Lots to celebrate in Spring 2024!

We are already kicking off Summer in Texas, given our very early Spring semester. The last few months have been a whirlwind, with lots of joyful and proud moments, and thankfully some pictures to commemorate. Forgive my clumsy photo-placement on this post — doing my best!

In February, Arefe, Po-Chen, and I had a great trip to New Orleans for the Ocean Sciences Meeting!  All three of us presented posters and had a fabulous time catching up with old friends, and making many new acquaintances. As an advisor, it is incredibly rewarding to watch my students flourishing and making their own connections and paths, for when they one day graduate and tackle the next steps. Thankfully we were able to escape the conference for a few delicious meals and beautiful walks through the city. And I got to reconnect with one of my dearest friends from when I spent a year at IH Cantabria in the midst of my Ph.D. It is a wonderfully small world sometimes, and I am lucky to have kind colleague-friends around the world.

When I returned from the conference, two of our newest grad students, Biman and Hiromu, were presenting posters at our CAEE Graduate Symposium, showing off their plume and ice melting research!

Also in February, it was announced that my SERDP proposals on munitions burial/exposure were successful, although we’re still anxiously awaiting the final notice, with fingers tightly crossed. My new solo-PI project will let me test something I’ve been planning since my grad school days in 2014, so I am extremely excited to get this kicked off. My collaborative project will take me (and a graduate student) back to NRL Stennis for more experiments in the oscillatory wave tunnel, as we dig into the finer details of scour burial and UXO mobility.

Fast-forwarding a bit to Graduation, I was thrilled that Aubrey came back to celebrate. I finally got to hood her (my favorite part of the PhD graduation ceremonies), after she graduated last August!! Aubrey has been traveling the world and living life, as any grad should after grinding away to get so much excellent work completed. She was recently hired into her first position, and thankfully will get to stick around living in Austin while working remotely for NOAA – congrats, Aubrey!  Arefe was also able to walk in the ceremony, even though her defense is still 2 months away, so it was sweet to get to celebrate the JETlab’s first 2 PhD’s together.

My tenure/promotion process is still on in full force, with intermittent deadlines and document submissions every few months. So far, it has been rewarding to think back of what we have accomplished over the last 6 years, and really fun to write about it in one cohesive research statement. We started with plain concrete floors and no walls, water, or electricity, and with the old outdoor flume pumps literally catching on fire due to decades of neglect,  and now have a vibrant lab, and the perfect mix of expert senior grad students, eager and curious “new” grad students, undergrads jumping between projects, and me somehow keeping it all funded and running (with my awesome team of students – the highlight of my job, by a million). We presently have 4 papers in review and more being prepped for submission – the fun never ends!

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