Trip Report


Sponsored Participants





MyAsia Reid
IGARSS 08 Conference

On Sunday July 6th, 2008 the Elizabeth City State University undergraduate research experience (URE) program students MyAsia Reid, Chelsea Goins, Justin Deloatch, Micheal Jefferson, Patrina Bly, Phillip Moore, Brittany Maybin, Jonathan Henderson, Devina Hughes, Leroy Lucas, Camden Hearn, William Shannon, Yao Messan, and Omotilewa Oluwatoba joined Dr. Linda Hayden, Dr. Darnell Johnson, Dr. Stephanie Johnson, Dr. Malcolm Lecompte and Dr. Andrea Lawrence in attendance at the 2008 IGARSS Conference. There were also other students in attendance, Uniquea Wade, Kaiem Frink, and Lakisha Mundon from Elizabeth City State University, Amber Smith and James Trice III from North Carolina Central University, Alvin Spivey from Rochester Institute of Technology, Willis Hawkins from South Eastern Louisiana University.

The IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society (GRSS) sponsored the 28th International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS) in Boston, Massachusetts. IGARSS is the premier international symposium on remote sensing. Every year, this meeting has focused on remote sensing theory, programs, applications, and state of the art technology. The IGARSS conference was sponsored by the following; IEEE - Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, IEEE GRSS - Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society, NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NPOESS - National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System, JAXA Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, URSI - International Union of Radio Science, ONR - Office of Naval Research, Tufts University, Rochester Institute of Technology, Ball Aerospace, Air Force Research Laboratory, NOAA GOES-R, Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems, Lockheed Martin, and ITT.

The purpose of the IGARSS Conference was to gather world-class scientists, engineers and educators to engage in the fields of geoscience and remote sensing, and to meet and present their latest activities. It is an international event, where over fifteen hundred participants from all over the world come to enjoy a week of technical sessions, tutorials, exhibits and social activities. This year's theme was "The Next Generation" which defined the focus of the 2008 Symposium on outreach. In addition to the technical sessions and workshops, the week ended with a cruise from Boston Harbor to the Port of Salem where we had dinner at the Peabody Essex Museum for the traditional Awards Banquet.

Around 8:00 am, we arrived on the campus of Boston University safe. Around 12:00 p.m, the Minority Training (MTP) Volunteer workers got registered for the conference, at the Hynes Convention Center and around 1:30 p.m, the Student Assistants were given some understanding of the tentative schedule provided for the conference. Around 5:15 p.m, we went back down to the convention center and proceeded to the 50th floor for the reception. The reception was held at the Prudential Skywalk; one of the most dramatic venues in New England. The Skywalk is atop the 52-story Prudential Tower right in the middle of Boston. The reception was a meet, and greets social experience. I met some of the other students that would be participating in the conference with Elizabeth City State University. One average it was about 25 of us, including chaperones, and mentors that came along. I also met a lady from Perdue University who was interested in telling us more about their summer internship called S.U.R.F.

On Monday July 7th, 2008 the Student Assistants and I registered, so that we could attend the poster sessions during the day. Around 11:00 am, I attended the 2008 Technical Field Awards Presentation. The IEEE Awards were to recognize and encourage the important contributions to technology, science and the profession. They honored achievements in education, industry, research and service. It also covered the IEEE interest areas from computer science, electrical engineering, information technologies, and microelectronics, to radar technologies, signal processing and beyond. I had the opportunity to sit on the first row, and take pictures of all the recipients who received awards. I also had the opportunity to take a photo with John Kerekes, the General Co-Chair of the IGARSS 08 conference from Rochester Institute of Technology. Getting up close during this event was a great opportunity. After the awards ceremony, I attended the career fair, and took pictures with the speakers also.

Around 3: 30 pm I went to attend the poster sessions. I looked at many posters, but I was interested in two that I saw. The first was titled, “Using airborne and satellite imagery to Distinguish and Map Black Mangrove along the South Texas Gulf Coast”. The authors were Tashieka James, Shobha Sriharan, James Everitt, and Chenghai Yang from Virginia State University. Their project reported the results of studies evaluating color inflared (CIR) aerial photography, CIR aerial true digital imagery, and high resolution Quickbird multispectual satellite imagery for distinguishing and mapping black mangrove populations along the lower Texas Gulf Coast. I had the opportunity to take a picture with Shobha Sriharan, who was the mentor of the students who presented the project. She also took down my email, and emailed me the full paper to read for my own interest.

