Written by Julia Jeanty, University of Florida undergraduate student.

Hello! My name is Julia Jeanty and I am a 4th year Environmental Geosciences and Sustainability Studies major at the University of Florida. It was my great fortune to have attended the National Association for Black Geoscientists 36th Annual Technical Conference in Atlanta, Georgia this month to present our NSF REU research. This conference was an incredible opportunity in which I was able to meet and network with many high-ranking professionals in my field, as well as fellow students who are just as devoted to the Geosciences as I am.

Post-presentation celebratory photo with Julia and Dr. Visaggi

The conference began with a student workshop held by Exxon Mobile executives, followed by dinner and an introduction to the conference. Here I was able to gain a brief glimpse into what I could anticipate from the rest of the conference, listen to and participate in a captivating conversation about the importance of social capital in the realm of the Geosciences, and meet many new people. Although the conference kicked off with an exciting start, the activities became more and more engaging as time progressed. Seeing and hearing about the different research experiences of fellow students was refreshing and thought-provoking; it served to catalyze my love for research even more, all the while providing me with ideas for future research projects that I might like to work on. I also enjoyed presenting our summer research alongside Dr. Christy Visaggi, the Co-PI from the Citizen Science GIS REU Site. Everyone seemed to be very receptive to our work and eager to learn more about the data that we collected.

I am incredibly grateful for JoAnn Kvamme (and the University of Arkansas) for facilitating my entire conference and for securing funding for me to attend the conference at no cost to me. I am also grateful for all of the friends that I made throughout the conference and for all of the connections that I made. This experience was unique and unforgettable, and I am greatly looking forward to attending next year’s NABG Conference!

Great friendships were born at the conference.

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