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Yuhan (Douglas) Rao, Ph.D.
Fall Meeting Grant Recipient
My first AGU Fall Meeting in 2016 was very typical for an AGU newbie: exciting and overwhelming! Not only did I learn about others’ research, but I also met many new and old friends who have later helped me along my career path. That was the moment when I fully realized that AGU is more than just exciting science. I have been fortunate enough that I could always attend AGU meetings, but many others are not as lucky as me because of financial burdens. I understand how AGU can change a student’s career path. That’s why I decided to help AGU support more students to attend AGU meetings.
– Yuhan (Douglas) Rao, Ph.D.
John W. Geissman
Professor Emeritus, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque; Professor and Department Head, the University of Texas at Dallas; AGU Fellow; Editor in Chief, Tectonics
My first AGU meeting was over 42 years ago in Washington, D.C. at the “big” event of the year. I cannot imagine having gone through my career in the geosciences and the academy without involvement in AGU meetings regularly. The 1979 Spring Meeting in Miami was a very special one for me, I sought out one of the giants of extensional tectonics and, in a shy fashion, introduced myself and asked whether I could show him some new data. After about 5 minutes, I realized that my years of hard work in the field and the laboratory had been worth it. I would like to think that my career was a successful one and that I was able to give much back to my profession. Part of those opportunities are rooted in my experiences at many AGU meetings, first as a student and later as a member of the academy.
Fall Meeting Grant Recipient
I joined AGU in 2012 when I left my home country of Costa Rica to pursue a doctoral degree at Virginia Tech. Although at first, it was difficult for me to grasp the nuance of what becoming a Ph.D. student entailed, I quickly fell in love with so much more than just my research on the composition and origin of melts in the Earth’s mantle. AGU’s student travel grant program, which supports students and early-career professionals of all backgrounds, opened many doors of opportunity for me. As a grant recipient, the student travel grant program has had an incredibly positive impact on my career development. It allowed me to participate in meetings and workshops that I otherwise would not have been able to attend.
AGU Past President
46 years ago, I attended my first AGU meeting. I was a student studying Earth and planetary science at Harvard. It was an exciting time: We were working on the returned Apollo moon rock samples and I was also pursuing other research directions on Earth rocks. My first AGU meeting was the meeting for Earth scientists at the time and was a tremendous eye-opener for me. I was taken in by the excitement that I felt–the stimulation and cross-communication, the partnerships being forged, and the discussions on how best to pursue science for science’s sake and how to use science to directly solve society’s problems. The intensity of my first AGU meeting made a lasting impression on me.