I arrived at the European Geosciences Union Conference in the Austria Center Vienna with a beating heart and a curious mind. I walked into the first building and immediately met a witty Austrian man who helped me sign in and pick up my registration packet. After, I walked further into a massive room with hundreds of scientific posters, all related to different fields of geoscience. Little did I realize there were five other rooms just like it with poster sessions that rotated several times daily, and another building across the walkway with five floors of lecture rooms and an expo in the middle. Almost 16,000 geoscientists were in attendance in the week-long conference, so to say I was overwhelmed would probably have been an understatement.
As time progressed, though, I began feeling more comfortable with the layout and structure of the conference. I tried to soak up as much as I could – I went from session to session, hearing interesting oral presentations and interacting at poster sessions. With topics such as UV and IR imaging of volcanic phenomenon, wildfire aerosol analysis, the use of d18-O isotopes in rodent teeth to generate new climate records, and electromagnetic music, I began to finally piece together the vast applications of geoscientific research and the possibilities I will have with my degree in Chemistry from Rollins. Through my experience presenting at the EGU, I felt inspired, challenged, and in a way very at home. I enjoyed speaking with so many scientists of different ages, focuses, and backgrounds. I believe it exposed my mind to career paths and opportunities I had never even known had existed and for that I am so grateful for my summer research experience with GeoTenerife and INVOLCAN in the Canary Islands that allowed me to attend this impactful conference.