Madison Shankle – EGU General Assembly, May 2022
Thanks to the generous funding of the Geochemistry Group’s Student Travel Bursary, I was able to attend the first international, in-person conference of my PhD – the 2022 General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union. After two years of COVID, I was beginning to fear my entire PhD would be conducted in virtual meetings and over video calls, so when I stepped on the plane to travel to the conference in Vienna, I felt especially grateful that I would finally be able to share my work in-person.
I gave my talk a session titled “The Southern Ocean in a changing climate: open-ocean physical and biogeochemical processes”. This session was perfectly suited to my diverse range of interests while still staying focused on my study area of the Southern Ocean. I saw talks discussing physical oceanography and circulation of the Southern Ocean as well as talks about biogeochemistry and such topics as carbon and heat transfer. I was very happy to be included as one of three palaeoceanography talks, and I presented geochemical data recording physical and biogeochemical changes undergone by the Southern Ocean over the Last Glacial Period, implicating both the physical and biological carbon pumps in the drawdown of atmospheric CO2.
Giving my first talk at a large conference like EGU was a major milestone of my PhD all on its own, but there were several other highlights of my time at EGU as well. I reconnected with friends and colleagues from my Master’s program, who in turn connected with me an alumna of my Master’s university who I plan on reaching out to (networking is so much easier in-person than on Zoom!), and I also enjoyed attending the Ocean Science Division’s Outstanding Early Career Scientist Award Lecture and connecting with the speaker later over our similar research interests. Such connections as these are enormously more organic and more fruitful at an in-person conference than a virtual one, and for this I am especially grateful for the Geochemistry Group’s travel bursary. For my first conference out of COVID, it went exceptionally well!