Ocean Sciences 2020 - San Diego

Julia Rulent

Bangor University


‘You should go present your results at a proper conference’ – words every PhD student hears at some point in their study, and easier said than done, especially if you are self-funded. This time, things turned out for the best!

I’m extremely grateful to the Challenger society for granting me the travel fund that allowed me to attend Ocean Sciences 2020 in San Diego, California. This was by far the greatest international conference I’ve ever attended so far. Not only that, but the travel award was an essential contribution for me to stay an extra week after the conference to work at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

The first week in Ocean Sciences was an incredible experience. I arrived a day in advance and first dropped by the conference centre at night, out of curiosity. It took me a good twenty minutes to convince myself that the giant space-ship like, LED light loaded building in front of me was indeed the place where I was going to present. Absolutely terrifying, yet amazing.

Then the conference started, hectic and overwhelming as it should be. I spent the next five days running around sessions and posters, mostly between the ‘air-sea interaction’, the ‘near-shore processes’ and the ‘Extreme sea levels and coastal flooding’ sessions. I found that what I like the most of this conference though was being able to occasionally drop by sessions from a different field and learn new unexpected things. It is worth making the most of the plenaries and workshops as well.  

I got the chance to meet many old and new friends, from my undergraduate, from previous field expeditions, and from the conference’s networking. All of them made the effort to get out of bed on the last day of conference to come to my presentation at 8:15 am. I hope it was worth their effort. From my part it was great to be able to share my results on that stage and get useful feedback on my research and presentation.

The following week in Scripps was just as good. I got the chance to work with experts in my field in one of the most renowned oceanography universities in world and see how research gets done in a completely different setting. It was incredibly instructive to go there and discuss the latest updates our research and set up bases for future collaboration.

I am originally from Italy and moved to UK for an Mdegree in Physical Oceanography at Bangor University, which included a year abroad in China. Now I am a PhD student registered in Bangor University but sitting at the National Oceanography Centre in Liverpool.  My research deals with understanding the interaction between waves, tides and surges during extreme events and the conditions that can lead to high total water level at the UK coast using coupled wave-ocean-atmosphere numerical model.


I had an amazing experience presenting in Ocean Sciences 2020 and visiting Scripps. I learnt a lot that can improve my research!

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