2021 WAIS Workshop

Deadlines Registration Agenda Meals Travel Harassment Policy Early-Career Support


Kayaker at Algonkian Regional Park

Twenty-Eighth Annual WAIS Workshop
September 20–23, 2021
Algonkian Regional Park
Sterling, VA, USA

The 2021 WAIS Workshop was held in Sterling, Virginia, in the Washington, DC area at Algonkian Regional Park. This NSF- and NASA-sponsored meeting hosts transdisciplinary and societally critical science focused on marine ice-sheet and adjacent earth systems, with particular emphasis on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. The 2021 meeting is hosted locally by Lauren Simkins (University of Virginia), Brooke Medley (NASA Goddard), and the rest of WAIS Organizing Committee (Knut Christianson, Indrani Das, Peter Neff, Matthew Siegfried). You can view the workshop agenda and abstract booklet here and recordings of all of the science sessions here

The meeting begins with an icebreaker pizza dinner on Monday evening, September 20. Sessions are organized by topic, with keynote speakers for some sessions, followed by contributed talks and concluding with a panel discussion. Poster sessions will be held separately. We anticipate about 40-50 talks. The formal meeting agenda will end at lunch on Thursday, September 23, followed by a workshop to bring together community college educators and the WAIS research community. We will also continue our opt-in mentoring program for any early-career WAIS Workshop attendees and a workshop-wide discussion about community health.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are embraced at the WAIS Workshop, and we are committed to creating and maintaining a workshop environment that is safe, inclusive, harassment-free, and welcoming to all genders, races, identities, self-expressions, ethnicities and cultures. Please see the WAIS Workshop policy on harassment for more information.

A note about COVID safety: In line with other scheduled meetings, our expectation is that if you are unvaccinated, you will opt for the virtual option. For those vaccinated and attending in person, our room will be well under capacity (<50% capacity) and we will request all participants wear a mask that follows CDC guidelines (we will have spare masks in case anyone needs a new one for whatever reason). For those lodging on-site, although cabins are shared, most beds are one-to-a-room connected with shared common space; we will contact you to ask your permission if we assign you shared accomodations. We also would like to remind all participants that you can elect to attend our hybrid meeting virtually. Please email wais@mines.edu if you would like to switch your registration to virtual; we are happy to refund the difference in registration cost until Thursday, September 16, at 7 pm EDT. 


The deadline for Abstract Submission is July 30. Abstract submission is separate from the registration process. 
Early-career travel support request deadline is also July 30. We have limited funds to support air or ground travel to the meeting as well as registration fees (including lodging). 
Registration deadline is August 23, but our workshop has reached capacity before this deadline in the past, so register early! 


Registration for the 2021 WAIS Workshop has closed. The in-person registration fee includes Monday dinner, breakfasts, lunches and dinners on Tuesday and Wednesday, and breakfast and lunch on Thursday. Please indicate any dietary restrictions you may have on the registration form and the caterer will do their best to accommodate. Registration for the virtual option will allow you to participate in the workshop from off-site. 

Lodging at Algonkian Regional Park is in shared cottages on site on the banks of the scenic Potomac River. Staying at the park allows interaction and collaboration among the meeting participants in an informal and beautiful setting. This lodging is extremely limited and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. We will maintain a waitlist for on-site lodging; please email wais@mines.edu to join the housing waitlist. We will be organizing a hotel block at nearby hotels for those staying off-site. Please email wais@mines.edu to join the distribution list for hotel block information when it becomes available. 

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any lodging concerns you may have. 

Registration fees: 

The registration fee for the WAIS Workshop includes meals for the 2.5 day meeting and an option for three nights lodging: 
$400 for regular registration, including on-site lodging
$275 for undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral scholars and early-career researchers (≤5 years from PhD), including on-site lodging
$200 for all attendees staying off site
$75 for virtual attendence.

Refund policy:

Registration types can be changed with any price difference refunded (or charged) to the atendee until August 30. There will be no full refunds for cancellations. If there are any questions, please contact us

Ride sharing board -- We have set up an electronic ride-sharing board for those wishing to carpool to or from the airport. 

A note about the virtual participation option: Remote participation for the 2021 WAIS Workshop will include the option for remote presentations and panel discussions. Remote presentations will be viewed by both remote and in-person participants. Community sessions will be open to all participants. To facilitate more opportunities for interaction amongst remote participants, remote discussion sessions are likely to be separate from in-person discussion sessions, but speakers will participate in both remote and in-person discussions so that everyone can ask questions. Details on scheduling and precise format (Zoom room size, breakout sessions, etc.) will depend on abstract submission and participation preferences for registrants, and will be forthcoming.

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You can view the agenda and all abstracts here. Plan to arrive Monday, September 20 for dinner and socializing; dinner is included in the registration fee and we ask for a small donation to cover drinks. The WAIS Workshop is 2½ days, concluding with lunch on Thursday, September 23. We will have around 40-50 talks that cover all aspects of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet system, including research from glaciologists, oceanographers, atmospheric scientists, biologists, computer scientists, and engineers at all career stages. We also enourage abstracts that discuss relevant aspects of communicating WAIS science beyond the research community as well as ideas to improve the diversity, inclusion, and equity of our field. Following each set of oral presentations, a panel of the session's speakers and a moderator will lead an open discussion about the general theme, and examine what the significance of new insights presented in the talks is for the West Antarctic system. For 2021, sessions topics will include: 

  • Piecing the puzzle together: Multi-disciplinary, integrative science in West Antarctica. 
  • Beyond MISI: Novel insights into Antarctic ice sheet processes. 
  • Marine ice sheet sensitivity in the Earth system. 
  • Greetings from the future: Innovations in observing and modeling techniques.
  • WAIS in the community: Civic engagement & co-production of deliverables.
  • Community Health.

