Recent Honors alumnus Anton Hengst ’20 and Honors sophomore Lily Vowels both presented their research at the Fall 2020 American Geophysical Union (AGU) meetings held virtually December 1-17, 2020. This is the premier international earth science conference with 27,942 attendees at the December 2019 meetings. Hengst and Vowels are Chancellor’s Scholars with majors in geology and concentrations in quantitative geoscience. They also both separately worked with Dr. William Armstrong, assistant professor in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, as the mentor for their research projects presented at the conference. Vowels shared,
“My research professor, Dr. Armstrong was great at guiding me through the whole conference process, as well as helping me with my poster when the time came.”
For Hengst, the research he presented at the AGU meetings titled, Sub-Annual to Annual Dynamics of Alaskan Ice-Marginal Lakes from Automated Image Classification Using Google Earth Engine, was a product of one of his two Honors theses. For his geoscience thesis research, Hengst worked with Dr. Armstrong as his thesis director and Dr. Song Shu, assistant professor in the Department of Geography and Planning, as his second reader. His research was highlighted here in a December 13, 2018 piece, “AGU Poster Hall-Cryosphere Perspective" in the AGU blog, From a Glacier’s Perspective.
In completing two Honors theses, Hengst met twice this pinnacle requirement for graduation with University Honors—a rare and noteworthy accomplishment! For his second thesis titled, Numerical Modeling of Incomplete Combustion in a Liquid Chemical Rocket Engine, Hengst worked with Dr. Holly Hirst, professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences, as his mentor, and Dr. Jefferson Bates, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Fermentation Sciences as his second reader. Hengst defended his Honors thesis in mathematical sciences on Thursday, November 19, 2020.
Above image features Hengst’s AGU December 2020 virtual research presentation. Below image features Vowel’s AGU December 2020 virtual research presentation titled Decadal Changes in Fluvial Suspended Sediment Concentrations in Glacierized Systems from Large Scale Remote Sensing.
About her participation in the conference, Vowels related,
“This was my first AGU conference, and it was very different from anything I expected. Because of the pandemic, it was entirely online, which presented some challenges. Despite this, I am still really glad I participated. I gained invaluable experience in creating a poster as well as the abstract process; my abstract was due way back in July. I really enjoyed seeing all the work I did over the summer and this semester come together."
Hengst reflected on his experience with these virtual meetings in comparison to previous in-person conferences. He stated,
“It was a challenge to approach it like previous, in-person AGUs. Participation was much, much lower and the environment of mutual give-and-take regarding ‘hey, here's what I've been working on, and here's how I can see your research intersecting/informing/affecting mine’ was largely absent unlike previous years. However, it was a nice cap on my research for the year and the work of putting together figures helped me start thinking about the direction I can best go regarding my visual presentation of these data and results in further publications.”
Vowels further related, “I am excited for next year when I will hopefully get to take the skills and experience I gained from this AGU to a live, in-person conference.” Details will be available soon here for the Fall 2021 AGU meetings scheduled for December 13-17 in New Orleans, Louisiana.