Journey to the Center of myFOSSIL: One Graduate Student’s Perspective

By Lisa Lundgren (@llundgren)

NAPC 2019 was the culmination of all my experiences with the FOSSIL Project. At NAPC 2014, I started as Lisa Lundgren, a project assistant with the FOSSIL Project. At that time, I had no idea that the FOSSIL project would be a pillar of my life for the next five years. I knew the project was the start of something huge: studying the collaboration and learning of paleontologists from across the continuum of expertise (amateurs! Museum paleontologists! Fossil prep lab volunteers! Grad students!), but I was an absolute novice in regards to all things paleontology. 

At NAPC 2014,  started live tweeting talks using the FOSSIL project’s twitter handle (@projectFOSSIL), which I have since used as a technique to summarize every conference I’ve attended since. I emailed people setting up their reimbursements, which helped me gain a sense of the community involved in paleontology. I furiously took notes, which the FOSSIL project research team used to find pathways forward for our research. 

At NAPC 2019, I was Dr. Lisa Lundgren, who had just finished her doctoral dissertation which was funded by the FOSSIL Project. I was still live tweeting, but instead of taking notes in the audience, I presented alongside previous FOSSIL project coordinators, describing how the FOSSIL project centered social media to engage with the paleontological community as well as presented findings from my dissertation, which looked learning on the myFOSSIL website. I listened to presentations by paleontologists across the continuum of expertise whose myFOSSIL website postings I had read and who I had connected with over the past five years. At NAPC 2019, I felt like I was a part of the paleontological community, which was diverse, welcoming, and chock-full of expertise. I’m so grateful that I was able to be a part of it!

I was also fortunate to meet up with some of my online collaborators in person!

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