Alumna Shares Her Research with Seventh Graders

Eighteen years ago, RCS alumna Giuliana Viglione ’06 was a student in Chris Perry’s seventh grade science class. Today, after receiving an undergraduate degree from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Engineering from Caltech in Pasadena, California, she’s a journalist, oceanographer, and educator currently aboard the research vessel Roger Revelle in the southern Pacific Ocean. And she’s connecting with the students in Chris Perry’s seventh grade science class to share what she’s discovering and give them an opportunity to ask her questions about her research.  
 
What are they researching aboard the Revelle?
“We’re studying coccolithophores, microscopic shell-building plankton that play an important role in the ocean’s carbon cycle,” Giuliana said. “We want to understand how those plankton change the chemistry of water at the surface before it is subducted, or transported down into the deep ocean. We’re also trying to figure out how different nutrients, like nitrate and iron, affect the plankton’s growth. Combining all this information with the bigger-picture context will help us better understand how the water in this region sucks up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and affects the conditions elsewhere in the ocean.”
 
How are RCS students communicating with Giuliana?
As the science-writer-in-residence on the Revelle, Giuliana is keeping a blog during the two-month voyage. Students in Mr. Perry’s class are reading her posts, and after answering questions about each of her entries, they are posing questions to Guiliana about the team’s research, oceanography in general, or even just what it’s like living on a ship. Guiliana and the scientists on board have been answering these questions in a blog post once a week or so. HERE is a link to Giuliana’s blog posts.
 
RCS seventh graders focus on the freshwater ecosystem food webs of local rivers and the importance of phytoplankton, so learning about the plankton in the Pacific Ocean through the eyes of alumna Guiliana has been exciting for them! 
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