Ocean Sciences 2016

Hey y’all, I’m back!

I discovered that, despite all the ideas for blog posts bouncing around in my head, it is much harder to write them when you’re busy writing other things.


I’ll post an update later of what I’ve been doing for the past several months, but for now I wanted to get down some thoughts about the most recent Ocean Sciences Meeting (OSM) in New Orleans.  OSM is held every other year, typically in the US in February for everything oceanography or overlapping in some way with oceanography.  This is my third time attending, having already gone to the OSM in Salt Lake City, UT, and Hawaii (!).  It’s a relatively large meeting, with about 4,000 attendees expected this year – although, it has nothing on Fall AGU, which comes in at about 25,000 attendees.

Ocean Sciences 2016 Plenary
Getting ready for the Plenary sessions

In no particular order, here are some of my reactions to this year’s meeting:

Twitter.  This was my first meeting as a semi-established twitter user.  I had fun live-tweeting some of the plenary sessions, and interacting with other scientists and attendees.  A few times I was recognized as, ‘oh, you’re that one from twitter’.  Highly entertaining!  It was a neat way to make connections with others interested in sharing their science lives and experiences.

Fiamma Straneo
AGU awardee giving an amazing talk on ocean-glacier interactions in Greenland

Got a talk!  I was super excited to get my first talk at an OSM.  Although, I was wishing for a day or two before that I had a poster, as that’s less stressful to me (at least during the meeting).  But, I totally crushed my talk!  And I included a humorous plug for hiring me as a postdoc.  We’ll see how that one pans out.

Weird scheduling.  The schedule at this meeting made no sense to me.  Almost everything I was interested in was only on the last two days.  There were a few talks I wanted to make it to but never did.  Not sure if it was just my bad luck this year, or the organizers didn’t think it through the whole way.  Hopefully the next OSM will work out better.

Too stressed.  I felt I was too stressed overall to take full advantage of this meeting.  Normally, I’m pretty good about attending lots of events and not being burnt out.  But I was mentally preparing for both my talk, and a job interview I agreed to do on one of the conference days.  I ended up feeling confused, and that I was missing important things but couldn’t figure out how to get to them.  I also needed to spend most of my evenings and lunches recovering, and wasn’t able to make the social leaps to hang out with new and old friends.  As a result, I’ve decided I’m not even going to apply for any more meetings until I defend my PhD.  It’s at the point where adding extra, potentially career-boosting, things will probably just backfire and not help me at all.

Beautiful park in uptown NOLA

Mentor program.  Lately I’ve begun to realize more and more the value of having a mentor or participating in mentoring sessions.  There were a few options for this meeting – one was a week-long affair, where you met for an hour or two every day with the same mentor to establish a relationship.  No way I had time for that.  Instead, I signed up for a 20 minute session with a mentor of my choice (chosen from a list).  I went with someone who has experience applying for and making decisions on a fellowship I am interested in applying for in a year or two.  It was very insightful, and I ended up with an excellent connection who can answer future questions I may have as well.

TOS couches.  I’m currently running for the student representative position on The Oceaongraphy Society (TOS)’s council.  I spent a good bit of time at their exhibit, talking about twitter and what they can do for student members.  And they had the most marvelous couches!  Totally made my day to be able to relax in the middle of all the craziness and stress.

Yummy NOLA food – no deep-fried touristy places for me

New Orleans.  Well.  I didn’t like it.  Hah.  It was more that my personality and NOLA’s did not really get along, especially the French Quarter vibe.  I’m too much a fan of structure, logic, tea (not alcohol), and early mornings for that style to resonate with me.  That said, the uptown area was beautiful, green, and spacious.  Although I can’t imagine being able to appreciate any of it mid-summer – it was already too hot for me on one day in February!

Want more details about the meeting?  Highlights from tweets are here, or check out #OSM16 on twitter.