By Jeffrey Kwang:
On Thursday, Team Stream had a pizza lunch meeting to share our research with Professor Efi Foufoula-Georgiou, the Director of the National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics. Personally, I have read a few papers that she had co-authored and used a program her research group was responsible for, GeoNet. Arguably, she is the top environmental modeler in the world. Honestly, I have only been introduced to mathematical modeling in the past few years of my life; I felt very intimidated. I was also excited for the Mac n’ Cheese pizza from Mesa Pizza, but I digress. When she entered our small, cramped meeting room, we introduced ourselves. We all came from different backgrounds and she was interested in all of us and objectively asked meaningful questions. During my introduction, I mentioned that I had read a paper she coauthored. I was pleased that one of the first things she mentioned was that the research took a whole year to develop. Also, her explanation was very easy to understand, and at any time I could ask a question. Even if the questions were simple, I felt very comfortable asking them. Some professors can be intimidating and sometimes scary. Professor Foufoula not only answered questions, but welcomed them. According to Diana, you just have to get in line, she’s a very busy person and many people want to ask her their own questions. Professor Foufoula told us that she is willing to offer all of her time to help younger people in the field of science. I think from the hour and a half she met with us, that her advice really helped us realize what this summer program was all about.
After eating more pizza than I should have, we all introduced our research projects. She was very impressed and offered great advice. We have really been caught up in each of our research projects and lost perspective on the actual amount of work we’ve achieved during the summer. She reinforced that we have all completed great work. We also emphasized what future studies we would work on if we had extra time to work to prove that we were all thinking about our projects at a larger scale. She told us that it is great to feel like there is much more work to complete. After leaving the meeting, I felt that I have accomplished many things during this summer, and I feel ready to pursue graduate studies after I graduate next year.