May Updates

The Things We Can Conjure went wonderfully! We had a nice turnout, made new friends, and had a beautiful time sharing our work. We also both completed National Poetry Month strong with 30 poems each! Don’t forget to check out Najia’s beautiful book “Wanderers, Witch-Talkers.”

Last week (4.30), I presented my senior thesis – the geology portion of the 2015 NASA Academy Mars mission design – for the EES department and had my composition final “performed” – you can find the track here. The piece utilizes voice and cello recordings of myself, as well as recordings of planes from last summer. Completing my time with both the EES Department and the Eastman composition department has been a delight and I am so grateful for the resources to which I’ve had access during my time at Rochester.

I finished executing my project ‘i can’t hear myself’ for my anthropology course this week. The reaction has been so involved and wonderful, and I look forward to continuing to discuss the work and the social issues behind my ideas with other musicians.

At the end of this month, I’ll be heading off to the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory for a summer research program in surface processes of icy moons, which is a thrilling way to end my undergraduate career!

Stay tuned – I’m hoping to start some new things in the next handful of weeks x


April Updates

  • It’s been a quiet process, but I have been preparing a new book of poetry – stay tuned for updates!
  • I love film and I’ve now found myself volunteering for the Science and Entertainment Exchange (SEE), a network under the National Academy of Sciences by which creators in the entertainment industry can seek volunteer consultation from scientists for their media
  • I’ll be quietly attempting the National Poetry Month writing challenge this April with hopes only to get some words down after a fairly long dry spell
  • I’ve been busy with my thesis/graduation requirements/etc. but hope to see some more creative work in the next few months!

AGU 2015

I’ve been in the Bay Area for a week now, having attended the AGU Fall Meeting 2015! The conference was especially exciting with new results from New Horizons, the Dawn mission, the final low-altitude campaign of MESSENGER, and other planetary missions that I’ve been following.

The NASA Ames Space Academy also presented a poster on Monday, via which we productively interfaced with radar experts and interested geologists alike. I gave a talk on Thursday on my individual project from the Academy and met several researchers, familiar and unfamiliar, with whom I had great discussions on graduate school, topics in planetary research, and previous work.

Now I’m running to finish graduate apps as the year winds down, even as I’m struck with the urge to return to my poetry. It’s been a wild fall x

updates / potpourri

I’ll be performing poetry again in Rochester this Saturday, Oct. 10 @ Meddlesome Labs! The event is to benefit Syrian refugees via Doctors without Borders. Event info here.

The NASA Ames Academy team will have a poster for our group project at the AGU Fall Meeting 2015! Abstract here.

I’m honored to have earned a talk again for AGU as well! Abstract here.

I’m busy with a ton of credits this semester on top of working on applying to graduate school (!) but I’m hoping to have some cool projects in the next few months:

  • I started the sequel to my novel Minotaur, ‘Theseus,’ last NaNoWriMo and it’s close to finished – it will potentially be a focus for NaNo this November, although I’ll only be aiming for a cumulative 50k words
  • I’m currently preparing an essay for a book to be published by the curator of Balm Digest, which is very exciting!
  • I’d really like to aim for another poetry collection in early 2016; my style has changed significantly over the past three months, and so while I was considering pursuing an old idea (a collection called ‘life house’) for this next book, I may reconsider and take more time to flesh out what seems to be forming itself into a nice set
  • There are a two or three music projects I’m excited to potentially start with a few music friends/colleagues at UR and in my network, possibly employing poetry!
  • On the less official side, I’ve recently been doing some novel editing and review for a friend. I’ve always loved editing, and I can see myself doing this in the future, whether as freelance work or just pleasant help for friends

I’m on Huffington Post!

“You basically have to get into college first before you get that support,” said Divya Persaud from the University of Rochester. “A lot of girls don’t make it to college, especially minority women.”

Dr. Jan Millsapps, who co-heads the Madame Mars project and who interviewed me  this summer at the SETI Institute has written an blog post on HuffPo called Only One Way to Mars?. She poses the question of whether the path to becoming an astronaut has really changed or if it is still limited to those with rare resources. Check it out!

‘Suite for Saturn’

[ETA: I removed these tracks from SoundCloud – listen to the new rendering here]

I composed SUITE for SATURN using motives derived from global maps of the three moons of Saturn – Iapetus, Rhea, and Dione – I looked at in my research project for the NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at the SETI Institute this summer. The latitudes of the craters were used to determine pitch, while longitudes determined note duration and beat.

The suite begins with a prelude and fugue for Iapetus in 7/4, which establish the modes for the piece as a whole. An adagio assai in 5/4 for Rhea follows, with an energetic finale “Train of Dione.” The suite closes with a reiteration of the prelude entitled “Farewell, all,” which incorporates figures from Rhea and Dione and ends in a new key.

This is my first “completed” multi-movement piece.

Madame Mars!

This past week I was interviewed for the Madame Mars documentary at the SETI Institute with four of my peers. We discussed our future plans, why we were interested in planetary science and astronomy, and our thoughts on a woman being the first person to walk on Mars.

The project is very cool, and I urge others to check out the site and look out for the film, even if to just catch my being awkward in front of a camera.