Sydney is a student at Washington University in St. Louis currently completing her research at USGS - Albuquerque Seismological Laboratory under Dr. Adam Ringler.
By coupling with the ground, wind causes ground motion that appears on seismic records as noise at a variety of frequencies. Several previous studies have taken wind measurements at one position and related it to signal on seismometers that were often quite a distance away. However, because wind speed and direction are such highly locally variable phenomena due to variations in topography, obstacles, and diurnal heating, it is likely that there will be differences in the wind speed/direction at different locations, which will therefore cause differences in the amount and characteristics of seismic noise. The goal of my project is to investigate specifics of the spatial variability of wind using two weather sensors approximately 300 feet apart collocated with several near-surface broadband seismometers. We will attempt to figure out whether it is possible to identify and/or quantify the relationship between wind speed and ground motion, and determine at which frequencies this noise is produced. Understanding this process could help to improve our ability to mitigate locally generated seismic noise sources.
I can't believe this summer is ending already! I really love working here at the ASL and I'm definitely sad to go. Hopefully someday I'll have the kind of opportunity like this again to work in an environment with such fantastic, intelligent, and supportive people as the ones here - maybe even at the USGS, which is now a goal of mine! I've learned an incredible amount here and it's been an invaluable experience.
Over the last few weeks here things have really been winding down. I've taken my "Ferrari" seismometer back out of the ground, and this morning we took down the weather sensor that I installed. Even though I'm planning to expand on my paper somehow for a senior thesis, I won't be able to access the ASL's data, and will instead have to do something with data I can get from IRIS. I have an idea of how I might go about this, but I'll need to have a chat with my thesis advisor at my university first.
The most exciting thing to happen is that I submitted my paper to the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America yesterday! The internal reviews came back really positively, so I'm hoping the peer review process will go relatively smoothly as well. It still blows my mind thinking about it that I managed to write this huge paper based on my work this summer, and I'm so glad I had the opportunity to do so!
Additionally, this week the lab held a barbecue lunch and I gave a talk about my project. This was a really good experience for me, because I got to practice talking about my research to a bunch of people who didn't really know what I had been doing all summer - and from what I've been told I did a good job! Hopefully I can keep doing things like this throughout the coming semester to really be prepared for AGU.
I've also been searching for a lot of information about potential graduate schools and advisors, and I've been talking with my mentors about who might be some good people to get in touch with. I have a pretty decent list to go off of now and a few more to look into, so hopefully I can get the application ball rolling for grad school earlier than I did for undergrad! Still have to sign up for the GRE, but it'll happen at some point.
New Mexico is such a beautiful place, and I'm glad I got to see the state this summer. Over the last week I've been running around trying to check out a few of the things I still hadn't seen. On Sunday, I went up to Santa Fe again (this time without rain!) and got to take a silly picture that's related to the musical Newsies, which is my all-time favorite show (I've seen it on stage 6 times!), as well as check out the rest of the town. It's a pretty cute little place!
I also finally made it up the tram to Sandia Peak this week. While a little smoky from some wildfires in California, it was an amazing view of the whole city. I think I scared some of the other tourists by running around the edge of a cliff trying to take some cool selfies with the timer on my camera. Just need to do a few more things and prep some playlists before my mom and I start the drive home on Saturday!
It's been quite a week! From my car getting most likely totalled in a hailstorm the likes ABQ hasn't seen in a decade to having to move to an AirBNB across town for my last two weeks, I've felt a bit like a chicken running around with my head cut off. At work though, things have been winding down pretty well. Last week we finished up adjusting and trying a couple more plots to see if they helped explain my findings better at all, sent my experiment's data to IRIS, and on Friday I got my paper sent out for USGS internal review! Once I get those edits back, it will only be a matter of me making those changes before I can go ahead with submitting it to BSSA. It's pretty exciting! I also officially decided that I'll be trying to adapt this project into a senior thesis for my school, and I now have a mentor for that once I get back to St. Louis in the fall. It will be difficult figuring out how exactly to expand on the project without access to the equipment and data here at ASL, but I have at least one idea already so we'll see how it goes. For now until my internal reviews come back, my mentor is having me look into graduate school applications, GRE tests, and figuring out what other seismology-related learning to squeeze in before I go, as well as at some point taking down my experiment. Next week we'll be having a lab barbecue and I'll get to briefly present my project, so I'm working on preparing for that too.
