Hello! My name is Renée, and I’m so excited to be a part of the GREAT team. I’ll be in my junior year at Rutgers this fall semester, studying Aerospace Engineering. While my academic background does not lend itself immediately to the kind of work done by our Geology department, I was drawn to the GREAT project by the opportunity to study earthquakes, especially since I spent my childhood in Tokyo, where earthquakes were quite common. I was also excited by the prospect of doing field work; though I’m not a typically outdoorsy person, I love exploring new environments and working with my hands on tangible projects, so a five-week research trip to Costa Rica seemed like the perfect way to spend my summer. Unfortunately, our plans have been interrupted by Miss Five-Letters Two-Numbers, so I’m writing this from the suburbs of central Jersey instead.
While we may not be in Costa Rica right now, I’m quite pleased to be able to work on Dr. Levin’s research project remotely. Right now, my focus is on creating a physical representation of collected earthquake data on a geographic map. This means I’ll be using MATLAB quite a bit in my work; while I’m familiar with the language thanks to my engineering classes, it does make for a steeper learning curve, since GMT was previously used in this project instead of MATLAB. This week’s progress has been slightly stalled by unforeseen obstacles (I got sick) but you can check out the cover photo of this blog post to see the MATLAB map I created (it consists solely of a topographical map of Costa Rica and no relevant data points). I’ll be working to deconstruct the data files to more manageable collections so that I can plot them in MATLAB more easily, and work with the different types of data. I look forward to the coming weeks of this project – I suspect I’m going to know a vast amount of MATLAB by the end of it.
In continuing the trend of putting up photos of our alternative summer activities, here are two photos that generally sum up how I’ve spent quarantine: renovating the garage (we put up walls!) and baking.