Sarah Kelley Harter (she/her)

Position/What you do at U of R?Sarah Harter

I am a PhD Student in Professor Miki Nakajima’s Earth and Planetary Lab.

Where are you from?

I am from Grass Valley, CA.

What got you interested in Earth and Environmental Sciences?

When I was eight, I learned about Jupiter’s red spot. A giant storm that had been observed for over 300 years with no end date in sight. My primary curiosity from this point was to find other fascinating anomalies that could not take place on Earth.

What do you enjoy most about U of R?

As someone who grew up on the northern west coast, we lack a lot of old buildings. University of Rochester hosts some amazing Victorian architecture, and it’s fun to look around Rochester itself and see the history that has rooted itself.

Which historical figure would you most like to meet?

I’m sure I’ll change my answer in a few months, but I’d love to meet with Plato (under the assumption that we can speak the same language). Plato has a broad connection to every foundation of our society from philosophy and jurisdiction to the pillars of Christianity and Islamic ideals. He was also heavily influenced by the Pythagorean society, which formed his ideas on Platonism.

Ideally, my conversation with him would simply be a lecture of some sorts, where I just absorb his teachings in the best way I could. Eventually I would ask about his written works like Homer and Hesiod, but really, I would like him to recount to me what exactly happened with Atlantis. I know that a majority of scholars agree that his stories were intended to teach morals, similar to the Bible, but those are educated assumptions. I intend to ask Plato directly about Atlantis’ location under the sea.

What is your favorite book?

My favorite books are everyone else’s favorite books, so I’ll answer with what is my favorite book the past few months. This summer I read Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant. It is a horror science fiction novel written in 2017 that follows a deep-sea expedition that aims to find out what happened to a research vessel that was found with its crew entirely missing. Spoiler alert: terrifying sirens. I love horror books (please contact me if you want a specific recommendation, I’ve read hundreds), and this one captures the vibe of a mockumentary, while also having the feeling of being on the edge of your seat. Very good book 9/10.