Duke Forward and Water – Presenting Ocean Mapping and Citizen Science

On the evening of September 29th, 2012 I was honored to stand on a stage with other Duke researchers to showcase new developments in the realm of “water” science to about 800 donors as Duke officially launched it’s new development campaign entitled Duke Forward. “Water” is a pretty broad topic, and it was great to be chosen to represent Duke on this topic along with Pat Halpin (Nicholas School of the Environment), Dan Vermeer (Fuqua School of Business) and Reema Sil (Duke Engineering undergraduate).

It was an impressive show – a transformed Cameron Stadium with live music, speeches by Duke’s President Dick Broadhead, Campaign Co-Chairs Ann Bass, Bruce Karsh and David Rubenstien, Medical Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg (Robertson Clinical and Translational Cell Therapy Program) and of course, Coach K.

Our water program led the presentations on what Duke does, and I actually got to lead the water story by introducing Pat and his ocean mapping work, writ large. Pat followed with a summary of our lab’s work on citizen science projects and our hope to turn the caring residents of western Australia into an array of sensors that can detect changes in their coastal environments. It was more than a bit strange to talk about someone else’s work in front of 800 or so Duke supporters, but it definitely kept us on point. Best thing for me, I got to describe Pat Halpin as the “Yoda” of marine mapping, which illicited great laughter from the crowd. That, and having a crowd clap and cheer for me in Cameron – isn’t that something that a lot of Dukies might desire? And the icing on top – my wife was there to see it all!

After all the talking was done a laser show lit the way for donors to embark on a strolling supper across the carpeted floor of Cameron Stadium. Great food and drink and some amazing discussions with people about taking Duke forward.

It was a humbling experience for me – taking the stage with some seriously impressive Dukies and hearing about all the great things that Duke is doing.