During my research stay at the USF, I studied the speleothem samples brought from my study area in Greece. The study and analysis of my samples included Uranium / Thorium (U / Th) radiogenic dating and Oxygen & Carbon stable isotopes measurements. These methods of analysis are impossible to be implemented in Greece as there is no relevant lab to undertake them. Consequently, my opportunity to travel to the US for study and lab work was more than the accomplishment of a dream! At the USF, I also participated in two graduate courses: ‘Scientific Writing & Research’ and ‘Advanced Karst Science’, as an observer. So, I was able to experience the academic environment in the classroom.
There is a speleological research club at the USF, the KRG (Karst Research Group) which is comprised of geologists and biologists working on caves. I became a volunteer researcher at that club and I participated at the annual outreach activities. We made presentations regarding caves, cave geology and cave biology to 6th and 8th graders of the Brooksville Best Academy and also, we took the students at the field, inside sinkholes to have a first-hand experience.
As a cave geologist and cave diver, I was always dreaming of visiting Florida. Florida is the country of cave diving as it was the first place to set up a training program for cave diving, globally. It is full of extended underwater cave systems, too. So, being at the land of cave diving, I could not be temped to accomplish my cave diving certification there. I did several cave dives in a very known national park, the Ginnie Springs at the Cave County.
Also, as a scientific diver I was engaged with the Scientific Diving Department of the USF where I accomplished my certification for the Diving First Aid. The course was called ‘Diving First Aid for Professional and Scientific Divers’ provided by DAN (Divers Alert Network) and it was carried out by the Diving Office of the USF. The course included: First Aid - CPR, AED (Automated External Defibrillator) user, Oxygen provider and Hazardous Marine Life & Field Neurological Assessment.