Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Graduate School of Oceanography at URI

I drove down to Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island to visit the school on Thursday and Friday. University_of_rhode_island_11905_12005_0 Professor John King had made all the arrangements for me and put me up at the Hamilton Village Inn nearby the college for the night.  GSO was amazing.  The school is very technologically advanced.  Soon after arriving on thursday morning I went out to lunch with two of Professsor King's grad students - Brad and Chip to Twin Willows for a roast beef sandwich and some beers.  They were really great guys and told me a lot about the school.  After lunch, and some gum provided by the guys to kill the beer breath, I met with Mark Wimbush (Associate Dean) and Merideth Clark (student advisor) and I hit it off well with both.  I then met with Professor Robert Pockalny and Professor Roger Larson who told me about their research in the Endeavor deep and underwater superplumes respectively.  IUniversity_of_rhode_island_11905_12005_1 especially enjoyed learning about the Manihiki superplume off Figi because it was so big it created one of the first mass extinctions in the oceans resulting in much of the oil deposits we depend on today.  Neither Rob nor Roger had any funding to take on new students but it was wonderful talking with them.  I then met briefly with Kate Moran (she appeared in the Discovery Channel show "America's Next Tsunami") and spoke to her about her innovative and important tsunami research.  That night I ate alone at the Pagoda Inn chinese restaurant down the road (I hate eating alone), and then got a good nights rest.  On Friday I had a wonderful meeting with professor Yang Shen who could clearly see hShen_yangow determined and ambitious I am.  We really hit it off and he told me about several projects I would be a good fit for such as laying down seismic monitors in Tibet (he liked my hiking background for that project) to helping install a wide seismic array out west called USArray.  He told me about a tsunami warning system he was developing that would deploy a device from the bottom of the ocean where it is moored to the surface to transmit satellite data.  I pointed out that at a far depth it could take a while for such a device to rise through the water - a point he hadn't thought much of yet.  So I think I made a great impression on him.  I then went on a college tour with an Australian student who told me a bout a wooden boat burning ritual at the school that sounded outrageous!  I then went out to lunch with all the GSO faculty to Newport at a cool deli and had a great conversation by myself with the professors, giving them suggestions on how to coax students to going to more seminars.  I leftUniversity_of_rhode_island_11905_12005_2 after lunch and really felt like I made a good impression of myself there.  I learned that it is pretty much the Harvard of Oceanography schools so it would be really beneficial to my career to graduate from there.  Narraganssett Beach is about 4 miles down the road (picture on left) and Newport is nearby.  Providence is only 30 minutes away as well.  Lots of ocean activities to do in the area and you can easily tell by being there that it's a huge tourist area in the summer.  Keeping my fingers crossed!


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