It’s that time again friends. We are bringing you another installment in the Amazing Besties National Park Road Trip series. This was one of the most epic friend adventures either of us have ever had, so if you like best friend hijinks these posts are for you. If you’re into pretty photos of natural wonders, you have come to the right place! 10 states. 9 National Parks and 1 National Monument. One summer of fun!
Want to catch up? Check out the rest of the series here.
After weeks of driving north across the height of the US we reached Glacier National Park and began our voyage west across Washington. We made a pitstop for a waterfall and visited some childhood friends of Meridith’s. After three weeks of camping and camp food, sleeping indoors was a delight. We had pizza in Spokane that makes our mouths water to this day.
Reaching the Olympic Peninsula also meant taking our first ferry ride. We hopped on the ferry as the sun was setting over Seattle and arrived at the gates of Olympic National Park in the wee hours. Here is actual footage of Rachel getting ready to sleep in a nest of our clothes in the back of Meridith’s car.
Five years into a statistics program and I’m still shocked at my decision to go down this path. Switching fields going into my PhD was daunting and I’ve spoken before about how was convinced to turn Full Stats Stud during my visit to the programs recruitment day. Since then I’ve helped out with each batch of prospective students as they too are welcomed to Happy Valley and introduced to what earning a PhD in Statistics here could mean for them. I want to share these experiences and a little bit of what’s going on behind the curtain for our readers. If you are be going through a similar process, here’s one look at what a recruitment day looks like and what to expect. We’d also love to hear from others about their experiences as this process varies GREATLY between departments and universities!
In PSU Statistics, we invite domestic students that already have offers to our PhD program to come to campus for a day of information and fun. These students already have been accepted and we hope to convince them that they’ll find a great environment for spending the next 4-6+ years. Not all recruitment events happen after offers go out, and that could make for a more stressful visit. Even visiting a department you do have an offer for can be extremely intimidating. I know I am STILL intimidated sometimes! But one of the most important tips I have is to remember that you have worked hard and earned a spot! They should be working hard to impress you and be showcasing what their program has to offer.
As Abstract Season is underway (I have so many conferences I’m considering this year!) I thought it’d be a smart idea to finish up recapping some of my 2018 experiences. As part of my flurry of travel last semester I spent November 8 – 9 attending the Explore Neon Workshop at NEON’s headquarters in Boulder, Colorado. Looking back, I’m still shocked that so much information and guidance was conveyed in just two days! Myself and several other graduate students traveled to NEON, learned how to access and work with NEON data, and interacted with NEON science staff. I really enjoyed working with data alongside a group of ecologists/botanists/biologists/etc (no shade, statisticians, but ecologists will nerd out with me about nature AND data).
What is NEON?
The National Science Foundation’s National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) is a continental-scale ecological observation facility that collects and provides open data from field sites across the US. This project has been in the development and planning stages for several years and is now shifting into the beginning of its 30+ years of monitoring producing consistent, comparable, high-quality data. The ultimate goal is to collect data that can characterize and quantify how ecosystems across the 20 ecoclimatic domains are changing.