Icebreakers in the Alps: the 2022 SGT Retreat

Authored by Emily Hinshaw.

The Structural Geology and Tectonics research group headed for Monte Carasso this November for the first group retreat in 3 years. Whitney pointed out in the first session of the trip that most of this year’s attendees have joined the group within the past 3 years! As for me, I had arrived in Switzerland just a day prior and was excited to dive right in.

The view to the Alps from the inn.

This year’s retreat was structured with science-focused sessions in the afternoons, mixed with some non-technical discussions. Technical sessions included overviews in geological concepts such as petrochronology and numerical modeling. Lonnie and Venice gave the group a crash-course on the tectonic history of southern Alaska. We also learned about exciting new developments and opportunities in the Rock Physics and Mechanics (RPM) and ScopeM facilities. 

We went for a hike to walk through this amazing bridge!

As for the discussion sessions, Jonas and Leif led an engaging conversation about the evolving landscape of scientific publishing. Our second discussion session focused on gender inequality in the geosciences in Switzerland, and specifically at ETH-Zurich. We looked at demographic data for our own department and talked about what we could be doing as a group to address these issues more frequently.

This was the view from the bridge! Amazing, right?

A group retreat would be incomplete without some friendly competitions. Everyone in the group participated in a lively ‘elevator pitch’ contest (congratulations to Markus and Jesus). We also voted on a design for new group merchandise. Unfortunately, the SGT-themed socks did not prevail, so stay tuned for some jazzy SGT T-shirts. Other memorable moments included a morning hike to a nearby swinging bridge, delicious food, and multilingual karaoke. 

One of the major highlights was an icebreaker game, organized by Betti. It turns out that eclogite and blueschist are the most popular ‘favorite rocks’ in the group (surprise, surprise), and that Betti and Markus are tied for ‘shortest names’. Other fun questions included, “Who do you think is most likely to survive a zombie apocalypse?” and, “How many liters of milk do you drink per month?”. Feel free to leave your answers in the comments below 🙂

Group photo of the happy SGT people.

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