Unbelievably this was the final week of the REEU program. All of our research and hard work boiled down to this final and very important week. Everything built up to Friday, when we had to present our research in front of the audience of mentors and other involved parties.
Right off the bat we attended the Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP) presentations Monday morning. We were primarily there to watch Courtney present her project on White-Tailed Deer Behavior. In the afternoon, we began finalizing and revising our presentation, poster, and manuscript. Furthermore, we began the process of cleaning and returning all the supplies that we had amassed over the 8-weeks. You never really know how much equipment you took until you have to put it away! Tuesday was much of the same. Grinding out revisions and perfecting what we had to the best of our ability. Later on in the day, we presented our poster to the group for feedback. This feedback helped us make our poster readable, clear, and understandable to the viewer.
On Wednesday, we presented our rough draft of our presentation for feedback. There was a decent amount of reconstruction that needed to be done, and a little bit of reorganizing. Honestly, you just do not know how your presentation is going to be until you run through it and have other people’s eyes on it. Having seen the presentation so many times prior, you tend to easily move over small errors, and glance over mistakes. It is a luxury to have people with fresh and educated eyes look over it as you present. Without these critiques our final presentation would not be as effective, clear, and comprehensive.
For the rest of the week, Taylor and I finalized our project and made them as perfect as they could be. Our main concern was the PowerPoint presentation, because that is what we presented to the whole audience. It was an amazing opportunity to get to share our research and what 8-weeks of hard work created. Our research was not earth-shattering, but it is something that I am very prideful of completing. While presenting can be a bit stressful, it also gives this project its proper dues.
This internship opened my eyes to research and the possibilities that lie within it. I am very grateful to have taken part in the program, as I gained experience in designing my own research, collecting data, and determining results through statistical analysis. My knowledge on streams and aquatic sciences in general is much deeper than when I arrived. I stand firm on my future career goals of environmental policy, but this experience only makes me more prepared for the environmental field as a whole. I believe that knowing how to gather information through research is crucial to crafting the correct environmental policy. Also, it is never a bad thing to open more doors for yourself. If I ever decide to get involved with wildlife, fisheries, or conservation, this internship gave me so many amazing experiences to build upon. I aim to work for a government agency, lobbying firm, or corporation to craft environmental policy and battle anthropogenic climate change. I like to tackle broad issues, and I do not think they get much broader than climate change.
Finally, I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in this internship. I learned so much along the way and got to work with experts in this field. I honestly do not think I have learned so much in an 8-week period, so this internship definitely set the bar. Thanks to everyone that helped along the way!