I am a converted southerner from Quito, Ecuador. I enjoy everything South Carolina has to offer from their beautiful Charleston beaches to their peaceful mountains in the upstate. However, I still plan to ultimately travel the world, maybe even go on my own 'Eat, Pray, Love' expedition. I also love learning about anything there is to learn about from different cultures to the environment and everything in between.
My research project that I will be involved in for the next 8 weeks at Clemson University is Data Visualization for Sustainability and Environmentalism. I will be coming up with visually appealing ways to target residents in specific areas around South Carolina to prevent water pollution.
The working research question for this project is: What are different perceptions of environmental responsibility and water pollution management practices in the five regions of South Carolina and how can social media marketing, 3D visualization, and a designed pamphlet raise awareness to prioritize conservation actions?
So far this week I have learned more about the project I will be working on and have finished reading the book "Fostering Sustainable Behavior" by Doug McKenzie-Mohr and William Smith. By the end of this week I will have also finished reading Dr. Catherine Mobley's article called "What Matters When Explaining Environmentalism at the Watershed Level: Who You Are, Where You Live, What You See, or What You Perceive?" I have come up with rough drafts for possible working research questions and possible visualization softwares I could use. The beginning of next week I hope to have come up with a research questions and software program to get the ball rolling in this research project.
Beginning this week the research questions seems to be reaching its final stages. The software program used to visualize the social media marketing aspect of this project is Radian6. Below is a rough screenshot of the beginning progress of Radian6, which I hope will ultimately publicize the impacts of water pollution and raise awareness in how to become more environmentally sustainable.
The word cloud to the left of the picture are the key words searched in different social media (twitter, facebook, forums, news outlets, etc) and the tweets to the right of the photo are the live tweets from everywhere in the United States of people who are talking about the current predicament of water pollution (i.e. the key words from the word cloud). The bar graph in the bottom of the photo is the most used social media, which is important because now we know that if we want to publicize awareness through media, the most popular/most frequently watched is facebook. As the week has come to an end I now know what software programs I will be working with and have received tutoring on how to work them. The programs I will be using are Radian6, arcGIS (geographic information systems), and adobe illustrator and indesign. As previously noted, Radian6 will cover the social media marketing aspect and arcGIS will cover the data visualization aspect to show residents' understanding about water management and sustainable actions in the five regions of South Carolina. Adobe illustrator and indesign is something extra to hopefully be handed out at schools, shops, companies, etc. around the area to enhance public understanding and conservation actions.
This was probably the most productive week because now I fully understand what I should be focusing on researching and designing. The last two weeks I was spending my time understanding arcGIS and Radian6, but I was not on the most effective path to complete the project in time. Now that the basic structure of asrcGIS and Radian6 are complete, I have shifted focus to answer part of my research question stating "...raise awareness to prioritize conservation actions". I will do this by creating a creative and unique pamphlet of sort to be dispersed in South Carolina to raise consciousness about water pollution. This will be done by using Adobe Illustrator and Indesign. I hope to by next week have the pamphlet complete and by the end of next week have my mentors input to empliment it the following week.
This week has been all about preparing for midterms, which are next week. I am relieved to say I have finished my presentation and somehow managed to present it, in front of my bathroom mirror, within the given time frame of five minutes. I am also relieved to go through with midterms because no matter what the result will be (if we go to the conference or not) it is still nonetheless an amazing opportunity. This week has also been a wake up call of how fast time has flown. After this week, we will only have three more weeks until this program is over! Very hard to believe.
Week 5 was without a doubt one of the most stressful, yet the most rewarding weeks. From learning about elevator pitches to presenting our work at the midterm. It was rewarding in all aspects, just like everyday here at Clemson is. That being said, what I worked on this week besides the midterm presentation was GIS, which stands for Geographical Information System. What I will be using this tool for is incorporating all the data that was created and analyzed by my mentors and aking it accessible for the publuc. This will be just as beneficial as the flip-book because by using the GIS program all of the data (not just part of it) will become public. Below is a screenshot of the progress so far. I am also pleased to say that I was one of the 5 students selected to attend the XSEDE conference in St. Louis! Also, that I am working on submitting an article to REUNS 2015 in Texas. Another event to look forward to is the CSS REU mini-conference in Charleston!
It's hard to believe that this project and program is almost over. This last week was more about finalizing and editing my project. Though, there is still a vast amount of work to do, it's rewarding seeing the progress that has already been made. This week I will be focusing on organizing my project to put the information in a poster, writing and finishing my RENUS paper, as well as, meeting with a graphic designer for help and guidance with the educational flip-book. This last weekend was another memorable experience. The whole cohort traveled to the College of Charleston for the CSS REU mini-conference. The conference brought in students from UNC-Charlotte, NC State, Auburn, and Clemson University. At the conference everyone had to do a two minute lightening talk and answer questions from the audience members. I learned a lot in this weekend, one being that there are other very efficient tools and software programs to display survey data, much like the data I am using now from my mentors. Another thing I learned was that no matter how big or small a conference might be it is still nonetheless an experience. This weekend opened my mind from all the extraordinary projects that were presented to the great people I met there. I am very appreacitive and thankful to have this experience.
These past weeks have been especially busy, and this week was no exception. Finals are right around the corner meaning that I have reached the stage of creating my poster presentation. This is very exciting, since it is my first poster. I have been in touch with Dr. Rogowitz, a human vision and perception expert, for some additional feedback on how to better it. Another exciting moment this week was that I finally finished and submitted the article for the REUNS 2015 conference!
Where to begin? This has without a doubt been one of the most rewarding experiences. I have learned more and gotten more comfortable about a subject that I have alaways been vulnerable to: computing and coding. With the final week of the VisREU program being over, I am happy to say that I will see this cohort again on July 26th in St. Louis for our next conference. Also, thank you to Dr. Byrd for this would have not been possible without her hardwork and passion for this program.
Last updated: 07/22/2015