Marine seismic studies like ours are routinely done in the oceans using scientific equipment and research vessels outfitted specially for these purposes. Collecting comparable data in a great lake in Africa requires creative repurposing of available vessels and adaption of scientific equipment.
“I was a little nervous coming into the MSSM program, as my educational and professional background seemed atypical,” says student Laura Tajima. “However, I found that there is no ‘typical’ background. I’ve collaborated with people from finance and architecture; those who have worked in the oil industry and fashion industry; people from all over the world and those who grew up in the city.”
For Carolina Rosero, the MPA in Environmental Science and Policy program will provide the tools she needs to bridge the gap between scientists and decision-makers. She hopes to combine the skills she gained through her job in Ecuador’s Ministry of Environment with her coursework at Columbia to make an impact in developing nations.
Journalist Cheryl Philips described using publicly accessible records of infrastructure assessments done by the Department of Transportation in Washington State to map the most vulnerable bridges and to tell the story behind a bridge that collapsed, killing several people. John Bohannon of Science Magazine used iPython coding to send a fake journal article to close to 200 open access journals in a sting operation to uncover the lack of peer review of a clearly flawed article.
I grew up outside of Chicago and I wasn’t a Boy Scout, so sometimes I feel like I missed out on learning the type of practical—albeit rarely used—skills that would have garnered merit badges. Now that I’m nearing the conclusion of my fourth research expedition at sea, I think I have amassed a few badge-worthy tricks.
We finished our time in the Sundarbans with a silent boat ride in a tidal creek. The highlight was sets of fresh tiger footprints. We then had a long sail back to Dhaka with only one stop at a village. We then had a whirlwind tour of Old Dhaka with enough shopping to send the students back happy.