Mapping UMCES staff at CERF: A Fun Exercise in Networks and Impacts

Dylan Taillie ·
3 January 2018

The bi-annual conference of the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (CERF) took place November 5-9, 2017, in Providence, Rhode Island. I was able to attend in order to present about a paper that I co-authored with multiple colleagues from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES), as well collaborators from other institutions. This paper is called New York Harbor: Resilience in the Face of Four Centuries of Development. Although this presentation was the primary reason for attending this conference, I also assisted in an activity that brought both current and former UMCES staff together through the visual exploration of the paths they took to UMCES, as well where their journey took them after they left the university.

A view of Providence from the Rhode Island Convention Center where CERF was held this year.

There is always a large UMCES contingent at CERF, whether it be current employees presenting their scientific discoveries and research from the university, or former employees demonstrating their current research.

Each year, the UMCES booth at the conference has a small, interactive activity for both their past and present employees. Created by Bill Dennison and Dave Nemazie, this exercise involved mapping three items for each current or former UMCES employee: their education or workplace before UMCES, their current lab at UMCES (or current location if not still working for UMCES) and finally the place where they believe their research or work has had the most impact.

This activity was a blast in terms of meeting current and past UMCES staff and having them think about their research impacts, and it was also very visually pleasing to see the amount of land UMCES staff have covered and how they ended up at our institution.

As you can see, UMCES staff have pretty good coverage of a lot of the world for both their impacts and their education.

Here is an overview of the map. Legend reads as follows:

Blue pegs: Current UMCES staff previous education or work

Pink pegs: Current UMCES staff major impact

Red pegs: Current UMCES staff lab location

Purple pegs: Former UMCES staff post-UMCES location

Green pegs: Former UMCES staff major impact

UMCES current and previous staff impacts show some tight groupings around the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean, but also indicate that UMCES researchers have broad impacts around our country and the world.

For me personally, CERF was my first true science conference. Although it was at times overwhelming and intense, I learned a great deal and met a lot of really fascinating people that I no doubt will be running into again. While at the conference, I also got a chance to tour some of the city of Providence – I snuck away for a session and trotted around Brown University. A photo of this short excursion can be found below.

Stuffed animal statue at Brown University.

About the author

Dylan Taillie

Dylan is a Science Communicator with IAN. He has experience in various areas of visual information, science communication and technical analyses. Strengths in data management, environmental assessment and stakeholder engagement. He has worked with IAN in various positions since 2016 and enjoys fishing and hiking.

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