This summer I participated in an internship called Research Experience for Undergraduates (R.E.U.). This is a program that is funded by the National Science Foundation that gives undergraduate students the opportunity to conduct research at a host institution. This program offers research in many different scientific fields at a number of different universities across the United States and even in a few foreign locations. The program has the most opportunities in the summer, but does offer some research experience during the spring and fall semesters. Most internships are for ten weeks and housing and a stipend are provided to students as compensation for conducting research.
I was at the college of William and Mary at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science conducting a genetic assessment on Atlantic Bay Scallops. It was a great opportunity to gain some knowledge on marine sciences. I also was interested in this program because I would like to attend graduate school. The research I did was very independent and gave me a glimpse as to what it takes to achieve a masters degree. VIMS is a graduate school, so everyday I was surrounded by students that talked with me about their experiences looking at and getting into graduate school.
Warnell provided me with field experience that I used when I went to collect samples of scallops along the Eastern Shore of Virginia. I also had previous experience working in a genetic lab, which probably helped me secure a position in this specific program. I had to write a paper at the end of the summer and present my work. I learned so much about how to represent my research and how to talk science to people.
The program also provided fun trips for the students. We went out on a research vessel to collect water samples along the York river. We also took a kayaking trip along the Pamunkey river and learned about the early history of the Chesapeake Bay. This program gave me so much more than I expected and I had an amazing time doing it. I made friends for life as well as connections in the marine science field. I was even nominated by the program to present my work at the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography conference in Honolulu, HI in February 2017. I am so thankful I had this opportunity and I know that my time at Warnell helped get me there.