Let’s pretend it’s one month ago and I posted this update when I should’ve. In that case, we haven’t been on our cross-country road trip yet, but Rheannon did just graduate! Graduation ceremony was long (I spent a total of 5 hours at the stadium!) but Michelle Obama spoke and did her best to make up for every other speaker being pretty uninspiring, and it was all worth it to catch glimpses of Rheannon among the sea of graduates, and to see her happy face when we met her outside the stadium. Afterwards we had a celebratory dessert potluck in the backyard, where we got to debut our new hammocks, which have become our summertime hobby.

Let’s take a moment for a quick recap Rheannon’s awesome undergraduate career…

When I met her she was a bike messenger, taking one or two classes part time at the community college. Our second summer together she got an internship at the coast studying oyster populations, and the next summer she worked for the Forest Service in Randle, Washington, doing survey work. At the end of that summer we came to Corvallis and she started at OSU, where she got involved at the Lichen Lab. The next summer she got a job with the BLM in Salem which involved a lot of bushwhacking around in the mountains looking for sensitive plants. In the meantime during the school year she took lots of science classes…chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, physics, statistics, and on and on. Last summer she started working at the EPA looking at nitrogen cycling in wetlands. During her final year she supplemented her science classes with courses like Wilderness First Responder, Rock Climbing, and Winter Backcountry Travel. And she also managed to get published in a couple of scientific journals and work 20 hours a week. At the end of it all she came out with a cumulative GPA of 3.8, a lot of job experience, and a healthy understanding of how things work. That understanding of how things work is what got me so interested in science and going back to school, and that high GPA (combined with a somewhat competitive nature) is what inspires me to get A’s! She sets the bar high, and we’re awfully proud of her.

Rheannon and friends after the graduation ceremony.

This needs no explanation.

Beaver cookies!

A younger, bike messenger version of Rheannon.