Here at UNIS, bioCEED’s first bioBREAKFAST of the semester was a big success. We held the event on the 1st of October, which landed on a Tuesday morning at 08:15 am. We provided the students with fresh, warm cinnamon buns prepared by the kantine along with fruit, hot coffee and tea.
Annie Colgan and I, this semester’s bioCEED student representatives, had no problem finding volunteers from various PhD departments who were excited to come to speak a little about what they are researching and how they got to be where they are in their academia.
Our first speaker was Maja Hatlebakk who is a PhD student within the Arctic Biology department studying Arctic Marine Biology. Maja presented on “Fantastic Plankton”, explaining the importance of phytoplankton and zooplankton in the role of food webs as well as indicators of climate change. Maja recommended that students who want to pursue either a Masters and/or a PhD to find a topic they are passionate about and to learn the program R.
Our second speaker was Erkka Heino who is PhD student within the Arctic Geophysics department studying Middle Atmospheric Physics. Erkka was excited to present on his thesis as he has just finished and is planning to submit his paper and findings within the month. A very simplified summary of his studies involves protons and electrons entering the atmosphere, along with ionization involving chemistry (Sorry for low details… I’m a biologist…hehe). Errka’s advice for students included that it’s okay to not be sure at first if you are ready for a Master’s or PhD program, the right timing and opportunities will present themselves. He told us there are many things to consider and to look for programs that you find truly interesting and it’s a bonus when they are funded.
The overall environment of the seminar was relaxed and comfortable for the students. It gave the opportunity for community among a diverse group of students from various studies and academic level. At the end of each of the presentation their was time for questions which provoked intelligent conversion allowing a direct chance for students to discuss what they had just learned. Students felt comfortable speaking with the presenters and the presenters were receptive and insightful when answering. For me personally I found it very interesting to listen to the questions student’s asked Erkka because it allowed me to receive insight into the geophysical realm of study which I knew little about.
It was so cool to hear about what modern research students are studying and about their passions.
BioBREAKFAST is such a great way to encourage fellowship among students in a comfortable academic environment. Annie and I were very pleased with the head count of 45 students, with representatives from every area of study (Arctic Biology, Arctic Geology, and Arctic Geophysics) and every level of course work (Bachelor, Masters, and PhD). We are very happy with the turn out of our first bioBREAKFAST and are excited for the next!
– Julia Troxell
2019 Fall Semester bioCEED Student Representative