Greetings, hola, bonjour, guten tag, ni hao, shalom, salam wa alaykum, and ellohay!
Now that Rebecca has announced that some skepchicks will be joining her blog, I had better get to work and introduce myself. I am happy to be joining this blog, and I will be writing about various scientific research as well as about life as a female grad student at MIT.
I struggle with how to answer the question “What do you do?” these days. I just started graduate school and moved to Boston a few months ago, and I am still adjusting to my new identity, in many ways. When I’m feeling boring, I just say, “I’m a grad student” or “I go to MIT,” which receives the usual, half-hearted nod. Grad students and MIT students are a dime a dozen here in Cambridge.
When I’m feeling more adventurous, I respond, “I am a VOLCANOLOGIST.” At MIT this response can sometimes backfire, such as the other day when an undergrad replied, “oh, me too.” I wasn’t expecting this answer as, quite honestly, I couldn’t picture the skinny, well-dressed young man in front of me climbing up the steep slope of a volcano. However, I politely inquired, “Which volcanoes do you study?” To which the undergrad replied, “Oh, I thought you meant VULCANologist…”
Okay, so I made that last bit up. Though, it’s not too far from the truth here at MIT. Daily, I am amazed at the nerdy stereotypes that surround me. MIT is a quirky, yet wonderful place.
Most of the time, I describe myself as a “marine geologist,” or “geochemist,” terms which are a little closer to the truth.
I do study volcanoes, though. I can’t believe that I actually get paid to collect rocks and study volcanoes, but I do. My advisor and I have a two month long research cruise this coming summer to the Ninetyeast Ridge, a 5000 km long chain of volcanic seamounts in the Indian Ocean. As summer draws nearer, I’ll be sure to fill you in on all the exciting plans for the expedition.
Okay, back to the books now! Only a week until finals…