Late last month, I made a trip to California to visit NSF-funded researchers and facilities in San Francisco and San Diego. It was a wonderful opportunity to talk with students, faculty and administrators about their work and why it matters. The week started at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco, where I gave the Union Agency Lecture. NSF accounts for nearly two-thirds of the total federal funding for basic geoscience research conducted at U.S. academic institutions – we support more than 17,000 researchers plus thousands of students each year.  

After AGU, I visited UCSF, where I had the chance to talk about one of the biggest issues on my mind: how NSF can best support graduate students. We want to make sure our students receive the training they want and need, and it was great to hear from actual graduate students about their own experiences. I was also interviewed by with UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood for the school’s Leadership Speaker Series, a professional development event for the school’s faculty and staff. You can read more about my visit to the campus here.

The rest of the week was spent at UC, San Diego, talking with faculty about diversity, research centers, innovation, and more. I visited Comet, a petascale supercomputer at the San Diego Supercomputing Center, and had a behind-the-scenes tour of the Birch Aquarium, run by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. I learned about NSF-funded projects like SOCCOM and ArcticMix, which work to expand our knowledge of the Arctic and Antarctic oceans and their influence on global climate.

A busy week, but also a reminder of the pioneering research supported by NSF!

Photo captions (top to bottom):

Roger Wakimoto, head of NSF’s Geosciences Directorate, and I at NSF’s booth at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco; giving the Union Agency Lecture at AGU; Speaking with UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood for the school’s Leadership Speaker Series; Standing in front of Comet with scientists of the San Diego Supercomputer Center; some of the critters I met (krill, in this case) during my visit to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography; Scripps graduate students demonstrate ocean mixing, which they study as part of the NSF-funded ArcticMix project; The ArcticMix team, including one of the lead scientists, Jen MacKinnon.

Photo credits: Jessica Arriens, NSF