If you had told me a few years ago that I’d be studying marine biology, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. The ocean and all of the fascinating and unique life within it were not on my mind as I entered college with a plan to pursue a career in medicine. I began this plan by majoring in music while taking the courses necessary to apply to medical school: biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, psychology… But when I finished my first year of college, I wasn’t satisfied – I wanted to understand, like really understand, the topics I had covered in those introductory biology courses. I wanted to know why and how things happened. I wanted to make more sense of the topics we had only just glossed over in that one year. I wanted to fall down the endless rabbit hole that is biology and to explore questions that didn’t necessarily have answers. I realized I wanted to embark on a journey of exploration and discovery in the sciences, continuously learning and trying to better understand the world around me.
I joined a marine organismal biology lab in my second year of college and discovered a field of study that I had never imagined myself in. I am so thankful for the unexpected opportunities that sometimes arise in life, because I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else today. Whenever I’m not thinking about the ocean or science, I enjoy playing piano and bassoon, listening to podcasts, hiking, baking, eating ice cream (Moose Tracks especially), and hanging out with my dog and cats.
This summer, I feel so lucky to be a part of the REU program here at OIMB and to have the opportunity to be immersed in research for an entire summer. I applied to the program because I wanted the opportunity to dedicate all of my time and energy to research and to spend an entire summer at a marine field station. As of right now, I am hoping to pursue a PhD in marine biology in the future, so the opportunity to work on my own project and to participate in professional development workshops is so valuable. This summer, I am working under the mentorship of George von Dassow, and I have already learned so much in just this first week. We spent the past few days learning some basic techniques that we’ll need for our projects, including microinjections and how to spawn, fertilize, and care for the various animals we will be working with. Alongside fellow REU Kostantina, I will likely be working on a project related to ciliated larvae and their adaptations for prey capture. I am looking forward to the rest of the summer and to seeing where my project takes me, and I hope this experience doesn’t go by too quickly!
Hello! My name is Ana and I am a rising senior studying biology and music at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. This summer, I am working under the mentorship of George von Dassow. I am looking forward to seeing where my research takes me and to becoming a part of the OIMB community!