Employer: Dr. Warren G. Abrahamson, Bucknell University Biology Building and the David Burpee Greenhouse

Describe your duties:

My duties included building cages that would hold goldenrod species (Solidago altissima and S. gigantean) and gall beetles of the species Mordellistena convicta. Together with fellow lab members, we grew these plants from rhizome fragments, and maintained them for the entire summer. In addition, I helped to rear thousands of insects from goldenrod galls using computerized growth chambers. Using two populations of beetles, I conducted a behavioral experiment to test for the effects of temporal isolation on reproduction. This experiment required constant attention, and had to be monitored every two hours while the Sun was up. Later I had to dissect these beetles to determine their sex and compile all the data from the experiment for analysis.

What did you enjoy most about your internship?

Having a large degree of responsibility and ownership of an actual scientific experiment. I was involved with design from the beginning, and included in modifications and contingency plans throughout. It was an excellent opportunity that provided valuable insight about the real scientific world. I also had great coworkers.

What was the most difficult aspect of the internship?

Because the nature of my experiment was time sensitive, I had a difficult work schedule with no days off.

How did your experience at Bucknell prepare you for your internship? 

Upper division biology courses and laboratories gave me valuable knowledge and technical skills that prepared me to succeed in a research setting like this internship. Bucknell also offered valuable teacher-student relationships that facilitated my employment to begin with.

What recommendations do you have for other students considering doing an internship?

For science majors, specifically those that wish to go on to do graduate study, engaging in undergraduate or summer research is absolutely imperative. This experienced helped me decide my career path and focal area of study.



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