Early in 2020, the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic swept across the globe, affecting communities in all countries and across all demographics. UCI was no exception, and instruction moved to an online format beginning in Spring quarter. As for most people experiencing quarantine for the first time, times were trying for all of us. Isolation and lack of structure were challenging, as was adjusting to teaching and learning remotely, and for those of us with childern, the homeschooling was grueling!
But we had an opportunity to maintain some semblance of former normalcy in the face of the "new normal." The Mackey Lab continued our tradition of weekly lab meetings and found they were indispensible for checking in, sharing experiences, and maintaining morale. Each week, we began the meetings by going around the virtual Zoom classroom, with each person mentioning a "silver lining" that had come out of the quarantine experience. Examples included experiences such as: reconnecting with family and friends more frequently, getting outside for more walks and enjoying nature, resurrecting past hobbies, trying new recipes, beginning new volunteer activities remotely to engage diverse communities, and many more. Weekly Zoom themes helped keep things interesting. We were even able to see our undergraduate researchers graduate remotely and receive their well-earned green MackeyLab graduation cords...check out their graduation page!
Quarantine was still a bit novel, and we commemorated the experience by donning our beautiful face masks.
It was Sam's birthday this week, and the lab organized a surprise party via Zoom with the help of Sam's partner, Mahul. Jess baked a delicious cake and delivered slices ahead of time to each of the lab members, leaving a piece outside our doors. We ordered Sam an art drawing set with colored pencils and other supplies, as she is a wonderful artist!
Not every week was easy during quarantine, and week 7 was particularly depressing. In an effort to show optimism for a brighter future, we imagined making it through the challenges and smiled.
By now, we were all experts with Zoom, so the obvious choice of theme this week was to choose a background...and what better choice for an oceanography lab than waves! A huge bloom of bioluminescent Lingulodinium algae off SoCal had been going on for a few weeks, so Ashton presented on bioluminescence, complete with complimentary Zoom background!
Almost time to graduate... We celebrated by asking our fabulous undergraduate researchers to don their mortar boards.
Earth System Science's official Zoom background.