The Student-Run News Site of Carnegie Vanguard High School

Upstream News

The Student-Run News Site of Carnegie Vanguard High School

Upstream News

The Student-Run News Site of Carnegie Vanguard High School

Upstream News

Personal Column: rocks, rocs and Rox?

Arriving+to+our+very+first+day+at+the+American+Geophysical+Union+%28AGU%29.
Arriving to our very first day at the American Geophysical Union (AGU).

You know what rocks, the American Geophysical Union. I won’t get too sedimental about it because I don’t want y’all thinking that I’m lime. I will take y’all of coarse on a trip to the underground and expand y’alls horizons. 

AGU is the world’s largest symposium for geologists’ around the world. Each year, numerous scientists make groundbreaking discoveries,  speeches, presentations and answer questions about what they envision for our future. Most of the speeches used a lot of big words like paleotsunami, which to this day, I still don’t know the meaning of. But, only a few lucky high school students get to go every year with the program Bright STaRs. 

On our first day in San Francisco, we woke up to this breathtaking sunrise (Roxell Bonilla)

In eighth grade, my IPC teacher told me to apply to the program, GeoFORCE, with the Jackson School of Geosciences at The University of Texas at Austin. The program allows high school students to travel to Oregon, Washington and Nevada to see the landmarks of the United States while learning about the geophysical structures of every place. At first, I didn’t enjoy the idea of studying geology. I thought the Earth was boring and had nothing to it but carbon emissions everywhere. But, in my junior year, we traveled to Oregon. By then I started to love mountains and forests, so this trip was perfect! Not. By the third day, we were sent home because guess what? Our coordinator caught COVID-19! YAY. I was completely devastated. However, our last year this past summer, was about research, and this trip would change my life forever. I met so many amazing people and learned so much from my instructors. The ability to study in the field and do research in labs like a real scientist made me fall in love with research. I already loved doing research because of TPSP, but this strengthened my passion and allowed me to help lead my team to win in our category for a trip to AGU.

The Golden Gate Bridge in all it’s glory. Fun fact: It’s not actually gold (Roxell Bonilla)

This experience made me start to rethink my entire future. I had fallen so incredibly in love with geology, I had to change all of my essays and majors to all the schools I applied to. Of course, I applied to UT. They have one of the best geology programs in the nation, and UT has been my dream school from the beginning of time. 

Story continues below advertisement

Fast forward (again) to December, it was time for AGU. I was so excited because being able to meet other people with the same interests made the community feel so much larger than it truly is.

We arrived and jumped right into our research; my research (I forgot to mention) regarded the optimal methods for monitoring the changes in Texas coastlines on short timescales to determine which map would best monitor the beaches before further erosion. The very next morning we left for AGU to present our projects to other students, scientists and professors from different universities. There were so many people from all over the world. This was the moment I realized that AGU was an opportunity of a lifetime.

I now know that I could do geology moving forward and make it a lifelong pursuit. Something I had originally hated and over time grew to love. I guess you could say, they don’t call me (Rock)xell for nothing. Sorry. 

The super yummy Chinese food that I got after AGU. (Ilse Ninette Fernandez)

The next morning we headed back to AGU, bright and early in the morning. Where we completed our final sessions. The one that caught my eye the most was about tsunamis. The scientists presenting the research were in the process of creating a piece of technology that could detect tsunamis before they even started. Then after that session, we watched a session about volcanic eruptions in the ocean affecting different islands around them.

After finishing up our final session, we headed over to the pier where we ate lunch at apparently one of the best restaurants for clam chowder. I unfortunately did not try it because I am scared of food poisoning (throwback to the GeoFORCE trip in July where I got food poisoning on the first day there).

Then, drum roll, we headed to the Golden Gate Bridge! We made a pit stop at the store and took the liberty to buy a few things for some people I love back home. We took pictures and were completely transparent. Guys, the Golden Gate Bridge is not GOLD. It was crazy to me. JK! But, I expected a lot more from it, but it’s a bridge, what more can you expect?

Spending my final night with my friends playing Cards Against Humanity by the pool. (Roxell Bonilla)

By the end of our time at the bridge, we headed to this place sitting in the beautiful little Chinatown they have. Mind you, freezing cold. But it’s ok. And we were seated outside and greeted with warm plates of food. Each plate of food had its very own unique taste, nothing I had ever tasted before. But to say the least, it was juicy, tender and delicious.

By the time we had finished, I was stuffed to the brim. With amazing food, better than I’ve ever had to say the least. The beef was tender, and the cauliflower so filled with flavor. I had never tasted anything like it. Something I would love to experience again. 

Our final night, watching the city in action before I destroyed everyone in Cards Against Humanity (I lost). (Roxell Bonilla)

After our long day, we headed back to the hotel where all the friends I had made and I went out to the pool patio and sat in those fancy- schmancy-looking chairs. We were having a blast playing cards against humanity. I think at this very moment in time, I kind of fell in love with everyone around me. Laughing and having the time of our lives like nothing in the world mattered. We played for maybe 4-5 hours. Until it was time to hit the hay. 

If I could go back and re-experience my time at AGU, I would a million times. Not only did I meet so many people from around the world, but the opportunity gave me the ability to expand my horizons, explore the untouched world and fall in love with geoscience. I don’t regret any decisions I’ve made along the way.

Leave a Comment
Donate to Upstream News
$150
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Carnegie Vanguard High School. Your contribution will allow us to cover our annual website hosting costs and fund field trips, competition fees, and equipment. We appreciate your support!

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Roxell Bonilla, Sports Editor
Roxell is a senior at CVHS. She loves sports of all kinds, especially soccer and volleyball, and even runs some sports clubs here at Carnegie. She also loves frogs, with the cute tree frog being one of her favorites. She has three dogs and four cats at home—one of which is named Kiwi.
Donate to Upstream News
$150
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All Upstream News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *