It’s been a wild ride! Nine weeks have come and gone, and the experience has been life changing! The last week was still just as exciting as the first week. Now, it’s time for the final recap of my time here.
Monday was all about finishing any potential data collection I can get. By Monday morning at 9am, the posters were finalized, and they were printed out that day. Having my hard work and care be synthesized onto one poster was amazing, and I was proud of it! So most of Monday was all about finishing any potential data collection - my final plankton tow. I enjoyed looking out into the bay one last time, watching the beautiful coastal Oregonian fog roll by. Luckily, I did not run into the sea lions again, although I will miss them. Again, I found little to no cyprids to speak of, but I still filled my time preparing for the big poster session.
Tuesday continued the pattern that Monday set up. I was rereading all the papers I have accumulated over the summer, so that I could be as informed and educated as possible for Wednesday’s poster session. I also looked back on the calculations I’d done this summer to determine if there was any weird patterns or mistakes in my study, or in similar studies conducted by other labs. The day ended with our last professional development session, which was about our next steps after this internship! It was a fitting final presentation – searching for more experience and jobs. That night, before some of the other REU students had to travel back home, we all went out to dinner together to celebrate our time here. We went to eat some Thai food, swap stories, and discuss our plans for after this REU.
Wednesday was the big day! The morning was spent pouring over the math again and preparing the cafeteria for the symposium. As the hour approached, I could feel my nerves rise and bubble, but with the friendly encouragement of Richard, Nicole, and Tiffany, I found that my nerves were fizzling away. I tacked my poster onto the board, I dressed in my best clothes, and I presented my poster to the broader scientific community for two hours. The time flew by quickly! Many kinds of people saw my work, ranging from professors, to graduate students, to tourists and a county commissioner! By the end of the day, I was exhausted but proud of what I have accomplished. With the internship ending, I want to bring my poster, and my work, home with me to display at my desk in the museum!
Thursday was all about wrapping up. I discussed with Richard my plans for taking this project further, and I started to clean up the lab and my work space. I took down my poster and mailed it to my new apartment, and I cleaned out the fridge of any remaining dead specimens.
Friday was the final day. The morning was spent quietly cleaning up the rest of my lab space and then the rest of the day was spent in a long debriefing session. After the session, and packing my bags, I set out to Richard’s home, enjoying one last potluck before I go home.
It has been an honor working at OIMB. This experience has taught me so much, and the challenges, successes, and failures allowed me to grow as a person. I learned how to live and work in a place that was completely foreign to me, and I learned how to make mistakes. I learned a lot about science as a career path, about animals who live on the Oregonian coast, and what scientists are really like outside of the lab. I hope this blog series helped you learn a bit too! I would like to thank Richard Emlet for mentoring me this summer, Nicole Nakata for encouraging me, Maya Watts for guiding me, and my fellow REU students for supporting me. It’s been great, but for now, this is Savanna signing off.