Growing up in a town with two small liberal arts colleges, my exposure to science and my passion for research began at an early age. As a consequence of these early opportunities and the inspiration they provided, when I arrived at Macalester College in 2007, I knew exactly what I wanted to study. I made a beeline for the Geology Department where my first-year seminar on “History and Evolution of the Earth” focused my enthusiasm through an historical lens and introduced me to the tools of paleoclimatology.
While Macalester has a strong geoscience program it is a small liberal arts school and I felt that it was important to fully explore my interests in paleoclimatology and paleoceanography before entering graduate school. Through the NSF's Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program I found a diverse array of research opportunities available to students like me, and each summer of my undergraduate education I pursued a different area of earth science research.
Research experiences of all kinds have defined my growth since I was very young and I strongly believe that these kinds of hands on opportunities are essential in encouraging young scientists and also the public to understand and respect the knowledge that comes from our work. The need for participation by these groups has motivated my volunteer work at the annual Lamont Open House and at “Girl’s Science Day” through Women in Science at Columbia. My own research projects have strengthened my belief that internships are an important part of a scientist’s development and I’m proud to have already contributed to the future of the field by mentoring a half-dozen undergraduates. I hope that the experiences of those who have joined me in the field, the lab and the classroom, and my own research continue to enrich our collective understanding and appreciation of Earth’s climate system.