Thursday, August 25, 2011

Summer 2011: clear eyes, full hearts...

This summer in between my Urban Conservation Unit (UCU) tasks, initiating new research sites for my project, and assisting the Water Resource Team with erecting the field plot, I also had an opportunity to collaborate with Kaileigh Calhoun, this year's NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) student.

Auspicious beginnings

Everything I needed to know about Kaileigh I learned in her first days among us. Not afforded a formal office early on, her work space was set up in the high traffic counter area of the Water & Soil building. No sweat! Whenever I passed through, there she was, working. And at instances when an office became available (such as mine while on my jaunts) she was there to put the computer to good use – focused on her project and the task at hand. I should also note that she’s a natural born blogger – taking to the REU program’s emphasis on documenting the research experience with gusto.

Team player

Joining the Water Resource team in early June, Kaileigh dedicated her time at TREC to addressing a data discrepancy within in the mountains of information generated by the equipment in the Snapper Creek Project - located just off Snapper Creek in a suburb of Miami-Dade. In addition, she also had the opportunity to get her hands dirty with the rest of our group in our various on-going tasks...

learning the ins and outs of the Snapper Creek gear with Tina,

braving the summer’s worst in C-111 with Isaya,

contributing to the field plot’s beginnings with Nicki,

...and in her final days with us, a riding-along on site visits with the UCU.

Let’s make a movie!

Just before the end of her tenure here, Kaileigh and I collaborated on a short video about her project – Correction of the Analysis of HFP01 Heat Flux Sensor Data Collected during Periods of Rainfall. Highly conceptual, I was somewhat concerned about how we would tackle the subject visually. No sweat! She shared her mid-point presentation with me for brainstorming, she was helpful during pre-production meetings, and once shooting began – always early or after hours and surrounded by hungry mosquitoes - she proved a patient and camera-ready trooper, poised and fearless.

It goes without saying, she is missed. And if this is the caliber of talent the REU program attracts, then I hope it continues and I look forward to next summer. You can view the aforementioned video here, and a poster of her project, the product of Dr. Kati Migliaccio’s close mentoring, here.

a traditionalist at heart, Kaileigh sends thanks via epistle

But wait there's more

I would be remiss if I didn’t also recognize our other recently departed team members.

Profa. Dra. Teresa Cristina T. Pissarra

Based in Brazil, Teresa arrived early this year to perfect her work on watershed modeling. Among other things, she is also a talented photographer, a fact which won me over instantly!

David Li

David, a senior computer engineering student at Georgia Tech, joined the team this summer to work on the development of an interactive, web-based irrigation tool to be integrated into the FAWN web interface. His contribution was also critical to the successful completion of the field plot this summer. Look for the irrigation tool to debut this fall!

Learn about 2010’s REU marvels here.


  1. We were all so blessed to work with such wonderful people! What a busy summer! So many great memories! Thanks for posting, Mike! I hope we all stay in touch and continue to inspire one another with our individual endeavors- which require teamwork to accomplish! Best of luck to Kaileigh, Teresa, and David!

  2. Yes... What a great group of people! I know that all 3 will do great things with their lives - and it was rewarding to have them here with us for a short time. They all contributed greatly to our projects and team efforts! Really made it better for all of us!