Friday, December 17, 2010

Share Your Thoughts about the AGU 2010 Meeting

There were a lot of YES Network members at AGU 2010 this year. It was great to see you at the sessions and at the different outings and meet new members. Now it's your turn to comment about your experiences at AGU. What sessions did you attend? Was there anything at AGU that was memorable? Please share your thoughts with us.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Say YES with a Morning Cup of Coffee!

Hi everyone!

If you missed us for the YES Network dinner last night at Mel's Drive-In, come join us for a cup of amazing mad-scientist coffee that will truly give you a kick start for the morning! Where? We're going to meet over at Blue Bottle Coffee at 0700 tomorrow (Wed) morning. Come meet the other YES Network members here at AGU, and find out more about the YES Network and all of our upcoming events and activities. 

Location : 66 Mint Street - and here's the map so you can find your way there.

Learning Geology in 3D

Rowan Cockett, a graduating senior from the University of Calgary, presented a poster this afternoon about an interactive software application he developed (VisibleGeology) that helps students understand the concepts in introductory and structural geology courses. Student can upload maps or use preloaded modules to look at topography, bedding, folding, faulting, as well as dykes, plutons, and unconformities. One thing Rowan noted was how geology teachers often refer to the Rule of V's (the outcrop V's point in the direction in which the formation lies underneath the valley), yet students don't always fully understand the concept. Then he pulled out his laptop, fired up the VisibleGeology application and showed me very quickly how this concept works. We did a fly-through of the geologic feature and then pulled out cross-sections at different points along the formation. He also showed me some of the other features of the application. It's a very easy to use application, and one of the highlights is the ability to upload your own data - which makes it a great tool that can be easily integrated into any classroom activity or pre-fieldwork prep work. The application is not yet available as a mobile app (as this would be a great tool for field courses), but keep tabs on the Visible Geology website to keep up with all the latest releases and updates.

Monday, December 13, 2010

YES Network Dinner at Mel's Drive In

Hey, what a better way to go than to eat good ol' fashioned American-style hamburgers and fries at Mel's Drive In on Mission Street here in San Francisco. The whole experience was complete with the mini-juke boxes, 60's tunes playing in the background (yes - even Elvis), and the murals of the old 60's cars and drive-in restaurants. It was a great place to eat, meet, get to know some new YES Network members, and also chat with some of our senior advisory council members.

Now, I know we missed seeing some of you who RSVP'd for dinner, but hopefully we'll catch up with you at some of the other YES Network events this week.

See you tomorrow at the YES Network session on Natural Hazards at 1:40 - 3:30 PM in Room 3010 at Moscone West.

Reflections on ED12A - Development of Geoscientists from Novice to Professional

The second set of talks in this session covered the gradient from undergraduate education to career preparation to early-career support of geoscientists. Jane Dmochowski (ED12A-01) discussed how the Earth and Environmental Science Department at the University of Pennsylvania has implemented a mandatory junior seminar on research methods that teaches undergraduates how to do research. From guest lectures, analysis of previous senior theses, scientific literature review and computer labs focused on data analysis, students learn how to do review scientific literature, develop a project idea, and analyze data using different quantitative methods. What a great way to prepare your students for entry into graduate school. One challenge that was noted was finding mentors for the students.

In the next talk (ED12A-02) Siva Murugesu, who presented Wilson and Hermans talk (ED12A-02), discussed the Summer Synthesis Institutes in hydrology which bring together students, post-docs, and faculty on intensive research projects for about 7 weeks. The work generated from these intensive institutes have included five topical session at AGU between 2008 and 2010, and over 60 publications.  Coming back to the topic of mentors, it was noted that the role of mentors in these institutes were to "reinforce a positive work environment, coach students out of their comfort zones, and break down language barriers - both disciplinary and cultural".

Next we heard from Diane Doser (ED12A-03) from University of Texas at El Paso discuss how UTEP's Department of Geological Sciences is preparing geoscience student for the workforce through several activities including the Student Colloquim, an annual professional meeting organized and run by students that engages not only academics but also industry professionals. Industry professionals not only support some of the major costs of the event, but also serve as judges for student presentations. The Colloquim serves not only to prepare students for the workforce, but also as a recruiting tool for the department and industry, and as a way for the department to maintain strong industry connections. Another program that UTEP offers is its Pathways to Geoscience Program which includes a two-week summer field program that is for high school students and teachers, and a research experiences for undergraduate students. It's been a great way to connect with high schools and inform teachers and students about geoscience careers. In this program, undergraduates also get experience writing resumes and learning how to conduct research.