The next poster was entitled, “Feasibility of using Remote Sensing Techniques to Detect Spider Mite Damage in Stone Fruit Orchards”. The authors were Mingjhua Zhang, Adam Hale, and Eike Luedeling from the University of California Davis. Since controlling spider mites on stone fruits is economically important to the California stone fruit industry, the team decided to find a way to change the damage the spider mites have done. They used Remote Sensing and other agricultural technologies, because they have proven to be useful in controlling agricultural pest, and have reduced the impact of toxic pesticides in the environment. They expected the results could facilitate the development of spatial targeted mite control strategies for precision insect management. They also had the opportunity to separate the insects that have done damage oppose to those that has benefited the fruits, like keeping other insects away.

Later that evening around 7:00 p.m, we had a meeting in a room in the Hynes Convention Center. The meeting was to get to know the minority students who attended the conference, and to hear about our plans for the future. At the beginning of the meeting, we introduced ourselves, including our name, the school we attended, and our majors. Mr. Charles Luther, Dr. Harold Annegarn, Dr. Gilbert Rochon, Dr. Mohomed Mohomed, Dr. Linda Hayden, Dr. Darnell Johnson, were also in attendance.

Afterward, we had a round with the students, and Mr. Charles Luther asked the students “Where do you think you will be in four year?” When all the students were done, he responded to his own question saying, “In four years, I’ll be knocking on your doors to make sure your achieving your dreams”. He gave a lot of good information during the process of fulfilling our dream. The first was to ask ourselves “How am I doing?” Having communication with yourself is very important, because you never want to get side tracked. He also stated that our goals could be achieved, because we have people who are willing to help us, like Mentors. Dr. Luther also explained why it was important to attend the IGARSS 2008 conference, or any conference. These conferences were advantages, because we had the opportunity to meet scientist, interact with them, feel comfortable around them, and exchange information with them. He also said that if we are asked a question, and we don’t know the answer, to respond by saying “ I’m sorry, I haven’t researched that, I will get back to you on that”. This is very important, because no one knows everything, and it’s always good to do more research on what you don’t know.

On Tuesday, July 8th, 2008, we went to the Boston Museum of Science, where we registered the first group of students, and walked around the museum. I learned some interesting things like how in the sport of baseball, the ball is thrown at 95 miles per hour, and I had the pleasure of taking a picture with my fellow peers, and being put in the background of the museum.

On Wednesday, July 9th, 2008 I had the pleasure to help out with editing the photos, and putting then on the IGARSS flyers for the people who attended the conference, and the group of children who participated in the Conference Outreach Activities. They consisted of the essay contest, where they were to talk with the vendor, and participants in the Outreach Program. During the art contest, students were to use their visual senses to explain how their experiences during the conference impacted them. Following that, the winners were presented with awards. Following that, the students had to take everything they have seen and learned, to design an IGARSS 2008 mouse pad. The students also participated in the Earthzine interviews. Earthzine is a publication of IEEE that aims to foster greater awareness of the Earth through Her observation. Earthzine interviewed participants to share it with the Earth observing community. During the interviews, students were asked questions like “What changes do you see in your environment? And how have Earth images shaped your view of the world?”

The Students also participated in Mathematics of Remote Sensing, where the students found the solutions to mathematics problems related to remote sensing and climate change. Afterward, the winners took home a medal, and a picture. Forest Watch was the last activity that students participated in. Forest Watch is a K-12 science outreach program that started at the University of New Hampshire in 1991. The Forest Watch workshop presented key components of the successful outreach program, and the participants had the opportunity to discuss parts of their research that could be used to develop similar K-12 programs for schools in their own area.

Later that evening, the volunteers, and participants took the bus to a MIT’s soccer field where we were given the opportunity to play soccer against other attendees of the conference. Two students from the Undergraduate Research Experience at Elizabeth City State University played a game of soccer, Yao Messan and Omiteliwa Oluatoba.

On Thursday, July 10th, 2008, the IGARSS You- Photo shoot was still in session. The second group of students had come to participate in the Outreach Activities, and had gotten their photos taken. Thursday night, ended with the Awards Banquet, held at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem Boston.

The most interesting part of the conference to me was the round table session with the minority students. This was the most interesting to me, because not only could I relate to what was being said, I had the opportunity to understand the importance of furthering my education, because it will only make me go from a researcher to a greater one. It also gave me the opportunity to find out how each doctor, or professor in the meeting got to where they are in their life. I enjoyed the conference, and I am looking forward to many more to come.



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