This summer helped me grow immensely as a scientist and an educator. I received in-person learning of what it takes to teach children about complex topics, and while doing so, I learned much about coastal ecosystems that I never knew. I had the opportunity to assist in a wide variety of fieldwork with the science team and feel much more confident in my ability to soon conduct independent research. I worked with a great group of people and cherished my time at the South Slough Estuary. I will look back at this summer with fond memories, though I’m sure I’ll make many more at the slough… I will definitely be going back frequently to say “hello” to my mentors/friends and to walk the trails with my doggy. Also, special thanks to Jaime for being a great mentor this summer: working under your guidance was always super fun for me and valuable for my education!
Did this internship affect my future career choices?:
My experience this summer has absolutely affected my future career path. I came into this program wanting to study animals for a living and to eventually manage a wildlife reserve. However, coming in, I also had no experience in these fields outside of the college courses that I have taken. After this summer internship, I am 100% sure that I want to pursue a career in wildlife biology. My path did not change this summer, but it was set in concrete.
In my journey to a PhD in wildlife biology, I must first get into graduate school (obviously), but to provide myself with a competitive chance to get into the schools that I want to attend, I must first obtain lots of research experience! This coming fall, I will be completing my URSA research in the Hacker Lab at OSU with the help of my mentors, Dr. Sally Hacker and Katya Jay, a PhD student. I will be finding and analyzing nitrate concentrations in dune soil in the hopes to provide the lab with a better understanding of how and where dune grasses get their nutrients from. After my research ends through the URSA program, I will begin my honors thesis with the help of my mentor, Dr. Jim Rivers. I will be looking at the behavior of bees as it relates to their visual perception. I do not yet know what this specifically entails, but I am very excited to start! Oh, and might I mention… I still need to graduate! I have a long road ahead but can honestly say that I am excited for the ride.