MAY 15, 2020


Mental health awareness month. It’s hard to believe that it’s already May again. Last year, for mental health awareness month, I discussed my perspective on what “mental health” means and the importance of building a toolkit for all people. This year, the theme from Mental Health America is “Tools to Thrive,” and you can learn more about that and access a variety of resources on their website.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought mental health into common parlance. Across the world, folks are dealing with uncertainty, financial hardship, isolation, loss, and grief. Some are coping by working nonstop, while others are leaning into spending time with family or caring for loved ones. For some of us, we’ve seen our mental state shift with the passing weeks. This article about productivity and academic work during crises really helped me a lot.

There is so much that we don’t know, and so much that we can’t control. Find things that you can control and that help you feel good. Rather than worrying about productivity, you might try focusing on progress, however slow. What is doable and sustainable when you’re working from home? What small habits, such as eating meals at regular times, going for walks when it’s safe, and showering on a regular basis, can help you get through the days? What needs to get done (my thesis) and what can I let go of (paper discussion group)?

I encourage you to join us as we build community on the TOS Student Slack. I’d love to hear about how your life has changed and how you’re finding resilience these days!

— Chrissy

Join the new TOS Student Slack community!



SRINIVAS KOLLURU. My journey in studying ocean color started with my master’s thesis, which dealt with water quality parameter retrieval from the Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean (HICO) sensor. In 2016, I enrolled as a PhD research scholar at the Centre of Studies in Resources Engineering, IIT Bombay, India, under the supervision of professors S.S. Gedam and A.B. Inamdar. My first fieldwork was on a fishing boat where I collected samples of Mumbai coastal waters in rough seas at the end of monsoon season. This first nauseating experience coupled with two 30-day cruises in Arabian Sea made me realize the vastness and biodiversity of oceanic waters. At present, I work on developing algorithms for retrieval of optical properties from remote sensing data using optimization and machine learning.

My first international visit was to attend the IOCCG Summer Lecture Series 2018 in Villefranche-sur-Mer, France, where I was taught by leading ocean color experts. This experience helped me understand the canvas of ocean color/optics. Last year, I worked as a summer intern with Michael Twardowski, Timothy Moore, and Alberto Tonizzo at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute on the development of algorithms for water quality parameter retrieval in the Indian River lagoon. By studying the blue clear waters of the Arabian Sea, green eutrophic waters of the Indian River lagoon, and the brownish–red turbid coastal waters of Mumbai, I am amazed by the way nature portrays its colors in the ocean, covering the visible range of the electromagnetic spectrum.


A Case Study of Decreased Sediment Supply and Accelerating Rates of Relative Sea Level Rise

By Mead A. Allison et al.



The suggestions provided by these websites may overlap a little, but they all provide good advice about how to maintain good mental health during the pandemic.

Care for Your Coronavirus Anxiety
Resources for anxiety and your mental health in a global climate of uncertainty. > Learn more

Mental Health in the Time of COVID-19
From the University of Michigan: A mentor and a graduate student offer their perspectives on maintaining mental health—and a healthy degree of productivity—amid our current challenges. > Learn more

Maintaining Mental Health During COVID-19
Dan Rosen, Professor and Chair of the Department of Counseling & Health Psychology at Bastyr University provides some tips to get us through this period of social distancing and sheltering in place. > Learn more

Resources and Tips for Supporting Your Mental Health During COVID-19
Jalen Blue of Vanderbilt University provides eight tips for supporting your mental health during COVID-19. > Learn more


A Reddit post from last month provides “A Guide for Working from Home as a Graduate Student.” Read the full post here.

1. Prepare yourself for the day like you’re actually going to campus/into lab.

2. Set a schedule for yourself like you’re actually at work.

3. Make a to-do list for the day.

4. Use the Pomodoro Technique to time your work.

5. Find or build a playlist on Spotify or Apple Music that gets you motivated!

6. Make your space comfortable.

7. Order takeout!

8. Maintain social distancing when/if you have to go into lab.

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