Update: Where are we now?

 - Janine and Alison

Wow it has been a few years, hasn't it? We lost access to our blog for a while there and are excited to have it back. The world has been changing a lot over the past few years and we have not been immune to this, so where are we now?

Dr. Janine Krippner 

Hello! Due to the pandemic and impending visa changes I moved home to New Zealand/Aotearoa after 6 months of the pandemic in the USA. After just over three years at my job at the Smithsonian Institution Global Volcanism Program, this has been my last week. I am so very grateful for my colleagues (especially Ed Venzke, Ben Andrews, and Kadie Bennis), and I will miss working in the National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. That was such a fun office to be part of! So what am I doing next? I don't know. It is "normal" in this early career stage of many science fields to have rather frequent periods of job insecurity but I am taking it in with patience, and grabbing the chance to get papers published on the projects I have been working on in my "spare time". I also want to be open about experiencing severe burnout, which has taken a couple of years to recover from and I don't know what the long term implications will be, but as I write this I am feeling fantastic and excited about what ever may come next. This meant that I took a long time off from all social media, and had to take several months off work, thanks to a very supportive work team. I say this because I want to give hope to anyone else experiencing burnout. You can get through it. The world does not crumble when you take time off. You are stronger than you think or feel. I believe in you.

I am working on Ngāuruhoe research, or Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings, which I started way back when I was doing my Masters research as a fledgling volcanologist and I am so very happy about this. I have an Honorary Research Associate title at the University of Waikato so that I have the support to continue this work (unpaid). I am basically looking at the historical eruptive history, with emphasis on the recent 1950s and 1970s eruptions. I am so excited about this work! This was the volcano I would stare at when I was a little girl, thinking that anything volcanoes was too cool to be a real job. I am so grateful. I have a volcano misconceptions and misinformation paper coming out, which uses language that can benefit anyone who is trying to sort out volcanic fact from fiction. I grabbed a bunch of experts across volcanology specialties to co-author this and I am excited for when I can share it. There are several other projects in the works and nearing completion too so watch this space!

A photo looking at the stratigraphy of the Ngauruhoe scoria cone at the summit of the volcano. There are layers of rock including red scoria, grey ash, and grey spatter deposits.
The crater of the Ngāuruhoe scoria cone at the summit of the volcano, the field area of Janine's current research.

I have been applying for funding to work more on projects that I hope will truly benefit people who are experiencing eruptions taking their homes and communities. This is the sort of work I have always wanted to do - work that helps people, and I am excited about the possibilities. 

I want to give you, our reader, a big virtual hug. It has been a rough couple of years and I truly hope that you are okay, that you are healthy, and that you have happiness throughout your life. Thank you for being here. I look forward to rebooting this blog and getting out more volcano knowledge in this accessible way.

The Te Kawa and Kakepuku volcanoes in the Waikato. Long extinct now but a beautiful addition to the farmland (cows, not sheep)

Dr Alison Graettinger

I am excited to get back to sharing research and adventures relating to volcanoes via the blog again. Like with everyone these last few years I've been busy doing the things I had to do, but taking on lots of new tasks and challenges. It has been an experience in understanding my priorities, and also heart wrenching trying to support my students and colleagues through the last few years. Many of these challenges are not gone, but I have learned a lot more about how to use my strengths and what resources I can use to keep us all moving towards our goals even as we deal with "all the things" that make up our lives in and outside of school. 

As for a real update, I am in my sixth year at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. I am really excited at the moment because a lot of my hard work over the last few years has been put towards writing grants and last year I had two big grants funded (little grants kept me going but these ones make me feel like I've leveled up as a scientist). One project is all about magma and water, of course, but my research team and I get to make new a new experimental apparatus, do some field work, and do some numerical modelling. The second project is all about STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) pathways focusing on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Instead of just showing students that STEM exists and focusing on recruiting, this project is all about supporting students as they transition between grade levels and helping them discover their power to mentor others while still achieving their own goals. I've got a bunch of other projects recently completed, or soon to be, thanks to my awesome research team and I look forward to having my students share their adventures via the blog in the near future in their own words. 

Looking forward to get back to sharing and learning via this platform again! 

Small scale experiments in the UMKC MELT lab using remelted basalt. 

Crowd watches an experiment where water and ducks are propelled out of a trashcan to mimic a volcanic eruption
Alison looks on at a crowd her her college students and their middle school mentees during the Earth Day STEM fair. 

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