Before this summer, I wasn't even planning on doing a senior thesis, and I was pretty sure I didn't want to go right into a PhD program after my last year of undergrad. But I've really enjoyed working at the USGS, and I can see myself in this kind of career in the future, so I know that a PhD is the best track for me to go on to accomplish that. For all I know things will change dramatically again over the next few years, but I'm glad that I have some sense of direction at least for right now - it's a bit of a relief! I'm extremely happy with how this internship has gone, and I'm very lucky and grateful to have gotten so many interesting results quickly enough to write a paper about them. I think the biggest challenge I faced coming into it all was my lack of programming experience. I'm still no expert for sure, but I've definitely learned a lot about making figures from data (and also how much code just gets cannibalized from other things!). It was a pretty good day when I managed to put my own figure together without help from my mentor (who was amazing at teaching me how to code). I know that it will continue to be a challenge for me for a while as I attempt to do more programming on my own, but this experience gave me the kick start I definitely needed to believe that it was going to be possible at all - and that's a really valuable thing for me.
In my first blog post, I wrote that my goals for the summer were to "have a detailed understanding of my project, learn how to install the equipment to gather data, learn how to use programming and software to analyze data, and be able to successfully communicate my project to people with a variety of different amounts of knowledge in the field." I've definitely accomplished the first three, but I doubt I'll know for sure about the last one until AGU, or at least when I get back to my school in the fall! I've explained the project a few times to some people like my AirBNB host, and I think I know for the most part how much information to include depending on who I'm talking to, but I think improving these types of communication skills is a lifelong journey that I'll be working on until I retire, if not afterward. My goals did change a bit this summer - once I realized how fast the data was coming in, it was important that I made that decision to start writing a paper - otherwise I would REALLY have nothing to do now! In June we had established a timeline for when I would finish coding up certain numbers of figures, and then the timeline was changed again when I added the paper writing, but I've consistently been ahead of schedule this summer. This is something I'm pretty proud of - I'm definitely a procrastinator, so staying on top of things this summer in a professional environment was something that was extremely important to me to accomplish. And I'm grateful that I'm in the kind of environment with other dedicated interns and mentors who helped me stay on track as well. The ASL is a really great place to work, and I'm really liking the idea of someday coming back to work for the USGS again!
Speaking of which, last week the other interns and me and our mentors climbed the mountain behind the lab, which is apparently a rite of passage for all that come work here. It was a pretty gnarly hill with practically some almost-climbing involved, but the view from the top was pretty special - and we found some cool fossils! The group of buildings near the center of this panorama is the lab.
I'm also attaching pictures of the hail that wrecked my car :/ Less fun. Severe storms are much more exciting when I don't have damageable property outside... The dents are easier to see on video but there are plenty! And I need a new windshield!
Once again not a ton of new stuff to report on! Spent a while last week doing more edits to my paper, including significantly reorganizing it, and I submitted my abstract to AGU. I also made the Electronic Supplement for my paper, which was really just re-running my code a bunch for all the different stations and including those plots so that when I say in the manuscript that we saw something on every sensor, a reader can check that in the ES. Today I also started and then finished a first draft of my poster. Thankfully my mentor likes color on things so I got to design it how I liked! It was fun to go back to my high school journalism roots and remember how to use Adobe Illustrator to put it together. Next I'll be figuring out how to get it printed here and hung up so people can comment on it. Here's a preview:
This past weekend, Dory and I went on a really fun (but long) road trip out to White Sands National Monument and Carlsbad Caverns National Park, and drove back through Roswell (land of aliens) which was unfortunately mostly closed down for the evening by the time we arrived. It was great to see a bit more of New Mexico, and I'm going to try and get around to a few more places in my last three weeks here. These are just a few photos that I took on my phone - I may add the better ones from my camera later this week!
It's been a busy week writing my paper, but because of that there really isn't much to update on here! I finished the first draft of my paper and I'm continuing to send it around my advisors for feedback, and it just keeps growing and growing. The Word document is up to 50 pages! As my mentor put it, I'm getting to the stage of the paper where it's just about done, and the last 5% of things to fix will be the most difficult and irritating to adjust. I'm currently working on cleaning up my abstract to submit it for internal review tomorrow before the AGU deadline next Wednesday. We even just recently added another figure to my paper (up to 9 now) that illustrates changes in coherence between the vertical components of all the seismometers I'm using over time, with wind speed plotted with them to look for correlations:
Figure 6: Time series plots of coherence between all seismic sensors for periods from 8 to 20 seconds over a 28-day time period, calculated with moving windows of 4 hours with 1-hour overlaps. Wind speed (m/s) from the snake pit weather station (station FBA1; location code 50) is overlain (gray). Coherence between seismometers ASL8 00 and ASL9 00 (blue) shown in (a); plots (b)-(f) are the same for sensor pairs as shown in the legend.
