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  • Jennifer Gilbert

Jenny's Farewell - Week 8

Emily standing and Jenny receiving help gearing up to climb

WELL WELL WELL, here we are. We have reached the finish line…almost. Week 8 is wrapping up and it is absolutely unbelievable how fast time has passed this summer. I know we have all been saying that in every single blog post this summer but that’s because it’s TRUE! Time really does fly when you are having fun and working hard. I am so excited to hear all of my peers present on their research and watch them do an AMAZING job. Everyone has done such incredible work this summer and I know it will show when we give our final presentations.

This week was full of last-minute tasks and finishing touches for our final presentations, manuscripts, and posters. Each team has been working hard and diligently to finish their summer research project. Emily and I are eager to share our findings about butternut trees and educate others on what we have been doing this summer. Send lots of good thoughts and well wishes to West Lafayette, IN on Friday, July 26th as we all share our summer research with the public.

Jenny standing on a tree limb in climbing gear

As per usual with Emily and I, it was definitely not ALL work this week. We managed to find some time to sneak away and experience nature—our shared love. Emily and I had the opportunity to “be up in the trees” one last time as we went climbing with Dr. Lawson and Lindsey Purcell at Squirrel Park. We got to climb the infamous “Big Red”—only fitting since I am a native Husker. I even “branched” out a little bit and attempted my luck at limb walking. You could say I went out on a limb 😉 It was scary at first, but I enjoyed every second of it. We also had the opportunity to go electrofishing with Megan in Indian Creek. This was such a cool experience and something I had never done before so I was very grateful to Megan for taking us out. She really knows her fish—an expert at identifying them all.

Alyssa, Mae, Megan and Jenny electrofishing

This last week with the REEU program has been just as amazing, educational, and fun as the previous seven. There is no way to summarize all that I have learned and experienced these past eight weeks through this program. I cannot begin to explain the immense list of skills and opportunities I have gained from this internship, not to mention the incredible community of support and encouragement I have found here at Purdue. I am in disbelief that these past eight weeks have flown by so quickly, but I know they were extremely well-spent. As I sit here reflecting on the journey we have all been on these past eight weeks, I am incredibly grateful to have gone through it with the people I did. The other nine REEU interns have given me more knowledge, confidence, great memories, laughs, and overall unforgettable experiences than I ever could have dreamed for. Alongside my peers, I was lucky enough to have another great group of individuals, made up of incredibly smart and supportive graduate students, faculty advisors, professors and staff at Purdue, and of course the wonderful Megan Gunn (project coordinator). Again, I fail to find the words to describe my gratitude and appreciation for this group of individuals. I cannot thank each and every one of them enough for all they have taught me and given me these past eight weeks. I know that my time here at Purdue, including the experiences I had and relationships I formed, will be immensely beneficial to my future. I look forward to keeping in touch with everyone from this program and seeing what incredible things they accomplish in life. I am so proud of every single one of my peers and I couldn’t have asked for a better group to share this experience with.

Jenny holding a small fish

I am confident that this experience with undergraduate research will significantly benefit my future in whatever academic and career pursuits lie ahead. Though I have not decided on graduate school, I have never been more motivated to work in the natural resources and environmental studies field. I cannot explain my love, appreciation, awe, and respect for the earth and all that it provides for us. I am beyond excited to pursue a future dedicated to exploring and protecting this planet and all the resources it provides. Whether this is through environmental education, extension, research, sustainability coordination, or any other number of interests that I have, I am eager to experience as much as I possibly can and continue to work with diverse and passionate individuals. I am devoted to creating a sustainable world. I plan to accomplish this career goal by collaborating with a variety of career fields and professionals to conduct research, analyze information, and develop solutions for the pressing environmental issues that face our planet. I also hope to promote and educate others on environmental sustainability, by serving as both an educator and activist for the environment, working with all types of people to foster their knowledge, desire, and passion for the planet. Specific skills and lessons I have gained from this experience include many: new field work and data collection methods, a better understanding of the research process, ability to communicate and educate others on scientific findings, methods for extension and outreach, working with a partner and/or group to accomplish scientific and social goals, and a plethora of other invaluable skills. These skills will aid me greatly in any natural resource path I choose to follow in my future.


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