New Oceanographic Blog From Derya Gumustel!
A new blog centered around Oceanography and data science has been started! Derya Gumustel graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor's in Oceanography. She now has a career in data science and has lots of knowledge and experience to share. The blog began in March and has subjects ranging from an introduction to what oceanography is to data analysis and python. This incredible new blog has something for everyone and offers a great view into the real life of a scientist. Derya Gumustel is the creative author and hopes to share even more with our community. Visit https://oceandatascience.medium.com to read her blog!
--Interview Spring 2021 by Lauren Bayne, UW Oceanography class of 2022
What inspired you to create a blog about oceanography?
Initially, I created my blog as part of an assignment in a data science program. Written communication skills are essential in data science because we do so much of our work on the computer. I personally struggle a lot with writing, so I wanted to take these assignments seriously. I thought one way to get myself invested in them would be to start a blog about two of my greatest passions: oceanography and data science! Through this blog, I can pair the data topics I’m currently learning with the oceanography knowledge I already have and share the final product with my friends, family, and colleagues. It’s a way for me to develop my science communication skills while also establishing a deeper understanding of these topics by educating readers.
Who do you hope to reach through your writing, and how do you want to affect your audience?
Through my writing, I hope to reach young oceanographers interested in programming and young programmers who want to apply their skills to the natural sciences. It can be intimidating to try learning tools and techniques used in a different field than your own. I want to show them some ways to get started by pairing Python programming with oceanography or other environmental sciences. My goal is to inspire them to look at the world in new ways and begin using data to answer the questions they have about the dynamic planet we call home.
What has been your path to becoming an oceanographer? How was your time at the University of Washington?
I’ve always been interested in the natural world, and the oceans are a big part of that! In high school, I thought I wanted to study marine biology until a Ph.D. student from the University of Washington School of Oceanography gave a lecture to my algebra class about how he used mathematics to learn about the oceans. I realized that I didn’t have to limit myself to studying the oceans’ inhabitants. Instead, I could explore the oceans themselves! After high school, I spent three years at Seattle Central College before transferring to the UW to get my bachelor’s degree in oceanography. During my time at the UW, I found the teachers in the oceanography department to be incredibly engaged in the success of their students. I was able to find multiple part-time jobs on campus that gave me a chance to learn more outside of the classroom. I also got to take my first Python classes, and I attended the UW’s annual Ocean Hack Week event. That hack week ultimately shifted my career trajectory and led me to where I am now, working at the intersection of oceanography and data science. I love it here, and I will always be grateful to the UW ocean and data science communities for helping me find my dream!
What are you currently working on? What do you hope to do in the future?
Currently, I’m doing a 12-week data science immersive program to sharpen my Python programming and statistical analysis skills. For my capstone project, I’m building a model to identify periods of upwelling along the Washington and Oregon coasts, using data from the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) sites offshore. In May, I’ll be starting a position with a data science team at the UW that works with ocean sonar data. My work with them will involve associating environmental data with acoustic observations collected by instruments called echosounders at a handful of the OOI cabled array sites. I also aspire to continue exploring education and outreach opportunities to encourage students to pursue environmental studies. Beyond that, I plan to keep doing passion projects and look for graduate programs in oceanography, fisheries, and global health to apply to next. The learning never stops!
What is next for the blog? Do you have subjects chosen, or do you create these incredible posts when you’re inspired?
Next on the blog, I’ll continue to showcase how data science helps us understand the oceans, their inhabitants, and their connections to our lives and communities. I want to write about so many different topics, but it can be challenging to find time to write when juggling other responsibilities. It often takes a clear schedule and a good dose of inspiration for me to get started. I plan to write about my data science capstone project if you’re interested in learning more about predictive modeling and oceanography!
What is your best piece of advice for the undergraduates, graduates, and the rest of the UW oceanographic community?
One of the things I admire the most about the oceanography community is that we have a naturally interdisciplinary view of the world. My piece of advice is to continue incorporating oceanography into other parts of your life by combining it with your hobbies. Whether you love to create art, music, videos, or worlds, try pairing your other interests with oceanography or environmental science and see what new things you can make! I’m hoping to transfer my ocean background and programming skills to a new hobby in the free time I have coming up. I want to make video games about environmental theories, like conservation and preservation, to educate and inspire children and young adults. Outreach is an essential part of science communication, and it’s up to each of us to continue expanding the edge of our field so that more people can join!
More things you can do to be a more active participant in your community:
● Volunteer everywhere, for anything - at aquariums, zoos, schools, shelters, food banks, wherever you can! It’s our job to lift up our entire community, not just the ocean scene.
● Start a blog or podcast about topics in oceanography, and interview knowledgeable people for it.
● Make a video series about your favorite work in oceanography and show off the cool things you study.
● Write lessons or tutorials to teach people oceanography or show them how to do their own research at home.
● Write a comic, or a book, or paint, or craft, or compose!
● Analyze everything - we’re living in a world of data, and if you have a question, I bet there’s data out there that can answer it! Data analysis is one of my favorite exercises because I get to write code to visualize the many remarkable processes in the oceans in really cool ways.
● Present your work at conferences, in virtual meetups, in classrooms, and to your friends - practicing your presentations often will make them better and will deepen your understanding of the topics you’re presenting.
● Don’t hesitate to email the awesome people you want to work with; you’d be surprised at the opportunities you might find!