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Catawba College Students Attend AGU100 Fall Meeting in Washington, D.C.

January 17, 2019

Category: Academics, Environmental Science, Events, Students

L-R: Davis, Pierce, and Ly at the Udar-Hazy Center.

During finals week of fall semester, Catawba College Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, Dr. Tyler W. Davis, and Catawba College students, Michael Pierce of Kannapolis, and Kory Ly of Salisbury, left campus just ahead of the big snow storm to attend the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting, which was held in Washington, D.C. December 10-14.

On their way, the group visited the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center to take in a number of history's most prestigious aircrafts. Some highlights from the thousands of items on display included seeing the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird (the world's fastest jet-propelled aircraft), a Concorde (a supersonic luxury passenger airliner no longer in operation), and the Space Shuttle Discovery (famous for carrying the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit).

The AGU Fall Meeting 2019 Poster Hall 

The Catawba students joined over 20,000 attendees in the world's largest gathering of earth and space scientists. AGU, established in 1919, is a non-profit organization grounded in such values as integrity, equality, diversity, and cooperation among the global community of academics, governments, industries and all other venues who share an interest in understanding the earth, planets and their space environment, or those who seek to apply this knowledge to solving problems that face society.

Pierce presents his independent study work at the AGU Fall Meeting Pop-Up Talk.


Both Michael and Kory submitted abstracts that were accepted for Pop-Up Talks — a special session for students and early career scientists to share how their research impacts society, what their vision is for the future of geophysics, or their experiences as a student. Kory submitted an abstract to the session titled "The Role of a Scientist in the 21st Century: Big Ideas for the Next 100 Years and How to Get There." Kory's abstract concerned how we might harness the energy from the Aurora Borealis. Michael submitted an abstract to the session titled "Frontiers in Hydrology: Paths Toward the Next Century in Water Research" based on his independent study on water and carbon cycle modelling with Dr. Davis.

Pierce and Ly sit beneath the mosaic tiled Trinity Dome inside the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

One of the most impactful experiences for Michael and Kory was venturing into AGU's exhibit hall, a location where people can network with one another and have the chance to see established names and companies (e.g., NASA, USGS, Google, and ESRI) along with all the latest technology, sensors, and science equipment. Here, the two interacted with several geoscience graduate programs (such as Arizona State University) to learn about opportunities and begin a dialog about their lives after Catawba.

Even with a full schedule attending session talks and events, Michael, Kory, and Dr. Davis had the opportunity to see some sights around our nation's capital. This included a visit to the Natural History Museum and National Christmas Tree at the White House. They also toured the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, which is the largest Catholic church in North America. The basilica contains 78,545 square feet of mosaics and houses the largest collection of contemporary ecclesiastical art in the world.

When asked if they would consider returning to AGU in the future, Kory responded, "I would definitely attend AGU again to not only present future research, but also network with fellow peers that've come from all around the world. The experience I've gained is vast and has served to reinforce my hard-working mentality and drive to succeed."

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