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Blue Dot 213: A REAL Science Project: Ellery McQuilkin and a High Sierra Glacier

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Ellery McQuilkin

Dave visits with Lee Vining High School junior Ellery McQuilkin about a very real science project that has earned her spots in the California State Science and Engineering Fair as well as the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair as a finalist.

High above her small town in California's Mono County, the Sierra crest towers with its rapidly shrinking glaciers. McQuilkin was one of the first to study the glacier that sits below 13,061' Mt. Dana in the Ansel Adams Wilderness bordering Yosemite National Park. Her work measuring the volume and movement of the glacier is an important study of how climate change is affecting Sierra's dwindling ice fields.

McQuilkin's advisor for the project, Yosemite National Park Geologist Greg Stock, also joins Dave to talk about the big picture of the Sierra's glacial past, present, and future as well as what it was like working with a very talented young scientist.

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Ellery McQuilkin

Dave Schlom has taught the physical sciences at Corning Union High School since 1991. A lifelong amateur astronomer and astronomy educator, he has a passion for both the earth and the space sciences, which are the principal areas of focus for guests on Blue Dot. He started doing radio interviews on space and astronomy topics for local stations like KFM and KPAY in the 1980s and into the 90s, where he was a popular go-to guest for local radio personalities. He is also an expert on the history and geology of Lassen Volcanic National Park, where he has served as a volunteer for decades. Dave enjoys a quiet life at home with his partner in life, Cheryl, and their two dogs, Elvis and Pearl, at their Red Bluff residence.
Matt Fidler is a producer and sound designer with over 15 years’ experience producing nationally distributed public radio programs. He has worked for shows such as Freakonomics Radio, Selected Shorts, Studio 360, The New Yorker Radio Hour and The Takeaway. In 2017, Matt launched the language podcast Very Bad Words, hitting the #28 spot in the iTunes podcast charts.