You are currently abroad in Australia. What are some of your expectations for the educational trip?
I’m so excited but also very nervous to be able to wholly immerse myself in an unfamiliar place. I think that one of the most amazing things about study abroad is that is gives us an opportunity to be in a place that, without study abroad, we may never have found ourselves in otherwise. So, I am so excited to be here, to be experiencing a place that is just so drastically different from anywhere else I’ve ever been. I’m also really anticipating taking Biology classes while I’m at the University of Wollongong. As a Biology major, I feel lucky to be able to study the biological sciences in an area like New South Wales, which has ecosystems and biodiversity that is exceptionally different than that of upstate New York.
Recently, you participated in a research project. What was your research topic?
Last summer, I participated in a research project that was initiated by Catherine Cardelus and Carrie Woods. This study looked at the effects of nutrient deposition on rainforest ecosystems, specifically on plants found in the rainforest canopy. While in Costa Rica, I climbed our experimental trees with Professors Woods, Professor Cardelus, and with three other student researchers. We also collected plant and soil samples and data on the plants from all of our experimental branches. Back at Colgate, we engaged in sample processing that allows us to look at the available nutrient content that was found in each of the plants at the time that we sampled them. Because this study was conducted over a five-year period of time, it will allow us to see what shifts there were in biodiversity, nutrient presence, and overall biological status of the canopy community.