Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Keeping it Clean and Green by Audrey Seligman

            These past few weeks at the Las Cruces Biological Station, I have felt as though things have really come full circle. The long awaited independent research projects began and came to a close in a blink of an eye.
            My research was about finding plant alternatives to commercialized soap, which would allow people who don’t have access to commercial soap maintain good hygiene, and therefor prevent diarrheal diseases - a leading killer of young children. There were two other girls in my research group and we all came in excited to get started and passionate about the work we were doing. And, after 5 days of intense lab work we were anxious to understand our results. Of course, we were all hoping to find out that the plants we chose had amazing effects at removing bacteria and that this was something that could be immediately applied to the community. But, as research goes, this is not what happened.  
            In culmination of our research there was a poster session that the community was invited to. A lot of the people who came were staff of the station that we saw on a daily basis. We had to do our presentation in Spanish as much of the staff does not speak English. Even though I know I miss-conjugated some words and had to look to a friend once in a while when I forgot a word, I still felt so excited and passionate about my research that it didn’t seem to matter. I was happy that I could still communicate what I had done and why my study was important, to a group of people who seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say.

            I truly think this experience has helped me grow and will leave an ever-lasting impression. Through my research not only did I learn a tremendous amount about biology, new lab techniques, and how to write a good paper, but I also learned a lot about balance. I was able to manage my time and mentally allowed myself to work hard in my academics and still take full advantage of the unique and incredible place I was visiting. Being able to do this made me incredibly happy and I felt fulfilled. I hope to carry this skill with me back home while studying at Macalester College.

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