In addition to talks, WAIS Workshop will have space for posters. There will be an opportunity to give a very brief overview of a poster topic to the audience just prior to the poster sessions. Posters have historically received a great deal of attention at WAIS Workshops.

Basic Agenda:

Monday: Afternoon arrival, 4:30pm Steering Committee Meeting, 6:00pm opening icebreaker with dinner and drinks (please bring cash for drinks; both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options will be available)
Tuesday: Meeting begins with breakfast followed by two morning sessions of presentations, then lunch, one session of presentations, followed by the first poster session, and dinner on-site.
Wednesday:  Similar schedule to Tuesday.
Thursday: Thursday morning will begin with breakfast, two morning sessions, then lunch. After lunch we will engage with the community college educators who were invited to attend the workshop in order to develop ideas for incorporating WAIS science into local community college curriculum.

Guidelines for Abstract Submission and Presentations

Abstract format and submission:

  • Abstract submission (and edits) closed July 30. 

Talk guidelines:

  • Talks will be 5, 10, or 15 minutes long, including time for questions and switching presenters. You can select your preference on the registration page, though the Organizing Committee will make the final allocation during the agenda creaion process. We have a full meeting so please be mindful of your time and courteous to the next presenter. A discussion period concludes each session where further questions can be addressed.
  • All presentation files will be loaded on one central laptop to expedite the transition between presenters. We request you provide us with your presentation the day prior to your assigned time. Dinner time is a good time for this.
  • Powerpoint or PDF files are preferred. Keynote is available.
  • After the conference, presentations will be posted with the agenda on the WAIS Workshop site. If you prefer we don't publish your presentation, e-mail the Organizing Committee at: wais@mines.edu.
  • For 2021, all talks will be livestreamed for those that cannot attend the conference. If you have concerns about livestreaming your talk, please contact the WAIS Workshop Organizing Committee. These livestreams will be recorded and archived on our website.

Poster guidelines:

  • Preceding the in-person poster session will be a brief opportunity for poster presenters to give a one-slide/one-minute pitch about their research.
  • Virtual posters will be given a 5 minute time slot to give a short lightning talk on Day 1 of the workshop. These five minutes are your time to use however you wish! Feel free to be creative with your presentation. On Day 2, while the in-person poster session is happening, we will keep the conference Zoom room open and hosted for further discussion of virtual lightning talks. Breakout rooms will be available for quieter conversation. 
  • For space efficiency, posters cannot exceed 4 feet in height or width.

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Registration fee includes Monday dinner, breakfasts, lunches, and dinners on Tuesday and Wednesday, and breakfast and lunch on Thursday. Snacks and coffee are also included. Please indicate any dietary restrictions you may have on the registration form and the caterer will do their best to accommodate. 

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Air Travel and Ground Transportation

We recommend you fly into Dulles International Airport, which is located about 20 minutes by car from the venue. 

We have a ride-sharing Board for carpooling between the airport and the venue and/or hotel. 

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WAIS Workshop Policy on Harassment

The WAIS Workshop is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for participants regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, race, religion, or other protected status. The WAIS Workshop is a working conference intended for professional networking and collaboration for West Antarctic (and related) researchers. While attending the WAIS Workshop science program or related social events, any participants, including speakers, attendees, volunteers, and anyone else, should not engage in harassment or bullying in any form. All event participants are expected to behave according to professional standards and in accordance with their employer’s policies on appropriate workplace behavior. For issues or concerns during the conference, please contact any of the WAIS Workshop organizers or the local host, all of whom will be wearing WAIS pins. Additional contact information for our hosts and detalis about the reporting process will be available at WAIS Workshop check-in and posted online. This policy applies to all community situations online and offline, including the conference itself, mailing lists, social media, social events associated with the conference, and one-to-one interactions. Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately. Attendees violating these rules may be asked to leave the event at the sole discretion of the conference organizers without any refund.

We hope that our policy will reflect the values of the WAIS community. To that end, refining and updating this harassment policy to make it represent our community as a whole will be part of our discussion during the 2019 WAIS Workshop. 

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Early-Career Travel Support

The retreat format of WAIS Workshops provides a unique atmosphere where scientists at the start of their career can interact with senior researchers. We therefore strive to make WAIS Workshop accessible through early-career travel support to encourage attendence from a broad specturm of early-career researchers. To this end, our budget includes airfare registration fee support for a limited number of students and early-career researchers. We ask that interested people to submit an abstract on their recent research for consideration for the funding and submit the application for early-career travel support here: https://forms.gle/G6RA1Fo13EGtXPKH9. We estimate that we have travel support for 10-15 students or recent post-doctoral researchers (≤ 5 years since degree, or ≤ 5 years in career in total if there was a break due to family obligations). Please highlight the relevance of your abstract to West Antarctica, ice sheet stability, ice-ocean or ice-biology interactions, or polar climate change; and any other relevant information regarding your funding. We will aim to inform students of the decision on their support in mid August to allow time to purchase tickets and register; deadline to request funds is July 30. 

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Questions? Please contact us at wais@mines.edu