Since Iʻm new at this, these are going to be weekly, heck maybe even monthly if I canʻt get my shizz together enough to write weekly. And yes, my swearing will be PG based (Iʻm a mom, itʻs all I know). Oh, and if youʻre wondering why my "apostrophes" are weird looking, make friends with a Hawaiian...my keyboard is always in Hawaiian language mode, so deal with it.
Anyway, I left NOAA this week. You know, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the guys that warn us about global warming, sea level rise, hurricanes, coral reef death, and all those other morbid, but very real, near future news...yeah, THAT NOAA. I had some really conflicting feelings about it. I loved that job...well, most of the time. Well, the times I wasnʻt stuck on a computer all day, I loved my job. For those that donʻt know (and for those that are too lazy to read the rest of my website), I was a Laboratory Technician on the ARMS project. ARMS stands for Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures. Theyʻre these really cool 10in x 10in ("ish"-they were really 23cm x 23cm) tile-like plates that are stacked 8 high. The project that I was on had ARMS mounted on a bunch of different reefs throughout the Pacific Ocean. Essentially, they were like an artificial reef. Things grew and lived on and between the plates. Theyʻd be collected every three years or so and brought back to the lab for processing. The organisms that were big enough to see were identified to the lowest taxonomical group and the organisms that were almost impossible to see were given to me. When I got my hands on the samples, they looked like nothing more than sand and silt, very stinky, but pretty much just looked like sand and silt. I extracted the DNA, ran a butt load of PCRs and other shizz, then sent them off for sequencing. And, please donʻt misinterpret my "and other shizz" for anything easy because for those other crazy people out there that work with DNA/RNA, you know that the "and other shizz" can be the most difficult and time consuming part of the processing steps.
Without getting too science detailed, that was pretty much the gist of what I did. I know it may not sound that fun to most of you (yes, Mom and Jennifer, Iʻm talking to you), but I absolutely loved it! I left for what I felt was a much better opportunity (for the position Iʻm in), but when I left, I was told that the ARMS project might be on hold for a while. There wasnʻt really anyone to take my place in the lab, nor did they really have much funding (thanks, Trump), so until they found the funds and hired someone new, it would be at a standstill. I mean, they would still be collecting ARMS from the ocean, but the lab processing would be placed on hold. So much time and effort was put into the project that I sort of felt unfulfilled and a little sad knowing that the project would be left in limbo for a bit. Iʻm hoping they find someone to take over soon. Actually, now that I told the world how bummed I felt to leave NOAA, I do feel a whole lot better. On to greener fields, I guess!
So, today, September 1st, was my first day at my new job. I didnʻt really do much, mostly just a bunch of Research Conduct training, which really needs to be updated to something much less draining, and a few meetings. Majority of my duties at my new job is working as a lab tech, M-Th, in the Lab Hui O Frank out of the Kewalo Marine Laboratory (more info to come once I get started). Fridays, Iʻm supposed to spend at UH-Manoa doing "professional development". When I accepted the position, I wasnʻt sure what that meant. After today, Iʻm pretty sure no one really has a specific definition, which isnʻt as bad as it sounds. What I mean is, they are sort of letting me choose what I want my job to be (*stoking!). Thereʻs no specific definition for "professional development" because itʻs unique to the person. I was really taken back by being able to basically create my own job. I can do whatever I want to do, so long as it benefits my future. They even offered to let me take courses at UH, which "ew, barf", but still, really cool! Itʻs a lot to think about, so I have a week before I need to get back to anyone about what job I want to create. Check back next week to find out what I created. "Eeek! Exciting!!!"