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SOSE Student to Represent USM at Prestigious NASA Hackathon

Fri, 05/24/2024 - 08:56am | By: Gabriela Shinskie

Gabriel Hesketh, a Ph.D. student in the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) School of Ocean Science and Engineering (SOSE), is putting his coding skills to the test at the NASA Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem (PACE) Project and Ocean Carbon Biogeochemistry (OCB) Program hackathon at the University of Maryland.

Hesketh is one of 30 scientists who will network with other marine scientists and represent USM at the event in August. He believes his participation is important in furthering his scientific scholarship through the testing of new data and modeling work as a data-science driven oceanographic researcher. Hesketh considers the hackathon a great opportunity to bring programmers together for a specific interest.

Hesketh’s research focuses on the study of the connection between climate-driven phytoplankton blooms and increases in atmospheric aerosols from wildfires, which are becoming more prevalent. By analyzing PACE’s advanced data, he will gain understanding of the impact on marine ecosystems and atmosphere.

"The NASA PACE Hackweek presents a significant opportunity for the marine science community,” Hesketh said. “I am honored to participate in this program and look forward to academic and scientific growth as well as the potential research collaborations that this program will generate."

The PACE mission formed from years of research and determination from science communities who continue to emphasize the importance of modern science capabilities and technology for future generations of scientists. The social coding event will take participants into the world of Earth science data and PACE NASA mission; a plethora of lectures and coding activities will give students like Hesketh opportunities in cloud computing, satellite, and geospatial analysis through a program called Python.

Dr. Diana Bernstein, assistant professor in the SOSE, is proud Hesketh was chosen to represent USM and noted the importance of the hackathon to help student researchers and others better understand climate change’s impact on oceans and atmosphere.

“Gabriel's participation in the PACE data hackweek is an extraordinary opportunity to work directly with this cutting-edge satellite dataset,” Dr. Bernstein said. “Furthermore, collaborating with NASA scientists will help him develop invaluable skills in data analysis, remote sensing, and earth systems science - expertise that will be vital as he pursues his career and helps deepen our understanding of the impacts of climate change.”

Learn more about the School of Ocean Science and Engineering.