Prudence Crawmer

Sector: Research

Field: Science

Occupation: Student

Meet Prudence Crawmer, AGU Virtual Poster Showcase Winner, studying Environmental Studies and Geography, at Pikes Peak Community College (listen to full audio interview)

Can you please say your name, where you attend school or work, and what you are studying or researching?

My name is Prudence Crawmer and I go to Pikes Peak Community College in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I am currently studying Environmental Studies and Geography. And I am currently a full-time student, so I am not working at the moment, as my job is school.

Can you describe the most exciting part of studying or researching science?

The most exciting part I would say, is learning the breakdown of something. You know most of the time when you are studying in the science fields, you have a hypothesis and you either discover that your hypothesis is correct or it’s incorrect. And so, just discovering what different outcomes are is interesting. And then of course, learning new terms and how everything is connected. When you learn something, then you can relate it to something else and show that connection in the science field. Through math and science, I enjoy problem solving, as problem solving is challenging and fun all at the same time.

Great! Did you always know that you wanted to be a scientist or how did you get into science?

I would say the earliest childhood memory that I have, is when my brother and I were kicked out of the house to go play, as my mom didn’t want us inside all day. We would play outdoors, and I would dissect things, observe what I dissected, and build different things. So, that’s where my interest started as a child. Then in high school, taking my first earth science class, again I learned the breakdown of the earth and how things functioned, which really interested me. On to college, I took a lot of chemistry classes and again even though it was challenging it was very fascinating to learn the foundations of science and how things form and the breakdown process.

So you were a winner of the Virtual Poster Showcase can you maybe talk about how you heard about it and why you decided to participate in it? As well as give a brief description of your abstract.

Sure. I heard about AGU and the Virtual Poster session through the RECCS/CIRES internship that I participated in last summer in Boulder, Colorado. One of the interns told me how she completed the Virtual Poster session and said how fun it was and easy because you already had your project done, all you had to do was present it. Another benefit to participating in the Virtual Poster session was, I didn’t have to worry about funds of going to the actual AGU meeting, like flight fee’s, hotel, etc. It was convenient for my own pace, I just had to submit before the deadline.

And then to describe my abstract… To try to sum it up, the internship program I worked with last summer, I had the pleasure of working through NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). I worked with the geomagnetism team there and they had developed an app on the smartphone called CrowdMag. CrowdMag is the first crowdsourcing app where the app accesses the built-in magnetometer on your smartphone. A magnetometer collects the earth’s magnet data. My project was to collect local magnetic anomalies. An anomaly is a deviation and, in this case,, I was finding the magnetic deviations in the earth’s magnetic field. I collected different infrastructure anomalies like iron pipes, bridges, and different infrastructure like that. And after collecting that data, I created forward models using excel to identify various strengths, depths, and volumes of each anomaly. This data can be used for future alternative navigation systems and be possible “mile markers” for the future.

Wow, that’s super interesting! Can you describe a little bit about your experience with VPS and what it meant to you to be honored as a winner?

Yes, of course! For one, I was very surprised when I looked at the email stating “Prudence Crawmer: undergraduate winner,” I was like wow, oh my gosh, I was so happy! Again, I enjoyed the Virtual Poster session because it was convenient for me to share my science project that I worked hard on. When recording my VPS session, I practiced my speech over and over and over again, until I got it down, and of course I was trying to be professional and speak in layman’s terms. VPS was a great experience because it exposed me to presenting and participating in a science field association, meanwhile, being able to present online. This was a great first-time science presentation opportunity! Plus, I had no idea that I would get a $500 travel grant and a free conference entry fee at the AGU meeting, which is great!

Right, and you were able to practice a little bit because it is not on the spot your recording yourself.

Right, it brings your nerves down a little bit because you record multiple times and then finally you have the one!

Do you have any advice for students who are maybe thinking about participating but who are on the fence?

My advice would be – practice, practice, practice. Even though you are recording this at the convenience of your own house or school, you have to be professional when presenting your science topic/project. I encourage students to apply because again, if you don’t have to spend money for travel fee’s, this is a great way to present your project. I am hopefully going to the Fall AGU conference in San Francisco, CA this year, where I will participate in the poster event.

Awesome. Do you think that when you actually go to the conference at some point you will feel a little bit less nervous and more confident having been able to practice and had experience presenting with VPS?

Yes, absolutely! With this exposure that I had, I will be a little bit less nervous and more confident about presenting and talking about my science project.

Great to hear! This is a milestone year for AGU. We’re celebrating our centennial, which is 100 years. How do you feel about being part of such a big moment and being able to kind of share your story?

It’s an honor for sure. I found out about the American Geophysical Union about a year ago and looking back over the AGU website, I read the mission statements and saw that you promote discovery in earth and space science. So, by me being a part of this centennial year, it is an honor to be part of this science field. AGU has so many different resources when it comes to education, diversity in backgrounds, and promoting a sustainable future. There are so many benefits of being a member and being a part of this science community.

Awesome, thank you. What do you hope that the geosciences will help humanity to understand or achieve in the next 10 or 100 years?

By AGU aiding in future discovery and publishing science projects, we all are being educated. New students coming into the science field can better understand and achieve different geosciences through the help of AGU.

Yeah, that’s great. So that is all the questions we have for you. Is there anything else you want to share with us or say that you didn’t get to touch on?

I just want to state that I didn’t realize you won a $500 travel voucher and free conference ticket if you won the VPS, this was an even more surprise to me!

That’s great to hear from our prospective so thank you for sharing that with us. And also I just want to say thank you for taking the time out of your day to share your story and give a little background to you, your science, and your research.