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Meet Philipp Arndt

Tell us a bit about your background: I am originally from Munich, Germany. I moved to America for college, studying Mathematics and Economics at Yale University. Then I moved to Sweden to do a Master's studying Complex Systems at Chalmers University of Technology, and now I am back here in the US to study glaciers. I've been all over the place - geographically and academically - but my diverse background has often helped me tackle research questions in novel ways. My main reason for attending graduate school is curiosity. I'm a big fan of adventurous outdoorsy activities and fascinated by the complexity of nature. I want to better understand how our planet ""works"" and what we can do to preserve its beauty. 

What are you studying/researching? “Satellite remote sensing of surface hydrology on Antarctic ice shelves” would be the most accurate way of saying it. Without the big words it means that I use satellites to look at how Antarctica melts. Some might even say I'm saving polar bears. A bit more detail is given here: I work at the Scripps Polar Center, with Professor Helen Fricker.

Tell us about your professional experience and campus involvement at UC San Diego: I am part of the UCSD gymnastics team and can't wait until we can go back to a regular practice schedule and competition season! I love that San Diego allows me to live in a place that is close to the beach and where it practically never rains, yet I can get to the mountains fairly quickly for backpacking, rock climbing, or skiing. I also occasionally go surfing. 

Why UC San Diego? I visited a bunch of potential places for grad school, and after that I just knew that I wanted to come to UCSD :) Also it's one of the best places on planet Earth to study the planet. 

Have you been awarded any fellowships or grants during graduate school? If so, which ones? "I received a 3-year NASA FINESST (Future Investigators in NASA Earth and Space Science and Technology ) grant to fund my proposed project “Exploitation of ICESat-2's Unique Capabilities and Machine Learning for Improved Understanding of Mass Balance Processes Across all Antarctic Ice Shelves''. I also got the UCSD Recreation Academic Excellence Award, and the National Association of Intercollegiate Gymnastics Scholar-Athlete Award.

What has been your favorite part about your graduate experience at UC San Diego? Our first-year cohort of Climate Science students at Scripps had a shared office with an ocean view. In the evening we would often collectively stop doing work for a few minutes to watch the sunset together. That was nice. I also went to Antarctica for my graduate work for two months in 2019. We were living in a tent on the ice/snow and flying around in a small airplane to retrieve GPS instruments and data from the ice sheet. That was pretty exciting too.