What we're trying to figure out now is exactly why there are some times when the wind is strong that there aren't as big of drops in coherence compared to other times when the wind might either be comparable or weaker. Our running hypothesis is that it might take impulsive high winds (aka it gets windy really fast) rather than slow ramping-up of wind speed to cause the loss of coherence. Always something else to think about!
Last Saturday I participated in my first figure skating competition, and I won my event! (No one needs to know there were only two of us competing, right?) Here's a video if anyone is interested. It was really fun and I think the competition bug has probably bitten me for good now. This week I'm getting fitted for new skates because I had to duct tape them to hold them together this weekend. I don't really want broken ankles!
Things are progressing at a steady pace here in Albuquerque! We finally figured out the mathematical model for our vertical seismic noise due to the wind late last week. Interestingly, the paper and equations we’re using actually was written in 1973, but as far as we can tell this is the first time data has actually been fitted to that theoretical model, which is pretty cool. It’s hard for me to pick a paper that I would say is most central to my work because we haven’t focused much on reading papers at all. I was actually only given one to read through front to back, and I’ve only read one other on my own all the way through so far. I haven’t written the background or introduction to my paper yet, so I’m sure more of that will happen later, but for now my mentor thinks that it’s a good thing that neither of us dug too deep in the literature before we started this experiment, because otherwise we might not have picked up on a lot of the things we’ve found that completely disagree with older papers. Even the paper from which we got the mathematical model that actually works is very heavily math-based, and it won’t really be that useful for me to slog through the entire thing. But if anyone wants to do that for some reason, the paper is Prediction and Suppression of Long-Period Nonpropagating Seismic Noise by Anton Ziolkowski.
I’m up to having 8 figures in my paper so far, which is what we were aiming for because we figured a few more would pop up before all was said and done! The one that best represents the current stage of my project is the figure supplementing the vertical noise model:
Figure 8: (a) Attenuation with depth for vertical seismic data at 10 seconds period (solid red and dashed green) for a Young’s modulus E = 50 GPa (solid colors) and E = 2 GPa (dashed) and for 50 seconds period (solid black and blue dashed) using Sorrells’ (1971) model. (b) Attenuation along with relative signal amplitude induced by a local pressure signal for E = 50 GPa (red) and E = 2 GPa (black) materials (Ziolkowski, 1973).
Basically what’s happening is that part a) is a model proposed by Sorrells in 1971 that argues material properties don’t affect attenuation of vertical noise much at all, and part b) is Ziolkowski’s 1973 model that shows that the type of substrate does affect attenuation. For this, assume the seismometer that showed increased vertical noise because it’s in dirt rather than granite has a Young’s modulus (E; stiffness, basically) of 2, and the rest of the sensors that are in granite have Es of 50.
In Sorrells’ model on the right, for any specific period of seismic impulse (the wind in our case), no matter what E you have the attenuation is the same. By contrast, in Ziolkowski’s model on the right only one period of wave is represented, but you do get different attenuations with depth when E is changed. The difference between these models is that in the representative equations, Sorrells' model basically cancels E out, whereas in Ziolkowski’s model its placement means that given the same initial impulse, a seismometer in a substrate with a smaller E will experience a greater vertical displacement than a sensor in a harder substance with a larger E.
I spent a long time last Friday working out the math in each of these models so that I could prove to myself that it made sense after my mentor figured it out! Other than my papers being crinkled and ink running today (Monday) after the window in my office leaked during a thunderstorm this weekend, I still understand everything today so I’m working on writing up the discussion section of my paper about it.
Outside of work I’ve been at the ice rink every single day practicing to get ready for my competition this weekend and still playing soccer. I have a lot of bruises and blisters and I’m very sore! But thankfully it’s looking like I should be able to get through my program without falling. Only issue is that my skates are about to give up on me, so I have to spend an unfortunate amount of money on upgrading them within the next few months. Nice to be able to tell I’m making progress though!
