Jeramy Dedrick is a second-year PhD student in the climate sciences program at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego. He grew up in Temple, Texas and from a young age was inspired by extreme weather and hurricanes in the Gulf. He later attended Texas A&M University to pursue an undergraduate degree in meteorology and a master's degree in ocean science. Dedrick’s research has evolved from regional weather observation to atmospheric and oceanic trace gas measurement. Now, his research focuses on aerosol-cloud-climate interactions. He is currently advised by Scripps Oceanography scientists Lynn Russell and Dan Lubin.
explorations now: Why did you choose to attend Scripps?
Jeramy Dedrick: I was first introduced to Scripps in the spring and summer of 2017 through the suggestion of a mentor who thought I'd be a good candidate for the Scripps Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF). Through SURF, I was able to work with encouraging mentors and students from diverse academic, social, and cultural backgrounds. The department provided an atmosphere that was welcoming and productive for my growth as a new researcher and inspired me to pursue a graduate education. When considering my options for graduate school, Scripps remained at the top of my lists both as a reputable institution where impactful research was being conducted and as having an environment of support that would allow me to thrive as a graduate student. The proximity to a beautiful beach just steps away was also a big plus!
en: What are you researching at Scripps and how did you become interested in this field?
JD: I always had an inquisitive interest in weather from a young age. Interdisciplinary experiences during my undergraduate career and observing the current state of our climate have led me to a more focused interest in climate science. Combining my knowledge and training in atmospheric and oceanic sciences, I currently research the physical and chemical processes affecting low cloud formation in what are considered "pristine" marine environments, or regions where human influences on air particle concentrations are low. My current work uses seasonal and long-term observations from field studies at remote locations in the tropical South Atlantic and the Antarctic where low clouds are not well understood, especially in the context of climate change.
en: What’s life like as a Scripps student? Describe a typical day.
JD: As I start my second year in a new normal of quarantine, the typical day begins with an early morning cup of coffee and a review of the daily area forecast discussion by the National Weather Service to give my mind a gentle scientific warmup. I then spend a few hours writing and debugging codes to analyze one of the large observational datasets that I maintain for research. I spend the rest of my day intermittently attending committee, club, and advising meetings through Zoom, reading relevant research papers, and going on walks/jogs to clear my mind from the quarantined monotony.
en: What’s the most exciting thing about your work?
JD: Completing work on observations collected in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic provide new insights that have not yet been considered due to a lack of observations in these regions. The novelty of these explorations is both the most exciting and terrifying thing about my work! With the ability to investigate new findings in these regions I also have very few points of reference to direct my analysis. This deterrent is balanced by the knowledge that my work will contribute to the improvement of climate models for more accurate future projections by constraining uncertainty of poorly understood processes in these remote areas.
en: Are there any role models or mentors who have helped you along the way?
JD: I point toward three mentors during my academic career: my current advisor Dr. Lynn Russell, SURF coordinator Dr. Jane Teranes, and my master's degree advisor Dr. Shari Yvon-Lewis. Their immense amount of knowledge inspires me and their continued support of my growth as a scientist has encouraged me to pursue many opportunities both within and outside academia, further enriching my experience as a graduate student. Without them I wouldn't have had the belief or support to pursue a doctoral degree.
en: What are some of the challenges you face as a student?
JD: A big challenge that I face as a student is finding the significance of my work in a world complicated by many impositions. Considering the current challenges pervading society as an African-American scientist, my work can at times seem both esoteric and trivial. I continually remind myself that though I'm only a small piece in the grand scheme of things, my work and activities contribute to the improvement of society by progressing our knowledge of climate and helping to provide and inspire opportunities for groups not well-represented in this field.
en: What are your plans post-Scripps?
JD: As only a second-year student I don't yet have concrete plans post-Scripps, but I hope to be an influential scientist and advocate for inclusion and diverse representation within the fields of atmospheric and climate science either in an academic or government research role.
You can find Jeramy on Twitter @jeramy_d95.