The CREATE program just held its 3rd annual Summer School in Arctic Atmospheric Science this July (15th-19th) – and it was an amazing experience. I will be attending Western University this fall as a Master’s student in Astronomy/Planetary Science and will be conducting research related to the arctic atmosphere. However, I received my B.Sc. degree in Physics and Astronomy and have no background in atmospheric or arctic sciences! The week-long summer school was a fantastic way for me to learn about everyone else’s research and get ideas for my own project. Guest speakers from many different universities and backgrounds gave lectures every day covering topics such as climate change, LIDAR theory and application, atmospheric composition in the arctic, and Inuit culture and history. Thankfully the talks were general enough that I could understand most of them!
The lectures were also a great help when it came time for the Poster Session. This is one of the main events of the summer school, where attending students present their own research. Not only was it a great opportunity to help students prepare for future conferences, but I found the session extremely helpful for looking for a research topic.
While the lectures provided the necessary background for most subjects and had me initially intrigued, there was no substitute for talking to people one-on-one about their research and learning what made them excited about it. I’m still not sure exactly what I want to research, but I do know that I’m intrigued by water formation and detection in various layers of the atmosphere. I’m sure I’ll figure things out this next semester as I learn more.
By far the best part of the week was getting to know the entire CREATE Arctic Science group. I have to admit I was a bit nervous on the first day since I barely knew anyone there, but everyone was welcoming and friendly. When we weren’t in lectures, Poster Sessions, or discussions, we were socializing. The pool was by far the favorite meeting place in between lectures, but I also had loads of fun making smores at the campfire and playing soccer. Oh, and I learned one more important thing that week – I am AWFUL at playing Horseshoes (apparently getting the shoe stuck in a tree doesn’t get you any points)!
– Shannon Hicks
Incoming M.Sc. student, Western University