Unfortunately, I don't have any fun quotes to use as a blog post title this week. But we had a bear at the lab over the weekend so I took a bit of inspiration from that! I still got plenty done this week though, even with the holiday. The biggest news is that I've decided to work with my mentor to actually get a paper written and submitted for peer review by the end of the summer. Originally, I didn't think that this would be a main goal of mine, so we elected to set up our timeline to get things accomplished for the summer a certain way that didn't include writing time. However, considering my goal for last Friday was to have 2 figures completed and I ended up having 5 done by Tuesday, I decided to just go for it. So now the timeline is a bit more accelerated, which is good! I like being busy. So far I've started out simple by writing the test setup, and by the end of the week I'll have finished that, the methods, and the introduction section of the paper. I actually think the introduction might be one of the hardest sections to write, because there isn't a ton of literature in this part of the field yet. My mentor didn't start me out this summer reading a lot of papers (just one really with another suggested), so I have to do quite a bit of background work to get that completed. The good thing is that we already have a few conclusions that seem to contradict pieces of earlier work, so there's definitely lots to talk about. Pretty exciting!
Last week I also got around to writing my elevator speech. I didn't find this particularly difficult because I worked at a science museum in high school, so I'm pretty familiar with how to effectively turn complex scientific discussions into something that's suitable for a wider variety of audiences. I'll keep developing this over the summer as we establish the mathematical model we're working on to try and explain some of the phenomena we're seeing. It was also helpful that when my mom and I were catching up over the phone a few weeks ago, she asked me why my project was important to the general public or why they should care about it. This gave me some time to think about and talk to my mentor about the bigger picture behind why we try to reduce noise in seismograms.
The following figure is a map of my study area, which is really only over a few hundred feet at the lab. It was actually the first figure I made (during week 2 I believe) once I had my experiment set up. It didn't make a ton of sense for me to work on coding a large map for my project when I have a lot of other work to do, so this is just a satellite image from Google Maps of the ASL with stations labeled. Two of these seismometers are so close together (maybe 3 feet?) that they don't even have different GPS coordinates listed on their metadata pages on the IRIS website, so I think this is the most effective way to explain to a reader or poster audience the scale of my project. This is the figure (final as we know so far) that will be going in my manuscript and on my AGU poster.
It's a small study area because we're specifically looking at spatial variability of wind across short distances - and we've found that even 300 feet really does make a huge difference. The following figure is the one I talked about in my blog post last week. It is a calculation of coherence between a bunch of the different sensors I'm using - essentially, telling us how different the signals are over time. This figure was calculated using a calm time period that lasted about 6 hours, and a windy period of approximately the same duration. A coherence of 1 means the signals are identical, and a coherence of 0 means they're not similar at all. LHN is the North-South horizontal component of the seismometers, LHE is the East-West horizontal component, and LHZ is the vertical component.
There's a lot going on in this figure and it's kind of blurry because I had to shrink it a ton, but a couple of the main things to note are:
Outside of work, I've been practicing like crazy to try and get ready for my figure skating competition - to the point that I actually pulled a muscle on Friday. Not ideal! It's stressful to try and learn and successfully do things I've been working on for six months with no luck in just a few weeks, but hopefully I'll be able to pull it off. I tried to go see the fireworks on the 4th, but due to high winds they ended up being an hour delayed (which I had no way of knowing at the time) and I managed to lock my car keys in my trunk for a bit. And it took an hour and a half to drive 11 miles home because of traffic! But at least I got to watch the fireworks through my windshield in stopped traffic when they finally started after I had given up!
Also here's the bear because that's kind of cool:
It's been another eventful week at the lab! We made a ton of progress and spotted quite a few interesting things in our data that we aren't able to fully explain yet. It's pretty exciting to be part of a project that could really change some of the assumptions people in the field make when it comes to how much wind is affecting seismometer readings.
I particularly worked this week on making new figures and improving the ones that were produced the week before. The next image is one of these: it's a spectrogram, which plots time vs. frequency or period, with a third dimension in color that illustrates seismic noise in dB. Plotting the wind speed in m/s over this spectrogram helps show that times of high wind correlate well with times of high seismic noise at a variety of periods. You can also pick up some other events - for example, the bright line just before 120 hours is the magnitude 5.9 earthquake off the Pacific coast of Central Mexico on June 30.
What I spent most of my time on this week is a large figure with 8 different plots of coherences between the seismometers and the weather sensors. I'm going to hold off on posting this figure for a little while though, because there are some unexpected things on the plots that we don't yet have explanations for - which is really exciting! I'll go more into that either next week or the week after when we have a bit more information or ideas. But we think it might have something to do with the material the seismometers are sitting in - the STS-6 I installed is in unconsolidated soil, while most other seismometers are in rock, and at certain periods my seismometer is moving a significant amount more (almost as if it had a kite attached - thanks Dr. Anthony!). This stuff has so far spawned a 14-email-long chain (and growing) between various people at the lab trying to figure out what's going on. Hopefully by the end of the week (or sometime later) we'll know a bit more and maybe even come up with a model for this situation.
