Illinois ECE graduate student elected Student Representative of NSF Geospace Environment Modeling program
Illinois ECE graduate student Mei-Yun Lin has been elected as the Student Representative for the prestigious NSF Geospace Environment Modeling program. Advised by Illinois ECE Professor Raluca Ilie, Lin will advocate for the student community at all of the GEM Workshop planning meetings including a business meeting in the fall held by the NSF, and meetings during the GEM Workshop as the Student Representative. The Student Representative also organizes student tutorials and presentation competitions during the workshop and is also granted a seat and voting privileges in the GEM Steering Committee. This appointment lasts for two years.
The Geospace Environment Modeling (GEM) program is a broad-based research program that aims to support research of the near-Earth space environment, through coordination and collaboration across the geospace scientific community. One of the main goals of this program is to develop predictive capabilities of the highly dynamical environment stretching from the low atmosphere out to space, and that can impact many space-borne and ground-based technologies. The GEM program also supports strong student involvement in its activities. Each year, around 150 GEM students participate in the annual GEM workshop and elect their Student Representative by a ballot vote.
"Lin’s contributions to the GEM community started three years ago and have been substantial. Her strong research skills and comprehensive understanding of the GEM focus topics were recognized during the summer of 2018 when she was awarded the Best Student Presentation Award during the GEM workshop, which distinguishes the top 2% of student attendees," said Ilie.
"Since then, she has continued to be an active part of the GEM student community. She participated in and volunteered to be a moderator of focus group sessions, student tutorials, and plenary talks introductions."
The students in the GEM community are composed of different cultural backgrounds. According to Virtual GEM 2020, 30% of the GEM students come from graduate schools outside the US and a significant portion of the GEM students are non-native speakers, from either US or international institutions. This year, Lin was the only non-native speaker candidate out of four for the Student Representative position
Upon being elected, Lin plans to build a strong and inclusive GEM student community, one that welcomes diverse backgrounds, opinions, and personalities, embodying Illinois ECE's spirit of excellence and inclusivity. In particular, she would like to support an environment where both introverted and extroverted personalities are accepted and heard, so that everyone feels comfortable expressing their opinions on science, culture, and society (e.g. issues related to LGBTQ representation in science). She also plans to leverage her position as Student Representative to increase communication between students and more senior scientists, an interaction that many students feel is currently lacking at GEM workshops.