Gearing up for SWMS 2017

Steering Committee at OCB meeting

By Chrissy Hernandez

For the past few years, the SWMS Steering Committee has been comprised primarily of students and postdocs based at WHOI and MIT. Despite our close geographical locations, we have all of our meetings via Skype. This has made it easy to transition to having Steering Committee members in more far-flung locations. When Femke DeJong was wrapping up her postdoc and spending more time at home in the Netherlands, she continued to participate in our meetings and with website upkeep. And this past year, after Ellie Bors and Sophie Chu defended their theses at WHOI, they moved on to exciting postdoctoral fellowships but have continued to support us back ‘home’ as we work to grow SWMS. Ellie is currently a Knauss fellow in DC, and Sophie is in Seattle, splitting her time between NOAA and the University of Washington.

The 2016 Symposium was  planned entirely over Skype!
The 2016 Symposium was planned entirely over Skype! Annie, Sophie, Femke, Gabi, Ellie, and Chrissy (clockwise from top left) are used to e-meetings, but we are excited to add two new members to our crew. 

As exciting as it is that our experienced Steering Committee members are staying on to help guide our organization through some growing pains, it’s an even bigger deal to bring in some fresh blood! Alexa Sterling and Anna Robuck, students at the URI Graduate School of Oceanography, have generously volunteered to help plan and run the 2017 SWMS Symposium. These ladies are already doing an amazing job with the URI Chapter of SWMS, which you can read about here. Their participation in planning the 2017 Symposium will be invaluable because they add a perspective that is outside of WHOI, and because they’re bringing all kinds of great ideas about what has worked well for SWMS at URI!

I guess that in our highly-connected, social-media-filled society, it shouldn’t seem so weird to meet people and collaborate with them electronically…but it still does! Since Alexa was in Woods Hole last week for the Ocean Carbon Biogeochemistry (OCB) meeting, she and I made plans to meet up in person (for the first time ever!). When I realized that Sophie, Hilary, and Annie were also participating in OCB, I was so excited to have a get together!

Although I wasn’t participating in OCB this year (#fieldwork), I went to the Tuesday evening poster session and had the opportunity to hear about Hilary’s current research. We asked a kind stranger to take some photos of us, because this is the first time we’ve had this many Steering Committee members in one room (outside of the Symposium). After that, the 5 of us went to the Captain Kidd for a lively session of eating, drinking, talking, and being merry! It was a special treat to have Annie out with us for the evening (big thank you to her husband for watching their kids!), to have Sophie back in town, and to meet Alexa face-to-face! Of course, I also had fun hanging out with Hilary, but I get to see her most frequently outside of the group.

Steering Committee at OCB meeting
SWMS Steering Committee members Sophie, Alexa, Annie, Hilary, and Chrissy (L to R) got together at the OCB meeting.

After this brainstorming session, we’re ready to hit the ground running with planning the SWMS 2017 Fall Symposium. Our next priorities are to pick a theme and invite a keynote speaker. We’re also working on setting up registration forms and designing our program. If you have a scientist in mind that you would like to hear speak, on either their awesome science or the specific experience of being a woman in marine science, please email us at!

We are so excited to see you on November 3rd in Woods Hole!