Good news is I'm already ahead on my timeline/goals for the summer! Originally we had planned to have my list of figures done by today (Monday) and have 2 completed by Friday, but as of today 3 are already complete! Things are looking good.
Outside of work, I'm continuing to play soccer, and I just had my first figure skating lesson last Wednesday. What was really cool about this is that my coach suggested I enter a competition next month! So it looks like I have a few weeks to learn some choreography and get a dress and all that. Should be fun!
Happy 4th of July!!
Weeks one and two are done! It does feel though like last week was my first official week - the week before that my mentors and I attended the 2018 IRIS Workshop, which was coincidentally held this year in Albuquerque. That was quite an experience and at times got a bit overwhelming, even though I know it will be nothing like the scale of AGU in December. Definitely something to look forward to!
My project is a bit different from the others in that I basically designed my own experiment, installed sensors, and will be doing all the analysis (with the help of my mentors) on the data that I collect. Just last Friday we finally got everything up and running, even though we had the concept of the project figured out by Monday. Turns out there's a lot of running around and collecting equipment and making cables that has to happen before everything goes up! I'll copy my newly-updated project description below so that I can describe what we set up last week:
"By coupling with the ground, wind causes ground motion that appears on seismic records as noise at a variety of frequencies. Several previous studies have taken wind measurements at one position and related it to signal on seismometers that were often quite a distance away. However, because wind speed and direction are such highly locally variable phenomena due to variations in topography, obstacles, and diurnal heating, it is likely that there will be differences in the wind speed/direction at different locations, which will therefore cause differences in the amount and characteristics of seismic noise. The goal of my project is to investigate specifics of the spatial variability of wind using two weather sensors approximately 300 feet apart collocated with several near-surface broadband seismometers. We will attempt to figure out whether it is possible to identify and/or quantify the relationship between wind speed and ground motion, and determine at which frequencies this noise is produced. Understanding this process could help to improve our ability to mitigate locally generated seismic noise sources."
At the Albuquerque Seismological Laboratory (ASL), the local Global Seismic Network (GSN) station ANMO already had a weather sensor installed on the corner of the building where all of the equipment is stored for the sensor in the borehole (which is now the quietest station in the world!). For the second weather station I needed to pick an installation location, so we ended up placing it about 300 feet away at a different area of the lab called the snake pit where more seismometers were already installed (although it really should be named the mouse pit. So much poop). Near this weather station there were two seismometers in 10-foot boreholes, and a third one inside the snake pit building. Unfortunately, it looks like one of these borehole sensors might be broken, so I'm down to two sensors at the snake pit rather than three.
Because I'm looking at how wind influences seismometers, instruments needed to be placed in shallow boreholes. So it was convenient that I could use some pre-existing sensors at the snake pit! However, near ANMO there weren't any existing shallow sensors - ANMO itself is several hundred feet underground - so I needed to install a new seismometer in the ANMO area in a shallower borehole. So that's the backstory of how I came to install an $80,000 seismometer in a 9-foot-deep hole last week! My mentor, Dr. Ringler, was looking around for an instrument that would make more sense to use, because as he put it using this type of seismometer (an STS-6) for this experiment is "like buying a Ferrari when you live on a two-mile-long island." It'll work, but you're definitely overdoing it - but was the only type of seismometer available. Dr. Ringler said he was sure that I was using the most expensive equipment of any of the interns - so if anyone else can beat 80 grand let me know haha!
I waited to post this until today (Monday) because I wanted to see if good wind speed and direction, pressure, and seismic data came in over the weekend from my new stations. Thankfully everything looks great so far!
In between avoiding the gnats and getting sunburned working outside in 100 degree weather last week to get the instruments installed, my mentor was helping me learn to use Python to code up some figures to analyze older data from the seismometers that were already installed and the ANMO weather station. So far we've made coherence plots, which analyze the similarity of different signals, particle motion and compass rose diagrams for wind and seismic noise direction, and spectrograms, which show noise sources over a certain time period and at what frequency or period they are at, as well as how powerful they are in dB. As someone with no coding experience, trying to pick this up has been the most difficult part of the internship so far. I'm definitely not ready to code any of this up on my own, but I'm getting to the point where I can look at code that's already made and interpret what's happening, as well as use Google to find out how to use certain tools and make variations on code that we already wrote up. Now that I'm starting to collect my own data, it's very simple to just slightly change the code to analyze it, so we were able to get a bit of a head start before data was even coming in.
