How/Why Research? I am pursuing a career in biological research, geared toward ecology and wildlife biology, so I wanted to join a lab to gain more research experience and meet people who are in this field. I wasn’t exactly sure how to get involved, since I had no prior experience or contacts. I met with my biology professor at the time and she recommended I research biology professors and their projects and then contact them explaining my interests and why I want to join their lab. I contacted about five professors about opportunities for the summer. I met with the two who responded and learned more about their lab and research and was given the opportunity to join their labs for the summer and possibly in the future.
Research Experiences: Over the summer of 2018 I volunteered in Laura Miller’s lab by taking care of the corals, upside down jellyfish and the tank system. I also volunteered in Joel Kingsolver’s lab by taking care of the Manduca colony and helped on some field experiments. My favorite part of working in the Kingsolver lab was being able to go out and pick field Manduca from tobacco fields and help check on other field experiments they had at the biological reserve in Mason Farms. I am really interested in field ecology so being able to help in these field collections and monitoring the field experiments was an amazing experience. This semester I was able to help conduct research on upside down jellyfish for credit. I am filming groups of the jellyfish and then going through the videos and finding the frames where they are opening and closing. The data is then analyzed by being run through a program in Matlab and other modeling systems.