In October 2014, with the encouragement of Annie Duffy, a UAF Art Department faculty member and mentor, I presented my thesis work at the Arctic Regional Division of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Conference. At the time I saw it as a great opportunity to not only practice presenting my thesis, but also present my research to a different and more diverse audience. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that this presentation would enable me to travel and present nationally!! I received the Larus Award which granted me full funding to attend and present at the National AAAS 2015 Conference in San Jose, CA. What an honor!
The conference was six days of exciting lectures, symposia, presentations, and seminars on cutting edge research in the fields of physics, earth science, chemistry, math, and social sciences just to name a few. As an artist/anthropologist attending the event, the topics and lectures were new and fascinating. There were lectures about science and communication; how is science and scientific fact presented to the public, what is the dialogue between science and religion and how can they work together, what about science and the community, how can we get the community at large involved with and excited about "citizen science", how do we encourage young girls to become scientific leaders, and how can we integrate the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Program in school curriculums. Other topics included cutting edge research and integration of GPS mapping to better understand, document, and map out endangered languages; isotopic analysis of remains in Anglo Saxon cemeteries to compare and contrast the written history of the time period to scientifically derived fact to paint a new and more accurate picture of the people; and state of the art visualization of classical masterworks of art, including face recognition, computational art history and conservation, and multiband imaging using infrared spectroscopy.
I'm so grateful to the Annie, the University of Alaska, the Larus Award, and all the wonderful people I met at the conference. It was a remarkable experience! I've learned a great deal more about art, science, and the potential collaborations that will further our knowledge of historic works of art, culture groups, and how we can participate in science every day! I even learned a little bit about dark matter and our galaxy--now to incorporate that into my next body of work--now back to the studio!