We heard from Randy Richardson and co-authors (ED12A-04) next about the resources that SERC's On the Cutting Edge offers for geoscience graduates and post-doctoral fellows who are pursuing academic careers, from workshops to online resources. There's a lot of great information on this site, so take some time to peruse all the pages. The early-career faculty resources are posted here and the resources about preparing for a career in academia are posted here.

Jo Venus, YES Network President, next discussed the preliminary results from the Decision Points Survey - if you haven't taken it yet, please take a moment and fill out the survey form. I'll let Jo fill you in on the preliminary results, so check back for her post on this topic.

Next we heard from Jenny Baeseman from the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) a very dynamic and active international and interdisciplinary group of early-career polar researchers. APECS is extremely active on the web and at meetings including their virtual poster sessions, thriving mentoring program, webinar series, blogs, videos, and the workshops and networking events they organize. If you're doing polar research, whether in the Arctic, Antarctica, or in any of the world's polar regions (alpine and above) get connected to this vibrant community. 

Our session closed with a talk by Sarah Gaines about Earth Stewardship Science and the work she's been doing in developing international research networks based in Africa. The talk generated a lot of discussion afterward.  For those of you who were there today, you can continue the discussions that started today at the  
UNESCO-AfricaArray-AGI townhall meeting - Earth Stewardship Science: Building Research Networks in Africa
Wednesday at 12:30 PM–1:30 PM, Moscone West, Room 2009

Development of Geoscientists from Novice to Professional - Field Courses

We had a set of great sessions today that covered the gradient from K-12 education, undergraduate education, field work / field courses, to preparing students for geoscience careers and supporting early-career geoscientists in the early years of their career.

The first session of talks had two talks about field mapping both looking at what novices see in the field and what experts see. In one, (ED11C-02) Joshua Caulkins conducted a pre-field set of exercises as the group of students and faculty traveled to the field site. The exercises were a set of four exercises, each building on the previous, to see how novice and expert mappers could create geological models based on a set of field data that represented a day's worth of data collection. The students were all 3rd year geology students who had at a minimum taken courses in minerology, structural geology, sedimentology, petrology, and had one previous field course. Analysis revealed that the novice mappers developed fewer probable geological models than did expert mappers.

In the next talk (ED11C-03) Rory Cottrell and co-authors examined how novices and experts examine landscapes when they are in the field by deploying eye-tracking cameras that can record where the observer is actually looking when examining the landscape. They used cameras that measured visual direction, eye motion and landscape view and wide-brimmed straw hats to minimize glare. They found that the experts looked at more of the landscape and focused on a wider swath of features than did novices. Novices tended to look at fewer features and tended to concentrate their focus on prominent geological features.

It was interesting to see these two talks arrive at a similar conclusion from different perspectives. Whereas novices looking at field data tended to construct few probable geological models in one study, the novices in another study tended to focus on fewer visual cues in the landscape when in the field. Yet with time and experience in field mapping, the focus expands to take in more of the landscape and develop a wider range of hypotheses and probable geologic models.

From the Ed Side: Exploration Station

It's 4 am in San Francisco - isn't jet lag wonderful?

Yesterday, I spent about 6 hours at the AGU Exploration Station, part of the public outreach/family oriented events held at the meeting. It's relatively new - I think this was its second year - and a chance for families in San Francisco (and guests of scientists at the meeting) to explore some of the science being highlighted at the meeting. For this year's CloudSat booth, we had an ultrasonic transducer setup to "fly" over kids heads to demonstrate active remote sensing similar to that of the cloud radar on our satellite. I also had some "cloud in a bottle" demos - allowing families to think about and explore what makes a cloud. For me, it's a day of fielding really basic questions about clouds. I love it, because inevitably, those simple questions can really test your understanding, like when a woman asked me why different wind directions cause the fog in San Francisco bay to take on very different appearances - a question spurred on by my demos.

The best part for me is when a kid wants to experiment. My last visitor of the day was a young man who couldn't have been more than 6 years old, who kept trying to measure the height of different objects using the ultrasonic transducer. At one point, I bumped the stand I had been using and it started causing the sensor to sway up and down, making the ground look like it too was moving up and down. He noticed the change in the data, and immediately realized that something had changed, looked around, and then identified the problem in the apparatus. That true scientific moment was the highlight of my day.

I hope that some of you would consider participating in this kind of event in the future. I find I get as much out of it (if not more) than the public participants do.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Blogging from the Education Side

Hello out there YES fans! I am taking a break from AGU Packing and Exam Grading to introduce myself. I'm Todd Ellis, an assistant professor of meteorology at SUNY Oneonta, a 6,000+ student primarily undergraduate institution (PUI). I'll be at AGU all week, and my focus at this conference is a little different than average. My scholarly work focuses on K-16 education and public outreach, and when I attend AGU, I mix learning and teaching alike. I'll be at the exploration station on Sunday, a NASA exhibit booth in Tuesday, and an area middle school on Friday. In between, I'll be heading to climate change presentations and education presentations - and blogging from them all.

