“It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson.
The journey: 18 days on the road, ~4600 miles, 3 National Parks, 3 great hikes, 3 fun bike rides. Eight days of meetings, 22 workshops, 132 in-person attendees, plus approximately another 60 virtual attendees. A successful AAUS Foundation Bubble Breaker and an “out of this world” Awards Banquet. The AAUS 2022 Symposium was a huge success!
Another round of thanks to our hosts and sponsors, Chris Ledford from Texas A & M, Galveston and Jake Emmert, from Moody Gardens. Thanks too for all our workshop presenters and the volunteers who helped keep things running smoothly. And of course, we wouldn’t have been able to do any of it without the herculean efforts of our Operations Manager, Heather Albright. Way to go team!.
For those of you who were not able to attend we had a (based on the feedback) very productive Business and DSO meeting. The board gave a summary of their efforts for 2021, with more details available in the Annual Report (available in the resource library by the end of the month). Most everything we have and will be doing is being framed in the context of the 2022 Strategic Plan (also available in the resource library). Highlights included the new AAUS Instructor Program, our recently signed agreement with OSHA’s Office of Marine Enforcement, a National Registry of Science Divers, and the presentation of plaques to the six Organizational Members who completed the new Accreditation Program. At the end of the day, we gathered at the Galveston Island Brewing Company for the AAUS Foundation’s Bubble Breaker. By the end of the evening, through the raffle, and the live and silent auctions, we had raised enough money to once again fund our numerous scholarships and internships. In addition to our long standing Doctoral and Masters Research Scholarships, the Kevin Flanagan Student Travel Award, the Mitchell Scientific Diving Research Internship, and the Dr. Lee Sommer’s AAUS Scientific Diving Internship, we announced the first winners of our two inaugural Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion Scholarships. We’re also very happy to announce two new scholarships for DSOs, The Cheryl Thacker Dive Officer Training Scholarship, and The Mike Dardeau Dive Officer Exchange Program. If you missed your chance to recognize the huge contributions to the Academy that Cheryl and Mike have made over many years, you still have the opportunity to help us fund these new programs. Please visit the Foundation website (aausfoundation.org) and donate today.
Papers presented on Friday covered a wide range of underwater and diving related topics. Many thanks to all who submitted and presented their excellent work. Mark Carr from UC Santa Cruz closed out the day for us as he received the Scientific Diving Leadership Award. Mark was recognized for his many decades of studying the kelp forests of California, among other subjects, and teaching hundreds (thousands!) of students about their complex and fascinating systems. Mark concluded his talk by reflecting on the importance of experiential learning and the need to create opportunities for under-represented students, a recurring theme for the day. Thanks again for all of your efforts Mark, and congratulations on a well-deserved award.
We closed out the week with our Awards Banquet, cruising Galveston Bay aboard Moody Gardens’ paddlewheel, The Colonel. One last opportunity to share a meal and raise a glass with our colleagues as the sun literally set on our Symposium. I was fortunate to be able to present our service awards and scholarships and acknowledge all those who have worked so hard for the Academy over the previous year. Then we were all treated to a wonderful presentation by Astronaut Jessica Meir about her journey to the International Space Station. Finally, we held the drawing for this year’s official Symposium Art by Laura White and announced that next year’s symposium will be hosted by the University of West Florida in Pensacola. We hope you’ll be able to join us..
A persistent theme this year is that there’s so much to talk about and not nearly enough time, so we’ll be considering new ways to share information over the next year, watch this space. ;
University of California