One of NASA's Missions is "To inspire the next generation of explorers" - as only NASA can! Susan Sakimoto recently had an opportunity to do just that - by relating a real-life, career-defining moment that awakened in her a love of volcanology and propelled her into a career in the geosciences.
On March 30, 2004 Sakimoto addressed undergraduate students attending Geo Forum: Grand Experiences and Opportunities in the Geosciences. The day-long meeting at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington DC. Was held to encourage young people, particularly those from diverse backgrounds, to "get into the geosciences". The event was hosted by the University Con- sortium for Atmospheric Research, the National Academies, the Consortium of Universities and Colleges of the Washington Metropolitan Area, and the American Meteorological Society. This is in part to counter the aging of the geosciences workforce, which in 1997 peaked at 50-54 years of age, compared to 1973 when the peak ages were early 30's. A description of the meeting appears in the AGU's April 13, 2004 EOS.
One of Sakimoto's career-defining moments occurred during the eruption of Mt. St. Helens (above), when she viewed the plume from a rowboat on a down-wind lake along with her brother. She recalls her reaction to the rain of volcanic ash as "Cool!"
Organizers and attendees praised her talk and particularly her inclusion of family pictures and discussion of how she balances the very different challenges of career and family. Sakimoto is known for her mentoring of students of all ages, and last fall received an award from University of Maryland Baltimore County for her efforts in this activity.
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Responsible NASA official: Dr. Herbert Frey