impatient with me!

Thanks to my colleagues and supervisors at White Mountains Regional School District for being flexible so that I could attend this workshop. I was able to give my final exams a bit early, for example. Thanks to Jeff Elliott for grading our biology exams. Thanks to Laurie Carr for dealing with missing Earth science books! And thanks to all of my colleagues and students who share my excitement about this trip.

Thanks to the participants of the SUNY Oneonta’s Earth science Listserv. Many of you have expressed interest in following along, and I have learned much from the contributions of this list. I only hope that I can contribute in some way to those who have so often helped me. I want to take a moment to acknowledge the loss of our dear colleague/friend, Eric Cohen, who contributed so much to those who knew him. We lost him this month, and mourning continues in our Earth science community. I hope I can think of something special to do to honor Eric while at sea.

Thanks to my family and friends. I am already excited to share photos with those of you who want to know more about this expedition. And to John Adam: I have finally started to read your latest book – A Mathematical Nature Walk. I can already tell it’s going to be my favorite of yours! And to Jim Bromley: I miss you and love you!