Within the department of Climate and Space Sciences here at Michigan, I belong to the Solar and Heliophysics Research group. In my research, I examine the magnetosphere of Mercury. [When solar wind interacts with Earth’s magnetosphere, we have the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis)]. All heliophysics means is the intersection of our solar system and the Sun. The University of Michigan has incredible researchers and professors that make our program one of the best in the nation. In order to foster relationships between the various students and researchers, we have a weekly group meeting. Here, we can meet and talk about what we’re working on, any issues we are running into, or offer our services to others. Getting to know everyone and what they’re working helps the work environment and ultimately our productivity.
However, if I had to pick my favorite project I worked on, it would have to be a collaboration with Italian researchers. While MESSENGER was taking data at planet Mercury, a group of researchers in Italy were making ground observations. For the project, I was able to assemble some of the data and dates I’d collected for our database, turn it into a presentation, and then share it with the Italian research group. What I loved most about this project is that it taught me the international relationships scientists often have in order to further their work. Meeting people from different countries and space programs can help us make better use of the science we’re doing here in the United States.