My adventure in Miami
by Laurianne Gerin, on
An adventure. The risk you take to go study or work outside of your comfort zone, outside your own country, in another language.
The opportunity that the PUF program gave to me was, for me, an amazing adventure in perspective, an opportunity that wouldn't happen twice, so I grabbed it. I was crazy (or smart) enough to take this occasion to go study one semester in a sunny state of the USA, where the meaning of Miami is more like beach, sun, shopping, dancing, Cuban music and spring break vacation for most of the American students.
I was given the occasion to go study my second semester (first year graduate program, spring semester in the US) at the Rosentiel School of Marine Atmospheric Sciences (RSMAS pronounced razmas). I chose three classes from a list, which I tried to diversify: Biological and Physical Interactions (a modeling class), Biogeochemistry of the ocean and one original class that is unique to the school, a Coral Biology class.
My first surprise was the number of student in each class, three in BPI and Biogeo and twelve in Coral Biology. I was used to be part of big groups, up to twenty nine students, and there I found myself on an almost one to one basis in class! But it makes things so much easier. I feel free to talk to the teachers and they have more time to help the students. The English it not so complicated and scientific vocabulary is pretty much the same… So classes are one cool part of the adventure!
The second part of my adventure is the internship. I had the chance to get a spot in Dr. Claire Paris' laboratory and work on data that was collected in the Dean Blue Hole in the Bahamas! Too bad I wasn't there a year before. The goal is to find the clues of the orientation of fish larvae, thanks to the help of the DISC, a device which goes underwater and where a larvae is followed by a GoPro camera. Part of my work is to click on the position of the larvae for each picture that was taken during a deployment of the DISC. With an average of 600 picture per deployment and 200 deployments, I decided to call this project "Finding Nemo!" to make it more fun. Then when I'll be done with the data I will be able to work on it with R.
Daily, my life at Miami began with difficulties, the administration wasn't ready for me, papers were missing, I had to get keys and a pass to get in the buildings and I didn't had any for a week… The place where I stay is very good, the landlord is really nice and my room is much bigger than the one I used to have in Paris, for a cheaper price. Everyday it's sunny and warm, I get to take the shuttle to school for free and I get to see a beautiful view of all Miami every day. It did take me a month to get use to everything, and at beginning February two other students from the French OEM Masters degree arrived, so now I feel less crazy. Things are getting much better and life is good, so to be continued ☺ !
And let me introduce you to Jack, a juvenile lobster we caught with Andrew Kough one night, who is now growing in the lab so that we can study it.