I hope to see you there. I also tweet from @citizenscience, and would love to meet you if you wanna chat about outreach or life as a faculty member with 4 courses a semester. But it's time to get back to packing... Safe travels to all of you coming to San Fran, and I'll catch ya later with my next entry from the Education Side.

YES Activities at AGU 2010 Fall Meeting

The YES Network will be convening two sessions at the AGU 2010 Fall Meeting, and we'll also be getting together for dinner on Monday evening.

Here's our schedule of events. If you're presenting a talk or a poster at AGU this fall, let us know (email Leila Gonzales at lmg [at] so we can post it on our schedule.

We are looking for YES Network members who would like to blog about AGU and YES events on the YES Network blog. If you are interested in blogging, please contact Leila Gonzales (lmg [at]

Additionally, there are many student opportunities and events at AGU this year. Visit the AGU meeting's Student Opportunities page.  Of special interest is the Career Opportunities Networking Lunch on Wednesday, 15 December from 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis Golden Gate Salon B. This is a ticketed event (and tickets are free!). Make sure to collect your ticket from the Career Center as soon as you can. The first 200 students to collect tickets from the Career Center beforehand will be admitted to the lunch. To get an idea of what the networking lunch is like, here's a short video of last year's Career Opportunity Networking Lunch, courtesy of AGI.

See you San Francisco!

YES Network Schedule of Events

Monday, 13 December
The Development of Geoscientists: From Novice to Professional 
YES Network Co-Convenors: Syed Ajijur Rahman, Leila Gonzales
ED11C (Talks Part I) 9:00 AM-10:00 AM MS-102 (Moscone South)
ED12A (Talks Part II) 10:20 AM-12:20 PM MS-102 (Moscone South)
ED13A (Posters) 1:40 PM-6:00 PM MS-Poster Hall (Moscone South)

SUNY Oneonta Earth Sciences Outreach Program (ESOP) - Generating New Drilling Prospects for Geoscience Programs by Todd Ellis and Jim Ebert.
ED13A (Posters) 1:40 PM-6:00 PM, Poster Hall (Moscone South)
To read the abstract of this presentation, search AGU's Fall Meeting Program for Presentation ID#:  ED13A-0602

YES Network Dinner  (Everyone pays their own way...)
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM - email Leila ( if you will be attending.
Location:  Mel's Drive-In
801 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94103-3006
Phone: (415) 227-4477
Map  |  Restaurant Info

Tuesday, 14 December
CloudSat presentation by Todd Ellis
10:00 AM,  NASA Exhibit Booth (#111)

New Initiatives in the Development of a National Geoinformatics Community 
by S. J. Whitmeyer et al.
ED22A (Talks) 11:05 AM - 11:20 AM, Room 102 (Moscone South)
To read the abstract of this presentation, search AGU's Fall Meeting Program for Presentation ID#:  ED22A-04

Strategies for Earthquakes and Natural Hazards Mitigation I
YES Network Convenors: Jo Venus, Wang Meng
NH23B (Talks) 1:40 PM - 3:30 PM, Room 3010 (Moscone West)

Wednesday, 15 December
Strategies for Earthquakes and Natural Hazards Mitigation II 
YES Network Convenors: Jo Venus, Wang Meng
NH31B (Posters) 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM, Poster Hall (Moscone South)

Supporting Evidence for the Astronomically Calibrated Age of Fish Canyon Sanidine  by Tiffany Rivera et. al.
8:00 AM - 12:20 PM, Poster Hall (Moscone South)
To read the abstract of this presentation, search AGU's Fall Meeting Program for Presentation ID#:  V31A-2304

Town Hall Meeting - Earth Stewardship Science: Building Research Networks in Africa
12:30 PM–1:30 PM, Moscone West, Room 2009

Friday, 17 December
Numerical modelling of climatically-driven drainage capture and sediment flux, South
Island, New Zealand  by Ann Rowan et. al.
8:00 AM - 12:20 PM, Poster Hall (Moscone South)
To read the abstract of this presentation, search AGU's Fall Meeting Program for Presentation ID#:  EP51B-0547

Linking onshore and offshore erosion and sediment transport in the Strait of Messina, Italy
by Rajasmita Goswami et al.
8:00 AM - 12:20 PM, Poster Hall (Moscone South)
To read the abstract of this presentation, search AGU's Fall Meeting Program for Presentation ID#:  EP51B-0544