Outside of work, I've joined a local recreational coed adults soccer team! I've played in two games so far, and although it's fun and the people on the team are pretty cool, running around outside in 100 degree weather like I did yesterday when we were playing down a person and without subs was pretty miserable. Hopefully it'll be cooler next week! I also got to go to a drag/stand up comedy/music show last week that was a blast, and I'm starting figure skating lessons again on Wednesday and I can't wait! I've also had the chance to hang out with Dory, who's also in Albuquerque, every weekend so far by going to Sunday matinee movies. Last weekend we also drove up to Santa Fe, and after making a lengthy detour because I wasn't paying attention to the directions, picked up Hannah in Los Alamos, and visited the city for the day. Definitely a good summer so far!
For some reason the button to post pictures isn't working from this computer, so here's a link to pictures of the seismometer installation, the new weather station, and visiting Meow Wolf in Santa Fe!
What a whirlwind the last three weeks have been! It's crazy for me to think back to the fact that on May 22nd I was still in Scotland taking finals - so many things have happened between then and now that it practically feels like a lifetime ago.
I'll start with orientation. I arrived in Albuquerque still really jetlagged from traveling back from study abroad, but it was practically impossible to feel tired during that week. It was an absolutely amazing experience that I liken back to the first week of college in many ways - lots of learning, icebreakers, and staying up late making new friends chatting in the parking lot and playing "volleyball". It's been a long time since I got so close so quickly to such an amazing group of people - I absolutely love all 18 other IRIS interns this year and I'm frankly disappointed that we don't actually all get to work together this whole summer!
But even beyond how grateful I am to have so many new friends, orientation was incredibly valuable for me both in terms of how ready I feel for my job this summer, and honestly how I'll approach my senior year as an undergrad and my continuing education. Coming into this program, particularly with no programming experience to speak of, I was very very nervous and intimidated by the idea that a lot of my research this summer would revolve around learning to code, and worried that despite being fully open about how little I knew to my mentor and the folks at IRIS, people would still expect me to be an expert as soon as I walked into the lab. Thankfully I was able during orientation both to learn a little bit about UNIX and MatLab, and understand that others were feeling similarly to me. While I still don't know a lot, I'm ready to take notes until my hands fall off and absorb as much knowledge as I possibly can from reading, practicing, and hearing from my mentors this summer so that I can be successful in my work.
Orientation week also provided me the incredibly important opportunity to hear about career paths and graduate school prospects that I hadn't considered before. Ending junior year, I was thinking that I might take a few years off to work between undergrad and going to grad school - but the big problem was that I had no definite plans because I really didn't know what I wanted to do. Hearing from people who had been involved in IRIS years ago and now were on so many seperate paths was immeasurably helpful to me, and it's hard to even describe why. But I'm pretty sure now that I'll be spending this coming fall applying to Geophysics Master's programs!
It was also a relief to hear that IRIS interns are competitive in the job/grad school market. Last year as a rising junior, I applied for 23 internships and was rejected from all of them, and this year I applied to 21 and was only accepted by 2, one obviously being IRIS. To say that I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity are words that will never be strong enough to express my gratitude and honor at being chosen for this program, and that fact plus the orientation experience have really helped me feel more comfortable with what I'll be able to accomplish in the future. So if anyone is reading this who wants to be an IRIS intern in the future - DON'T GIVE UP! Keep working hard and taking advantage of the opportunities you have and the knowledge of those around you, like your professors and advisors. If it could work out for me I believe it will for you too!
Anyway, while I still don't start work until tomorrow, this past week I made the 1400+ mile drive from Seattle to Albuquerque so that I would have the necessary car down here for my internship. It was several very long days on the road, but it was made more fun by the wonderful playlist my fellow interns helped put together and a stop by Arches National Park in Utah. I'm so excited to spend the summer down here exploring a brand new state and learning as much as I possibly can about my job. My main goals are (in somewhat of a chronological order) to have a detailed understanding of my project, learn how to install the equipment to gather data, learn how to use programming and software to analyze data, and be able to successfully communicate my project to people with a variety of different amounts of knowledge in the field. I can't wait to start tomorrow! Stay tuned!