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.
Lucas, I have lived vicariously through your adventures all summer, it has really been a pleasure reading about all that you have learned and seeing your great photos! It sounds like you have many more interesting adventures planned for this coming year. Please stay in touch throughout your journey – we look forward to seeing where you go!
It is awesome you were able to have such variety in your work! That is great that your internship validated your career path, that is always important. Good luck with your upcoming research projects, it sounds like you will be gaining some great experiences!