An apology to anyone looking forward to my adventures in St. Petersburg, but this past week was especially exciting at SLU, and I could not skip writing about it. I will post about St. Petersburg later this week I PROMISE!
So what made this past week so special you may ask? Not only did my two Estonian ATLANTIS colleagues visit, (Arvo and Margus), but Arvo successfully defended his Master’s thesis on Warming Alters Photosynthetic Rates of Sub-Boreal Peatland Vegetation. The defense itself was a production, as it was internationally broadcast from Alnarp, Sweden, to Michigan Tech in Houghton, and even to the Umeå Campus in northern Sweden. This entailed coordinating international times, schedules, and advisors. Because of the way the ATLANTIS Programme works, each student has an advisor in the United States and an advisor in Scandinavia/Europe. Arvo’s advisors are Dr. Rodney Chimner (MTU) and Dr. Eric Agestam (SLU), both wonderful people and scientists. Dr. Eric Agestam is also the SLU ATLANTIS coordinator, and is very active with SLU’s International EUROFORESTER Masters course. This is the course which ATLANTIS students participate in while at SLU. Eric has been especially helpful and active during my time at SLU He has a wonderful sense of humor, especially when I even had to ask him how to write my flat address correctly when I moved to Sweden!
When causally asked during his defense, “what have you learned or taken away from the ATLANTIS Programme?,” Arvo answered along the lines of “the people and the cultural experience” – I couldn’t agree more. I feel so privileged to be part of the ATLANTIS Programme, and essentially the ‘ATLANTIS family’. The people I have met throughout this program have truly changed my life, the cultural experiences have truly been incomparable, and the people running this program have done an amazing job. I am going to take this opportunity to ‘plug’ the ATLANTIS Program, and highly suggest applying if you can – (check out the ATLANTIS website here) – contact the coordinator in your region and get started as soon as possible! Also, I am more than willing to answer questions about the ATLANTIS Program for current or future students, though my experience in the United States is limited to Michigan Tech in Houghton.
It was wonderful to have the ‘MTU Crew’ back together again – it felt like just yesterday we were all back in Houghton, Michigan. I pray that we will some how find a way to have an ATLANTIS reunion in the future. I would also like to extend a special ‘thank you’ to Chris Johnson, my fellow MTU ATLANTIS colleague, for allowing me to exploit his love for photography. As I have mentioned before, I am not really a picture person – I am not photogenic and I would rather spend my time living in the moment than behind a camera – thus, my friends have graciously allowed me to borrow some of their pictures for my blog – of which I truly appreciate!
I am extremely excited for my defense at MTU this coming Fall (2011)! It is really inspiring to see other ATLANTIS students starting to finish their programs. Margus (the other Estonian) will be coming back to SLU in April to defend his thesis. In addition, two ATLANTIS students currently studying with me at SLU should be defending this summer. Good luck everyone!
On both a historical and ironic note, Arvo’s defense happend to be on Estonian Independence Day (February 24th)! Thursday evening, traditional Estonian meatballs were consumed to celebrate both successful events! Check out the link to learn all about Estonia’s social and Soviet struggles during their historical quest for independence – very interesting.
Congratulations again, Arvo!