Over the past few weeks, I've gotten the chance to meet new people, such as faculty mentors, graduate mentors, and also my fellow REEU interns. It was nice to learn a little bit about everyone and their background. Our REEU group is a diverse mix of students from Indiana, Illinois, Alabama, and Nebraska. I’m excited to work with this diverse team and to be able to learn from one another. We all share a common interest in our love for nature and the outdoors. Not only did I get the chance to get to know everyone, but I got the chance to get to know Purdue and the Indiana/Lafayette area as a whole. We explored a lot of sites, such as Prophetstown and Black Rock Barrens which is one of the NICHE properties. I really enjoyed meeting some of our tour guides and appreciate all the knowledge I gained from them. We also got to do a fun weekend trip to the Indianapolis Zoo and attend the Indianapolis Pride Festival. It was a great time and I enjoy the fun opportunities that we get to do during the weekends.
Aside from that, we also got the chance to start brainstorming research project ideas with our partner and mentors. It was exciting to finally get into the first steps of research. We spent the entire week working on research proposals and our research presentations. One thing I learned from this experience is that the more you discuss and get into your research topics, the more you will find that one specific idea that just clicks. It took us a while to get to the point of our research project but that’s okay! We had a lot of discussion, researching, and brainstorming to do as a group. Garret and I will be studying the distribution of bird species across habitats and their diet preferences. We were all brain dead by the end of the day each week but we made it through! We also presented our research project proposals to the group and received really helpful feedback. We all have really interesting projects coming up and I can't wait to see how everything turns out. I can't wait to start getting out to our study sites to start actively working on our projects. Although writing up our proposals and working on our presentations took a lot of time and effort to do, I know that is was beneficial in preparing us for a career in the science field.
After completing just the first two weeks of the program, I'm already super excited to see what the end of this internship program will bring-- whether that be a better knowledge for research, growth as a person in the science field, building new friendships, and/or all the new experiences to be experienced.