Jahnavi Shah

M.Sc. Candidate, Geophysics & Planetary Science

Women in Space Conference 2019: A Summary

Hi all!

This is going to be a quick entry. I’m just trying to get caught up on a few things I missed last week while away at a conference. 

Research update:

I am gathering up my last set of crater data which should be processed and ready to go very shortly. I tried my best to get a wide range of samples (different locations, sizes, and ages). I am aiming to have the mini crowdsourcing campaign sent out to the Neish Lab by February 22. One thing I’ve learned is that I need to set deadlines (at least rough weekly/bi-weekly deadlines), it helps me manage my time better. I really wanted to have the crowdsourcing trial sent out by early February, but I realized that I didn’t have a diverse sample so that set me back a little bit. 

In other news:

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the 2nd Women in Space Conference held in Arizona. I used this as a chance to learn new things and talk to new people, and I really enjoyed my time there. Below is a fun group photo we took on the last day. 

The conference had attendees and presenters of different academic backgrounds (from academia and industry) including astronomy, physics, geology, planetary science, engineering, space policy, and educators. I learned a lot from all the sessions. Particularly, there were two talks (from the science and engineering sessions) that I would like to learn more about: 1) the Europa Clipper mission and 2) scientific analog studies. I am very much interested in doing analog field work and would like to seek out opportunities of field work to gain some experience. Another session I really enjoyed was about planetary cards as a way of learning about water in the solar system. I think these cards would be a fun way to teach people (especially children). In fact, I think I would find these cards useful too!

What I really like about this conference is that in addition to the academic talks, there was also a chance to engage in discussions about topics such as harrassment and LGBTQ issues in STEM, and work-life balance. It was very informative to learn about ways to overcome these challenges and how to seek out resourses/support systems. It was also motivating to hear about the programs people are working on to improve the system. 

Lastly, I wanted to share two photos that I was really fascinated by. First is the cactus, which I’ve never seen in these sizes. Also, these were everywhere, pretty much every yard and it was really neat. The second is a photo of Barringer Crater (aka Meteor Crater) which I took from the plane on our way home. I was super excited when I saw it and I can’t wait to visit it in person in the future. 

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