Spring SEAL awards and presentations

Even though the Spring term is almost over, SEAL has been doing some exciting things! Expect a couple updates here over the next few weeks, but first we’re going to focus on some research exposure. First, Ian took part in the 3MT (3 Minute Thesis) competition for the College of Natural Resources Graduate Research Symposium. Similar to a lightning talk, 3MT is an opportunity for graduate students to share their dissertation research from any topic in a maximum of 3 minutes, and in basic language such that anyone is able to understand. Think of it like a kind of glorified elevator pitch, if you will, but encapsulating years' worth of work.

Ian giving his 3MT talk
Ian giving his 3MT talk

Following on that symposium, Xiaojie participated in the university-wide Graduate Research Symposium, where graduate students from across the university were nominated by their departments to show posters on their research. He had a lot of engagement with attendees, and he had a lot of fun.

Xiaojie next to his eye-catching poster
Xiaojie next to his eye-catching poster
Xiaojie explaining his poster to a captivated attendee
Xiaojie explaining his poster to a captivated attendee

The beginning of April saw SEAL at the Center for Geospatial Analytics annual banquet, and this was the first time we held it in-person since prior to Covid. With a backdrop of the JC Raulston Arboretum, SEAL was honored not once, but twice! First, the Collaboration and Innovation Award was given to the MUTATED team (Josh, Laura, Jenna, Owen), whose nomination said

  • “The team uses their knowledge and complementary strengths to develop efficient, automated change-detection algorithms using time series of expansive regions of remotely sensed images. From an outside perspective, Laura seemingly learned remote sensing terminology and methods overnight, and Jenna and Owen got up to speed on Bayesian statistics in record time. Their remarkable progress is a clear indication of their dedication and teamwork. Their progress would not be possible without Josh, who always offers his guidance, support, time, resources and brainpower. They are a dream team."
The MUTATED team
The MUTATED team

The other honor was the Interdisciplinary Advancement Award, given to a student not enrolled in a CGA program but who applies principles of geospatial analysis to address challenges in an interdisciplinary setting. This was awarded to Laura, whose nomination said

  • “As our resident ‘stats guru,’ she supports the rest of the lab members by answering statistical questions, reviewing models and ensuring that our methods are statistically sound. Outside of work, she has become a very valuable member of the lab. She began studying statistics because it can be applied to practically anything, but she seems to have found her niche in geospatial analytics. After graduating in Spring 2022 and completing a post doc position at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, she is strongly considering pursuing a position as a statistician in the remote sensing field. She wishes she found geospatial analytics sooner, and we wish we had found her sooner.”
The honorary CGA student herself
The honorary CGA student herself

In our excitement about the awards and the plants outside, we forgot to get a group picture at the banquet. However! A number of us channeled our collective success directly to helping others. As co-organized by Josh, after the banquet we helped with the Rise Against Hunger Service Event where we were in little assembly lines to pack bags of dry veggies, tofu, and rice into single-meal packets. Thanks Josh!

Members of SEAL helping pack food in a small assembly line with some smaller assistants
Members of SEAL helping pack food in a small assembly line with some smaller assistants

With the arrival of spring and later sunsets we’re finally starting to warm up and look forward to more SEAL events outdoors alongside research progress. Check back soon for some research updates!

Ian McGregor
Ian McGregor
PhD Candidate, 2019-

I am a PhD candidate with the Center for Geospatial Analytics at North Carolina State University.