Haydee Salmun presented as part of the women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) lecture series on Wednesday February 15 in Sheldon’s Hall historic classroom.
Salmun’s presentation was called “A turbulent journey of doing science on a fluid earth.”
“Most of my work is about studying turbulent processes,” Salmun said.
Salmun is an associate professor of geography in the department of earth science and works with the department of energy and environmental studies at CUNY Hunter.
Some of Dr. Salmun areas of interest are in environmental fluid mechanics, climate dynamics, oceanography and coastal processes within the field of geography.
Along with many of her accomplishments, Salmun is a committed activist for minorities and underrepresented women in science. She has published in the field of feminist science. Salmun is one of a select group of nine females in STEM principal investigators of catalyst scholarship programs since 2009.
Salmun currently conducts research with the Laboratory for Marine and Atmospheric Research (L-MAR). According to Salmun, L-MAR investigates interactions between the land surface and the atmosphere. The processes that they study are characterized as small-scale turbulent processes. The program also conducts research on storms and planetary boundary layer. The programs also deal with students on different levels up until graduate school.
Along with her presentation, Salmun discussed some of her achievements throughout her life. Her first personal achievement was being able to work with the University at Missouri shadowing physicians. One person that she remembers who helped her with her Ph.D. was Mr. Phillips.
“Mr. Phillips believed in me and encouraged me that I can pursue a career in physics,” Salmun said.
Salmun was eager to pursue a career that worked with fluid mechanics but in this country, she learned that it is not taught in physics and many people recommended she go into engineering. Throughout, her journey Salmun stayed positive about her career goal and continued to make achievements.
Some of her researches were based on environmental fluid mechanics, climate change, oceanography and coastal processes.
Another achievement that Salmun mentioned was being able to work at CUNY Hunter College.
“Coming to Hunter was great and while I started working at the college they decided to obtain advance money from the National Science Foundation (NSF) which changed a lot about Hunter and people’s lives like me,” Salmun said.
Salmun mentioned that the college has been proactive with grants to support various projects, which gave her the possibility to pursue her interest.
During the presentation, Salmun talked about her struggles with her graduate thesis paper.
“It took me nearly three and a half years to publish my paper and hear good results from agencies that reviewed my paper,” Salmun said.
Salmun mentioned that the rejection of part of her thesis statement is something that she had to defend. She added, “Some challenges we encounter are subtle and some are very damaging.”
“Reviewers of my thesis decided that I should only publish the results of experiments when I was trying to explain myself with some of the topics,” Salmun said. “I remember one of the reviewers telling me that I should leave the science field for those that know about it.”
She earned her B.S from the University of Buenos Aires, M.S. from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Department of Physics and her PhD in Oceanography at John Hopkins University. She is the first member of her family to hold a degree.