In December of 2023, Earth Scientists from around the globe converged on the city of San Francisco for the American Geophysical Union conference. This was the first time AGU was back in San Francisco since 2019. The Moscone Convention Center had recently undergone some updates. The convention center was all set to host AGU. From AGU: “Each year, AGU’s annual meeting convenes >25,000 attendees from 100+ countries to share research and connect with friends and colleagues. Scientists, educators, policymakers, journalists and communicators attend AGU23 to better understand our planet and environment, opening pathways to discovery, opening greater awareness to address climate change, opening greater collaborations to lead to solutions and opening the fields and professions of science to a whole new age of justice equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging.” AGU has typically been well attended by the Earth & Environmental Sciences department, and this year was no different. A group of nearly 40 people made up of faculty, students, researchers and postdocs made the trip out to the conference to present and attend talks and poster sessions. Additionally, the department had a grad recruitment booth staffed by Graduate Program Coordinator, Jen Petrie, and Communications Specialist, Kaleigh Swift. The Continental Scientific Drilling Facility, and Polar Geospatial Center also had booths at the conference. This AGU also marked the department’s first time hosting its annual Alumni Reception at AGU, instead of GSA where it has historically been hosted.

Jen and Kaleigh posing at the Nasa booth at AGU
Jen Petrie and Kaleigh Swift at the NASA booth in the AGU exhibition hall.

The scene at the grad recruitment booth was an exciting one! For starters, Jen Petrie made the extremely wise executive decision to request that our booth be located not near the other campus connection booths, but rather, near the center of the hall. “Why?” you may ask. The answer is simple: Jen’s desired placement put us in a direct line of sight of the puppy play area. Additional benefits included being near the restrooms and food/bars. It was a very strategic decision. One that was also made by Kat Cantner of the Continental Scientific Drilling Facility, who placed their booth directly next to the puppy play area. These locations meant our booths saw relatively high traffic for the full duration of the conference, as evidenced by the amount of swag that was not sent back to Minneapolis.

puppies in the play area at AGU
Puppies in the puppy play area.

Many attendees stopped to have conversations with folks in the department about our programs. We also had many people stop to peruse and take our eye catching swag, which is also welcomed! The department is well known for setting up an abundant swag table, with unique and creative items that are well worth taking home. Some popular items include engraved carabiners, doggy bag dispensers (shaped like a bone of course!), some newly designed stickers created by grad student, Madeline Taylor, and ever popular core bookmarks. Several of these items were so popular that they didn’t even last the first two days at the booth. Staffing the booth is a rewarding experience that allows staff, grad students, and faculty to connect with prospective students, faculty or researchers from other universities, and of course, Alumni of the department! One of our current graduate students who joined the department in fall 2023 we met at AGU in Chicago in 2022.

Students staffing the grad recruitment booth at AGU
Students staffing the grad recruitment booth.

Alumni also had the opportunity to connect with folks in the department at our Annual Alumni Reception, which took place on Monday Dec. 11th at the Chieftain Irish Pub. ESCI was eager to host this year's reception at AGU in hopes of getting a good turn out at this more well attended conference. It did not disappoint! There were nearly 70 alumni, staff, faculty, students, and researchers who attended the event, where they mixed and mingled over some tasty bites and drinks! The department will likely continue to host this event at AGU going forward, so keep that in mind if you’re hoping to attend future receptions!

Justin Revenaugh (department head), Ikuko Wada (faculty), Max Bezada (faculty) at the alumni reception
Ikuko Wada, Max Bezada, and Justin Revenaugh at the Alumni Reception


Jen Petrie and alumni at alumni reception
Jen Petrie and Alumnus Fernando at AGU


Kang Research Group at the alumni reception
Kang Research group at the alumni reception.

All in all it was a successful journey to San Francisco for AGU. ESCI will be back to AGU next year in Washington D.C.!