Computer modeling volcanoes
Jabari Hastings, '20, made a difficult choice after his freshman year to stay at Stanford over the summer instead of returning home to Kingston, Jamaica. And he hopes the decision will make a lasting impact on his future. “I think before this, I might have romanticized research – you don't know exactly what research entails and, for example, how much reading you have to do, until you do it.” As a participant with the Stanford Earth Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SESUR), he worked with Jenny Suckale’s SIGMA group, which studies volcanoes, glaciers, and other processes. Using computer modeling that simulates different processes in volcanoes, he adjusted the parameters to incorporate data about the properties of Mount Erebus in Antarctica in order to better understand its eruption patterns.
Hastings first heard about the SESUR program from Stanford Earth professor Eric Dunham, whose Ice, Water, Fire geophysics class he took during Winter Quarter. “I always had this interest in Earth and the natural phenomena, trying to understand why they happen,” Hastings said. “Geophysics seemed to combine some of the things I was really interested in, like math, and it had some numerical simulations.” He recommends that other undergraduate students take advantage of programs like SESUR in order to dive more deeply into a subject under the guidance of Stanford faculty and graduate students. “Reach out to as many professors as possible, I would say, because the projects are really interesting and if you look, you'll find something.”