Finding a professional society that’s ‘just right’

Thursday, April 28th, 2016 | Author:

Probably many ESPP students can relate: your research doesn’t really fit into any one discipline, therefore finding a natural fit at a professional society doesn’t come easy, yes?  In my case, my work is at the boundary between aquatic and terrestrial, applied and basic ecology, social and ecological, local and global.  Sound familiar?  While it’s been a struggle to find my home professional society, it’s also a challenge to find a society big enough such that there are likely to be people with a common interest in my lesser known research area—carbon emissions from carbonates added to agricultural soils.  I tried on the Ecological Society of America.  When that didn’t quite fit I tried on the Society for Freshwater Science.  It didn’t quite fit either.  Don’t get me wrong; both of these are excellent societies and conferences for thousands of ecologists.  Feeling a little like a brown haired Goldilocks, I’ve been hoping that the American Geophysical Union conference would feel ‘just right.’

Association of American Geographers (AAG) 2016 Annual Meeting experience by Judith Namanya (ESPP and Geography)

Thursday, April 28th, 2016 | Author:

Judith Namanya

I am very fortunate to have attended the recent concluded AAG annual conference which took place in San Francisco from March 29 – April 02, 2016. At the AAG, I met and interacted with scholars in the various fields of Geography from all over the world. This gave me a deep understanding of how the field of geography is diverse and multidisciplinary. I had an opportunity to meet distinguished researchers whose work I refer to in my writing. I had never attended such a big and interesting conference. Meeting new people has helped me expand my networks and I hope these will be crucial for me to get to another level in my career. I presented my paper, “Meanings and drivers of well-being: stories from water-scarce rural communities of Sub-Saharan Africa” and was given positive feedback. I also attended other presentation sessions and I hope to use the ideas and knowledge I acquired to improve my approach to research.
Thanks to Environmental Science and Policy Program whose contribution in funds made it possible for me to experience such an overhauling opportunity. Without your funding, I wouldn’t have attended all the days of the conference. I am very grateful for all the support I receive from ESPP, thank you so much!

The response of soil respiration to microclimate underneath crop types and land use histories by Yahn-Jauh Su

Thursday, April 21st, 2016 | Author:

I’d like to thank ESPP who funds me to attend the 100th Ecological Society of America (ESA) annual meeting in Baltimore, MA from August 9 to 14. 2015. The ESPP travel funding allows me to join the biggest ecological conference around the world and got huge number of ideas of the most advanced research in ecosystem ecology and carbon cycling. In the conference, I presented my research which is titled “The Response of Soil Respiration to Microclimate underneath different Crop Types and Land Use Histories.” The study measured soil respiration at Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center Scale-up sites in Kellogg Biological Station from 2011 to 2013 and explored how it responds to soil temperature and soil water content underneath two land use histories (Reserve Conservation Program Bromegrass grassland and conventional corn-soybean rotation farms) and three crop types (continuous corn, switchgrass and prairie mixture). I discussed with many ecologists and got many comments and appreciations in the poster section. I also communicated with some researchers who endeavor to relative research fields and the talking stimulated me think more about my future research.

Grad Student’s Quick Guide to Gargantuan Conferences

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016 | Author:

Erin Haacker, ESPP and Geological Sciences doctoral student. AGU offered free professional headshots at their 2015 Fall Meeting.

There is an art to attending a conference. Sure, you can just show up and bounce around, Brownian-motion-style, but I’m here to tell you that there is a better way.

I recently attended (Thanks, ESPP!!!) the American Geophysical Union – AGU – Fall Meeting, the largest geosciences meeting in the world, with my husband, our six-month-old daughter, and about 23,000 of our closest friends and colleagues. My poster was one of 15,000+ presented at the conference in California. I love to spot other geoscientists while traveling to the meeting; with so many people, there are poster tubes on every flight. As we get close to the conference center in San Francisco, we begin to herd together, outnumbering the uninitiated. This is how it feels to be a migrating caribou.

Modern Challenges to Agricultural Water Management by Sam Smidt

Tuesday, December 01st, 2015 | Author:

Thanks to the support of ESPP, I was able to share my research at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting in Baltimore, MD. The GSA Annual Meeting is a global conference focused on advancing geoscience research linked to the earth, society, education, and the profession. This year, over 7,000 attendees gathered to discuss the most recent geoscience ideas.


At the meeting, I presented the work completed by a team of researchers in the MSU Hydrogeology Lab. My presentation entitled, “Modern Challenges to Agricultural Water Management: Physical, Agricultural, and Socioeconomic Implications on the High Plains Aquifer”, focused on the future of effective water management strategies given the lessons learned from agriculture on the High Plains. This presentation was part of a sustainability technical session that included other agricultural studies from around the world.


