Alaska is shrimply amazing

Interning with USDA-ARS and OSU through Sea Grant has been an absolute blast. It made all the difference to have such great mentors and an awesome lab partner. The summer may be coming to an end, but the next two weeks still have a chock-full schedule here in Alaska. Oh yeah, you totally read that right. We’re in Alaska!! I’ve learned so many things from this internship that I honestly can’t remember them all. The most important thing that I’ve learned is how to be a good lab manager. One of my mentors had to be away for an extended period of time and since we’ve worked together virtually since last summer, he left me in charge of the lab. I got to take on and learn more serious responsibilities, such as schedule making, coordinating, and even a bit of mentoring.

Alaska Views
Top left: views of Alaska from the plane. Bottom left: some sea stars from the mudflat. Right: views from the mudflat

A really interesting thing that has surprised me about this summer has been learning about all the other people and projects that are involved in the mud shrimp system. I mean, it makes sense, this has been a 10+ year project with lots of collaborators. John and Brett have folks all over the world (like Colorado, Japan, Russia, and Australia) who have worked or are currently working with Upogebia and Neotrypaea. A completely unrelated thing that completely surprised me however, is the fact that using the yabi guns (slurp guns, as I call them) hurts my back waaayyyyy more than using the sediment/clam cores to obtain shrimp!

Alaska field work day 1
Top left: me wearing my field work vest from University of Colorado, Boulder (CU). Bottom left: Joshua and our new CU collaborator. Top right: everyone checking out our first mud shrimp in the field. Bottom right: John and our CU collaborators analyzing shrimp in our “Alaska Lab.”

Knowing what I know now, I would only do a couple of things differently if I could restart my summer. First and most importantly, I would have things a bit more organized and set-up at the beginning of the summer. It was mostly fine, but I feel having a slightly more detailed schedule would be beneficial and less stressful. Next, I would make sure there was allotted time to go to the Art in Science meetings. As it was, I was travelling for field work both times. And finally, I would have made Joshua come to movie nights sooner with my awesome house mates, Lisette and Phoenix, so we could have all finished watching She-Ra together.

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