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A picture of Rollins Chapel with the sunset.

Since the fall, Dartmouth has offered a limited number of in-person classes for undergraduates, instead prioritizing online courses. While I've had a really great experience with online classes since getting to Dartmouth, I've really been craving the student-professor interactions that form from in-person classes. Luckily for me, my Earth Science class this term just transitioned to an in-person format!

Already my favorite class before moving to in-person, "Big Data Science in Hydrology" pulls content from computer science, environmental statistics, and hydrology—the study of the movement of Earth's water—to form a really interesting interdisciplinary class. The class has no prerequisites and my classmates come from a variety of academic backgrounds, from—obviously—earth science to computer science and biology.

While the first half of the course is an intensive dive into programming in R, we're also getting a ton of exposure to the science of hydrology, which we're learning through data analysis. Our homework assignments require us to analyze extremely large data sets to draw conclusions about hydrology. For example, the homework for tomorrow's class asked us to program a probability-weighted randomized simulation of 100 years of individual precipitation events based on 20,000 pieces of data collected by the Shattuck Observatory on campus. In running these simulations, we learned about water management and the considerations an engineer might think about before building a reservoir or planning for floods.

Beyond academics, the class is also a really great opportunity to connect with other students interested in studying earth science, especially since there are only 9 students in the class. Between the hours spent together in class and office hours, I'm sure that I'll be able to develop strong bonds within the class, which I'm super hype about.

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