Credit: Lara Tomlin

Jennifer Harding was in her fourth year as a doctoral student at the University of Texas at Austin when the 2018 federal budget was finalized. A marine geophysicist, she had spent years training to use a National Science Foundation–funded research vessel to image subduction zones underneath the seafloor. Then she learned the NSF planned to sell the vessel, cutting off her access to new data. At 26 and in her final year of graduate school, Harding is trying to decide what to do next and expects she may have to find a job in the oil and gas industry. “The rug is being pulled out from under me,” Harding says.