One of the aspects of being on the JOIDES that I have enjoyed the most has been video conferencing with schools and talking to students.
There was a bit of a learning curve when we first started – I had to get used to the fact that while the technology is amazing, it sometimes has glitches and that’s OK! We have amazing MCS’s (Marine Computing Specialists) on board who helped me get over my conference anxiety. I’ve talked with schools from all over, including one in France. Most of these conferences have been an introduction to ocean drilling, how we get the cores, and what we can learn from them. It’s the greatest thing in the world to look at the screen of the laptop and see middle school kids actually leaning forward in their seats because they are so interested. One day we had almost 90 kids came aboard the JR on our virtual field trip in a single day.
All of the scientists are so accomodating when I’m roaming around the lab doing these "tours". We’ve developed ways for them to let me know if they’re available to talk or not, and where possible, I hand over the headset and let the scientists talk to the kids.
Two of my "frequent fliers" are Dr. Martin Crundwell (Doc Martin as he tells the kids) and Stacie Blair – they are both in the micropaleontology group and the kids are fascinated by how much can be learned from things you can’t even see with the naked eye. In the picture above, Martin and Stacie are talking to the kids at Southgate Middle School in California – a class of great kids with great questions.
I’m so lucky to be out here with a science team that recognizes the importance of making science relevant to kids. They enthusiastically support all my efforts out here, and for that I’m so grateful! It’s going to be hard to leave them in 3 weeks!