Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Real Research That Matters by Mikala Skelton

            In San Vito, at the Las Cruces Biological Station, we spent three weeks conducting research for our final projects. Every semester since my freshman year of college I have had at least one class that involved a laboratory section. I feel that have been doing research for a long time. But, with the research I was doing in San Vito, I felt that, even though my research was still for me to learn, finally I was doing something of importance that could end up benefitting other people and not just my own academics.
            For my independent project I worked with Sarah Nuss and Keaton Stoner to try and identify a more accessible and affordable insecticide that would help control the mosquito population and lower the risk of mosquito borne diseases in rural areas of Costa Rica. We looked at three tropical plants that are commonly found in living fences and, therefore, most people will have easy access to. Our results, although not entirely conclusive, showed promise of insecticidal potential for all of the plants we chose. This was an amazing research opportunity and I am sad that I will not be able to follow up my results with additional testing. I hope that, maybe one day I can continue this research as it could benefit the health of the population of Costa Rica.

            At the end of the three weeks, the four different research groups presented posters about their research and what they did or did not find. The audience was larger than I had expected and people were very interested in our projects and happy to interact. It was also really good practice for me to give the presentation in both Spanish and English. Overall, the final research projects were a great experience for me.

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