Presenting at the largest algal conference in the world! by Jakob Nalley

Tuesday, December 01st, 2015 | Author:

I had the pleasure to be selected as a speaker at the 2015 Algal Biomass Summit held in Washington DC from September 30th to October 2nd. In addition to the ESPP Doctoral Travel Fellowship, I also was honored with receiving the Mary Rosenthal Memorial Student Travel Grant. Attending this conference has been the most influential experience I have had as a graduate student. The conference was bustling with academics, industry members and government representatives all energized about the many applications algae can have to help move society forward. This energy was invigorating and I left the conference recharged and determined to make a difference with my research. The networking at this conference exposed me to individuals and companies that I would never have had a chance to interact with elsewhere. I met industry leaders, top scientists in the field, and even managed to make a few postdoctoral connections. I presented both an oral talk and a poster. Some of the work I presented was from research I conducted this past summer at the Kellogg Biological Station with an REU and URA student. My talk focused on how fluctuating temperatures can directly influence the growth and productivity of algal biofuel generation in outdoor ponds. My poster focused on a new venture with Bell’s Brewery (Comstock, MI) where we are attempting to tap into the remediation power of algae to clean up brewery wastewater while producing biomass for biofuel production. The conference was a monumental experience and offered the opportunity to begin laying the foundation for my future career. I cannot thank ESPP enough for their continued support in enabling graduate students to attend conferences and have such amazing experiences.

International Association for Great Lakes Research Annual Conference by Guoting Kang

Monday, November 30th, 2015 | Author:

Thank you very much ESPP for funding me to attend the IAGLR’s (International Association for Great Lakes Research) Annual Conference at Burlington, Vermont, 2015.
The IAGLR’s Annual Conference is held by the IAGLR, which is a scientific organization of researchers focusing on the Laurentian Great Lakes, other large lakes of the world, and their watersheds, as well as those with an interest in such research. The members of this conference encompass all scientific disciplines with a common interest in the management of large lake ecosystems on many levels. With scholars from various backgrounds, this year’s theme of the conference covers topics from earth science, data management and modeling, nutrients, contaminants, novel and advancing technologies, food webs and ecosystems, innovative approaches to science to education and outreach.
In the conference, I presented my research as first author on detecting and quantifying upwelling events in the Great Lakes using satellite sea surface temperature (SST) data. Costal upwelling events play an important role in ocean and large lake ecosystems, since they transport the cooler and usually nutrient-rich water to the surface layer boosting phytoplankton growth and thus fishery production. However, depending on different locations, an in situ instrument might not capture an upwelling event because the limited spatial area it covers is usually not large enough to produce the temperature profile needed for upwelling analysis. High spatial resolution remote sensing thermal infrared data provide the opportunity to capture the large-scale water surface temperature change. In this study, daily cloud-free surface water temperature (GLSEA) charts derived from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) surface water temperature data are used to monitor upwelling events’ spatial variability and horizontal distribution.
I was excited that the scientists from a wide variety of disciplines were interested in my work. They asked many inspiring questions and offered invaluable comments and ideas which were helpful for transforming this research into an academic paper. Also, I was able to communicate with scholars who share similar interests in Great Lakes studies. This conference provided me an opportunity to have a better understanding of my discipline and my study topic as well. It was a very successful conference experience.
Thanks ESPP again for the support which made this trip possible.ESPP_post_Guoting

Synchronicity: An Ideal for Interspecies Compositionist Ethics

Friday, November 13th, 2015 | Author:

By Zach Piso

With the support of ESPP, I was able to attend the 2015 annual meeting of the International Association for Environmental Philosophy in Atlanta, GA. The interdisciplinary conference brings together excellent researchers from environmental philosophy as well as environmental and social sciences. The IAEP community is very supportive of junior scholars and I’ve benefitted from feedback from peers and more senior scholars at a number of their conferences (twice with the support of IAEP, for which I am very grateful).


Updates from the American Fisheries Society Conference by Joe Nohner

Friday, November 06th, 2015 | Author:

Earlier this semester, I was fortunate to attend the American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon. The conference brought together almost 3,000 attendees from across the world to discuss issues relating to fisheries research and management.


Joe Nohner

At the conference, I shared results from research conducted here in Michigan in my presentation, “Effects of Macrophytes on Growth of Age-0 Largemouth Bass in Experimental Enclosures”. The talk was well attended, and I received strong interest in and questions from my peers.

I also had the chance to attend presentations on related research. The knowledge I gleaned from other researchers will help me to improve my dissertation research and ultimately the publications that will arise from my work.

System Dynamics Symposium by Timothy Silberg

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015 | Author:

I cannot thank ESPP enough for supporting my trip to the 3rd Annual System Dynamics Symposium in Sao Paulo, Brazil!


The symposium is one of the few opportunities systems modelers from around the world have the opportunity to present and collaborate on their current research. The symposium included research ranging from solar energy trends, nature park preservation and fresh water consumption rates. The system dynamics society is comprised of thousands of members in numerous professions internationally.

Together, my colleagues and I organized a paper entitled “Integrating Econometric and System Dynamics modeling to assess adoption of hybrid maize varieties in Gujarat, India”. The System Dynamics Brazilian Chapter accepted the paper and I was invited on behalf of the group to present the research as a plenary presentation. Based on an analysis of 2013 household data in Gujarat, I discussed how logistic regressions analysis could be combined with agent-based modeling to elucidate how diffusion of stress tolerant maize may occur over time.