In case you haven’t seen my other blog posts, this summer I am interning with researchers from the USDA-ARS. We are studying estuary ecosystems related to shellfish aquaculture. Most of our work involves burrowing shrimp because they are considered pests in shellfish aquaculture.
I am a little over two weeks into my internship and so far, I have worked a bit in a field setting collecting burrowing shrimp. I also spent some time in the lab measuring and processing the shrimp. Most of my time has been working remotely reading various scientific articles and beginning my journey using R statistical software.
My daily routine:
My routine varies depending on what’s going on. When I work from home, I typically wake up around 7 and start working around 8. I usually start my day checking/answering emails and then I’ll move to a combination of reading and taking notes on scientific articles and going through a guidebook to R. This is my at home work space:
I’ll take breaks throughout the day to eat and move around some by taking short walks or doing yoga. I’ll typically stop doing work related activities around 5 or 6 in the evening. Below is a picture from one of my walks at Hatfield Marine Science Center:
When we do field work, this involves spending the day or days in mud flats of estuaries collecting data, shrimp, and staghorn sculpin. Subsequent days after we do field work are spent going through these samples and data as well as entering the data into Excel sheets.
Every Friday I have a virtual lab meeting with members of my supervisor’s lab. Starting last week, I also have weekly Friday afternoon meetings with scientists outside the lab I’m working with along with my supervisor and other interns. These meetings are related to ocean acidification which is one of my areas of interest.
The downside of working during COVID-19:
I think the major downside of working during the pandemic is the lack of human contact. I feel like because we are unable to work in person as much and many people aren’t able to at all, this causes many missed opportunities to meet other interns and scientists.
Since I’m specifically working at Hatfield Marine Science Center, I feel like normally outside of COVID-19 times, I would have tons of interaction with other interns and scientists but that just isn’t possible right now.
The upside of working during COVID-19:
The major upside of working during the pandemic for me is the flexibility of it. I am able to work at my own pace when I’m at home and take breaks whenever I need to. This has allowed me to attend virtual seminars I may not typically get to attend. I am also able to work at times that are best for me and am not restricted to a typical work schedule.