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Shilpa Lal – Oceanography Graduate Student at UH Mānoa

How to Survive an Oceanographic Cruise … especially if you don’t speak the same language

I am from Fiji. I did my undergrad studies at The University of the South Pacific (Fiji) in Marine Science and Climate Change. I am a bit of a divergent – I have a broad range of interests: Anthropology, archaeology, history, architecture, mathematics,travelling, art,culinary and collecting artifacts(shopping while I am traveling) and the ocean. In my free time I enjoy doing doing henna, gardening, cooking or taking a long walk.

As part of my studies I get to go out on research vessels a lot. Many times the crew does not speak English or the vessel is from a country where English is not their national language. Growing up on a tiny island country in the middle of the Pacific, there were a limited number of languages we were taught at school. I guess school didn’t prepare me so well for the journey I would be embarking on or perhaps gave me an opportunity to have new language learning adventures on my own. English was my national language. Life on research vessel can be hard if you can’t communicate with the crew. Same can be said when visiting any foreign country I guess. Except unlike a foreign country where you sort of have freedom of movement and choice of food you would like to eat, on a ship your choice of food is limited to what the cook prepares and if you have special diets and can’t communicate with the cook and kitchen crew, it’s going to be horrible. I have had so many interesting , fun and new experiences dealing with crew and life on board research vessels. I think Nerd night is a great opportunity to share these fun experiences and perhaps inspire other people to travel or help other travelers with the tips I have learnt during my time at sea.


Mark Hixon, PhD – Professor of Marine Biology, Department of Biology, UH Mānoa

Sea Monsters

I have been lucky to have spent my career studying sea life underwater using SCUBA and small research submarines.  I will share images and stories of some of the more bizarre giant creatures my colleagues and I have encountered in the ocean depths.  As a bonus, the presentation will be in the format of a multiple-choice drinking game.


Krissie Kellogg – Aerospace Exploration Lab & Imaginarium Specialist at WCC
The Amazing Space Shuttle
As a kid, I was always interested in space, stars, planets, robots, machines, etc.  I couldn’t have been more different than the family I grew up in!  I somehow managed to get a nice little job at WCC where I am surrounded by everything I loved as a kid!  I’m living my 9 year old kid dream every day!
Although shuttle launches are a thing of the past, they are part of our history.  (I still find them beautiful and fascinating.)  I will talk about how they launch, how they land, and where they are now.