December 5, 2017
by Emma Kahle
This November nine UW graduate students traveled east to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts for the 11th annual Graduate Climate Conference We represented five different UW departments (ESS, ATMS, BIO, CEE, SMEA) and presented talks and posters on a range of topics from a commercial fisherman App that records climate data to using weather forecasting techniques to reconstruct past changes on the Greenland ice sheet. The conference as a whole hosted students from across the country and world with students from as far as Russia and Bangladesh, and presentations covered wide ground between climate dynamics, climate change psychology, and climate mitigation policy. Since the first GCC in 2006, the conference has grown in institutional and departmental diversity, while maintaining its ability to address the finer details of different topics.
We spent three days in the beautiful coastal setting just south of Cape Cod listening to and learning from our peers in the unique graduate-student-only environment. This conference is organized by graduate students for graduate students, which lifts any of the (sometimes subconscious) pressure of having to present to and interact with faculty members. The keynote speaker is the one exception to this tradition, and this year we heard from Quinton Zondervan an entrepreneur and climate activist who was just elected to the Cambridge City Council. He applauded our efforts as climate scientists and encouraged us to consider the communication and advocacy sides of climate work as well throughout our careers.
In total, my experience at the 2017 GCC was a productive and memorable one. I connected with a graduate student who studies ocean sediment cores and we are now discussing how my Antarctic ice core data set relates to his results. In my opinion, these connections are the main purpose of the GCC and what it has to offer beyond the scope of any other climate conference. The UW contingency will meet to discuss preliminary plans for the 2018 GCC (Dec 5th at 3:30pm in ATG 310). Mark your calendars for next fall and get ready for another fantastic graduate student climate experience!
Emma Kahle is a graduate student in the Earth and Space Science Department studying paleoclimate through ice core records from Greenland and Antarctica. She is a member of the PCC Graduate Student Steering Committee, and she coordinates K-12 Earth Science outreach in the greater Seattle area.