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SEA Currents: Woods Hole Partnership Education Program

August 01, 2017

I think I’m in love with the USGS

Elizabeth Smith, Spelman College

SEA Semester

Elizabeth running a sample on the isotope ratio mass spectrometer.

When I was in high school I participated in the Mathematics Science Engineering Academy pipeline program hosted by Fort Valley State University. The mission of this program is to “alleviate the underrepresentation of women and minorities in the energy industry”. As a rising ninth grader I travelled with them to Reston, Virginia, headquarters of the United States Geological Survey (USGS). While there we toured their labs, listened to lectures, and completed a hands on lab. It was then that I fell in love with environmental science and the USGS.

Fast forward 7 year and guess where I am now! INTERNING WITH THE UNITED STATES GEOLOGICAL SURVEY! THAT’S WHERE! How awesome is that?! Pretty freaking awesome I’d say!

My research with the USGS is focused on dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC). DIC is the largest pool of carbon in the ocean and currently sequesters half of all anthropogenic carbon emissions. Thus, understanding this critical component to the oceanic carbon cycle is key in interpreting our effect on the ocean. My work is split between the lab and coding. Currently, I am comparing the results we have collected all summer in hopes that our hypothesis was correct (fingers crossed!).

As the summer ends, I have to say it is indeed interesting that I have returned to the USGS, this time with the help of the Partnership Education Program, a diversity initiative in the fields of environmental and ocean science. I am happy to say that I have found my niche in biogeochemistry and a home at the USGS. Once again, things have come full circle.

- Elizabeth

Categories: Woods Hole Partnership Education Program, • Topics: pep  life on shore  research • (0) Comments
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