Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Settling in: An update from Knauss fellow Janet Hsiao

Squid dissection at NOAA Kids Day! 
It's hard to believe we’re a quarter of the way through the Knauss Fellowship! Since February, I've experienced a government shutdown, snow day, and wind day — the past three months have been eventful to say the least. Now that I’m more settled in DC, I'd like to share snippets of what I've been up to with the faithful Michigan Sea Grant blog readers.
Knauss fellows volunteered as judges at the 2018 Rock Ridge High School Science Symposium.
Being a part of NOAA's Ocean Observing and Monitoring Division (OOMD) has been a fascinating introduction to physical oceanography. OOMD maintains 50 percent of the global ocean observing system, which includes various technologies (e.g., Argo floats, surface drifters, buoys) that measure temperature, surface currents, salinity, and other essential variables that characterize the ocean. The data feed into models for weather, climate, ocean, and marine forecasts. The long-term records also help us understand how the ocean modulates climate patterns.
Sensors such as buoys, offshore platforms, and ship-based weather stations contribute to the Global Ocean Observing System. Image: JCOMMOPS
Under the guidance of Dr. David Legler, my main responsibility is to facilitate the Tropical Pacific Observing System (TPOS 2020) Working Group within NOAA. This working group aims to improve sustained observations of the tropical Pacific to better understand the El NiƱo-Southern Oscillation. It has been eye-opening to witness different groups (e.g., oceanographers, modelers, program managers) come together to work towards a shared vision. I was empowered by the opportunity to practice prompting collaborative meetings, despite not being a content expert. Knowing who to talk to when is half the battle, as well as setting clear meeting objectives and operationally minimizing technical difficulties. 

Through supporting OOMD communication efforts to multiple audiences, I also gain insights on aspects of how the federal government operates. I help draft messages to our partners and leadership through different stages of the federal budget process. I follow NOAA vessel Ronald H. Brown's journey around the world, and contribute to the blog that chronicles its quest to gather ocean data. There are also opportunities to participate in many public outreach events, such as NOAA Open House and the USA Science and Engineering Festival. I am incredibly honored to work alongside knowledgeable and passionate colleagues, and look forward to what the rest of the year holds. Stay tuned for more updates!
NOAA Science on a Sphere at the 2018 USA Science and Engineering Festival.
Knauss fellows hang out at the Ocean Conservancy's screening of Planet Earth: Blue Planet II.

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