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  • Sophia Flores

Sophia Flores: Week 8 Recap

Oh, how time has flown by these past eight weeks! I’ve learned so much including how to manage a research project, strengthen my scientific writing, create an efficient field data sheet, determine what methods to use for data collection, create a scientific poster, and so much more! As an animal sciences major, I was not familiar with wildlife research techniques or scientific writing, let alone the research process since I’d just finished my first year of college. Since the start of this program, I’ve been able to learn important skills that I didn’t think I would even need for my future career. This experience made me realize that switching to a wildlife major would be more beneficial for my career path.

Along this journey, I encountered many challenges with my project. Much of it had to do with the time constraint of the program and that my project’s original focus couldn’t really be achieved in such a short amount of time. The biggest thing I’ve realized is that something can always be improved. Many times, when I thought we had written plenty, read enough articles, figured out the right methods, or felt prepared, we actually weren’t quite there yet. There was always something more to improve upon, learn about, or consider in order to ensure every element was accounted for. For example, we were originally just going to collect herptile species and habitat data, but then we added temperature data collection a few weeks in. This came in handy because we didn’t find any species, therefore we couldn’t use our habitat data. We were able to change the focus of our project so we could analyze other types of data we collected related to cover boards. Having Dr. Flaherty and Dr. Jones there to help us made all of the difference when things seemed impossible. This experience taught me to be adaptable and have patience in research.

Overall, I enjoyed forming connections with new people and getting to participate in fun experiences. Now that I’m a wildlife major, I have a better idea of what to expect in future courses in terms of conducting fieldwork and developing papers and presentations. I will continue to look back on this program and how it has helped me develop. I will continue to apply to future internships so that I can gain even more experience. I would like to thank Megan Gunn for choosing me to participate in this amazing program! I appreciate everything you did to manage the REEU internship!

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