Application of the U.S. Geoscience Information Network to deploying a National Geothermal Data System by M. L. Allison; S. M. Richard; R. J. Clark; W. Grunberg (Arizona Geological Survey, USA)
1:40 PM - 6:00 PM, Poster Hall (Moscone South)
To read the abstract of this presentation,
search AGU's Fall Meeting Program for Presentation ID#:  IN53A-1157 

Landscape Response to Active Extensional Faulting and Multiple Local Base Levels: The Perachora Peninsula, Eastern Gulf of Corinth, Greece  by O. Bujanowski-Duffy; S. H. Brocklehurst; R. L. Gawthorpe; E. Finch
1:40 PM - 6:00 PM, Poster Hall (Moscone South)
 To read the abstract of this presentation, search AGU's Fall Meeting Program for Presentation ID#:  EP53B-0618

AGU... its nearly time!

Hello everyone,
The time has come round for the AGU Fall meeting and final prep is underway! Do let us know if you are planning on coming along as we would love to meet as many members as possible. If any of your colleagues are attending maybe now is the time to tell them about the YES Network & then they can come and ask us any questions during the meeting.

We will be blogging from the Conference to keep you up-to-date with what is going on. Check out the website for the listings of YES member presentations.

See you in SF!

P.S. Our schedule of events is posted here: YES Activities at AGU 2010 Meeting

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

YES Network sessions at EGU 2011 - Abstracts Due 10 Jan!

The European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly 2011 meeting will be in Vienna, Austria from 03-08 April 2011.

Abstracts are now being accepted for all sessions and we encourage all YES Network members to submit their abstracts as there are many exciting sessions! The deadline for abstract submissions is 10 January 2011.

Please visit the EGU 2011 website for more information about how to submit your abstract and for information about financial support:

Please especially note the following sessions that are being convened and/or co-convened by YES Network members:
(If you are a YES Network member and are convening a session at EGU that we have not listed here, please let us know and we'll update this post to show your session information.)

SSP1.2: Recent advances in fluvial sedimentology and stratigraphy
Convener: Andrew Wilson
Co-Conveners: Arnold Reesink , Andreas Rittersbacher , Joanne Venus

Fluvial deposits contain some of our most precious groundwater and hydrocarbon resources, are archives of paleo-environmental conditions, are sensitive to environmental change, and rivers themselves are the conduit through which continents are linked to oceans and basins.

The study of both modern and ancient river deposits is therefore critical to our understanding of the effects of forcing factors such as climate and tectonics on drainage networks and sedimentary architecture, and in developing predictive tools for assessing resource potential.

We cordially invite submissions spanning the breadth of fluvial sedimentology and stratigraphy with the aim of providing a comprehensive overview of recent advances in this area by field-based, numerical and experimental methods on both channel- and overbank deposits at a range of temporal and spatial scales.

We encourage submission of interdisciplinary research on current topics such as:
• the use of new technologies for characterisation of fluvial architecture, heterogeneities and facies, and their applications to aquifers and hydrocarbon reservoirs
• unravelling preservation potential to link modern rivers to ancient successions
• quantification of ripple- to catchment-scale sediment dynamics and interactions of the fluvial system with adjacent environments

EOS02/EG3: Cultural and Political Impacts on Building Global Geoscience Human Capacity
Convener: Christopher Keane
Co-Conveners: Leila Gonzales , Sarah Gaines

This session will look at the current global state of affairs in the development of the next generation of geoscientists. In particular, the future population of geoscientists is critical to the economic and societal stability and growth of all nations into the foreseeable future. Developed nations face the immediate need to replace their current aging population of geoscientists, whereas developing nations have an immediate need to cultivate human and capital infrastructure to support the training of future geoscientists. International collaborative efforts must be made into new energy and mineral sources and enabling the appropriate stewardship of the environment. However, will the developing world be able to educate enough geoscientists to meet their own social and economic needs in building sustainable economies while protecting their natural environment into the future? Presentations that examine these themes, and particularly these topics are encouraged:
• Broad surveys of the state of the geoscience workforce across national boundaries
• The cultural and social impacts on the next generation of geoscientists
• Programs that are focused on improving capacity building in developing nations and underrepresented populations
• The transferability of geoscience credentials across political boundaries
• The mobility of geoscientists across political and organizational boundaries
• How different national strategies are addressing domestic geoscience issues and the need for expertise
• The role of the private sector in training local workforce and strategies for cooperation with the public sector.

Friday, December 3, 2010

YES Africa 2011 - Free Registration for Web-based Participants

Register today to be a web-based participant in the YES Africa 2011 Symposium.
Listen to the Opening Ceremony, Oral Presentations, and Roundtable Presentations. Take part in the virtual working group discussions as a web-based roundtable participant. Web-based participation is free!