iUTAH Undergraduate iFellows
Week 9 Recap
July 13-17, 2015
Quite possibly the busiest week I’ve had all summer, yet it was also one of the best. My time with iUTAH is winding down and there is still so much work to do. I spent this week preparing our second set of samples for analysis. We are hoping to have the results back before my time here is over. However, the most stressful and the most rewarding part of the week was the iUTAH symposium.
I spent much of my free time preparing my poster and practicing my presentation. Seeing our cohort of iFellows has possibly been the best part of this program. Seeing what everyone has done come together at the symposium was very special. I am so happy to be a part of this group of people.
This week I was able to fine-tune my poster and presentation of my research. I was able to get great exposure at the poster session to what scientific presentations are like. I'm grateful for this experience I've been having that has exposed me to so many new things.
This week was an incredible buildup to the iUTAH symposium. I was able to finalize posters and go over my presentation with the other iFellows, near-peer mentor, and Doug. We spent all of Friday at the beautiful Homestead Resort learning about the many facets of the iUTAH endeavor and the many projects involved. We also got to present our posters in a special student poster session that was very rewarding. The feedback on the poster from other iUTAH participants was extremely helpful. I am so glad to be a part of this project!
We realized an issue with our data collection and I’ve spent a good number of hours trying to fix the mistake and salvage what we could from newly invalid data. We managed to pull a good amount of it out and I did a new analysis of the data that went up on my poster. It was stressful but the poster was printed Thursday afternoon and I was able to present valid data and conclusions at Friday’s conference.
After our online iFellow meeting on Monday, a lot of this week was spent focusing on my poster and presentation: formatting, revising, revising again, gathering resources, and printing. The iUTAH Symposium on Friday was our culminating event. Despite the long drive, it was fun going to Midway and seeing new scenery. The conference was terrific! There were a ton of people and the sessions were very informative and strengthening. My poster presentation went well, and I really enjoyed talking to others about my research. It almost felt too short. It's sad the summer is coming to a close.
We extracted plasmid DNA from the colonies we cultured last week, PCR amplified it, and found that it was the correct size after running it on an agarose gel. Next we'll sequence it to see which Enterococcus species the DNA belongs to and make dilutions of the DNA to use as qPCR standard curves. We amplified Bifidobacterium and Pseudomonas DNA as well so that we can make standards for them. I also spent time on my poster and presented it at the iUTAH symposium, which was terrifying, but it was great to meet so many other people working with iUTAH and to gain presenting experience.
We spent the first half of the week using a Lidar scanner to create 3D images of our study trees. The Lidar scanner can take scans of an object using lasers (the scans we ran came back with about 40 million data points, each one represent by a laser point). After the laser scanning, the Lidar also takes colors photos of the object you are scanning. We took four scans of each tree from various points around the tree. The laser points for each scan can later be combined on the computer to recreate a 3 dimensional "point cloud" of the tree. This can then be overlaid with the photos to introduce color to the tree. The latter part of the week was spent analyzing data and gearing up for the iUTAH Symposium in Midway, UT.
Aside from preparing for the iUTAH Symposium, the main thing I did was get good values for sensible heat flux, which is a key part of determining evapotranspiration. Kay and I got some of the data we had and found ways of making our calculations more accurate. Eventually we were able to find a way to get some reasonable values for sensible heat flux.
It was an exciting week gearing up for the symposium! We put the finishing touches on our posters. I headed to Centerville on Thursday to administer the iPad survey with a team of four at a Walmart. Then Friday morning bright and early we headed to Midway for the symposium. It was really humbling to be around so many great minds and learn about others' research. It was especially fulfilling to share my research and receive input.
We spent this week collecting millions of data points with a lidar scanner to create a 3-D image of specific trees being studied at the University of Utah. I also spent time with Matlab to represent my results graphically, and finalized my poster. Friday at the iUTAH symposium, I met many people who are working to advance the goals of iUTAH, and learned about the research being conducted by this group. The symposium was a great experience to present my research formally in a poster session and hear the feedback from professionals in the field.
We are now winding down from the field base phase of our project. We just finished up diagnostics and retrieval of replicates at our final site, the Logan River. These diagnostics included dark incubation (measures respiration: heterotrophic), light incubation (measures net productivity: autotrophic), and acetylene reduction (measures nitrogen fixation). The disc samples will then be sent off to specialty labs to attain community composition via algal taxonomy and 16s rRNA identification. In the upcoming weeks, we will enter our final phase of the experiment, data input and interpretation.
The majority of my week nine as an iFellow was spent putting the finishing touches on my poster and interactive media that I would be bringing down to the iUTAH Summer Symposium. My teammates and I spent many hours building and editing videos, which would be laid out on a map in Prezi and then displayed for the attendees of the symposium. Each of our interview sites got their own video, with quotes and audio from the interviews we conducted at the site.
All in all, the symposium was very successful. I got some great feedback on my poster and our interactive media. There were also some fantastic presentations from other members of the iUTAH team and some great opportunities to network with other students involved with the project.
This week as an iFellow, I spent some time moving our office stuff because our original office is under construction. I also spent time preparing my poster for the symposium. The symposium was a great opportunity for meeting people in the iUTAH community. It was very beneficial to talk to people about the research I've been doing for pointers.
The 9th week as an iFellow was stellar. The pressure was on this week. It was really fun and engaging to be with the team this week and see our efforts come to fruition with our completed posters and supplemental video. We launched our project to the iUTAH community and beyond and we got some really great questions about our project as well as some great feedback about our supplemental Utah Water Voices videos. The symposium was certainly the highlight of this week.
Week 9 has been great, but the highlight of the whole week was the symposium in Midway. It was really neat to see all of the different projects going on throughout the iUTAH program. It was also really interesting to see how many people are involved in iUTAH projects throughout the state. Overall, it was a great week!
This week was spent preparing for the iUTAH symposium by editing and finishing my research poster. The symposium itself was great practice for poster presentation and also interesting to hear about other research projects.
This past week I was able to complete data analysis on all of my storm samples. I also completed my poster and presented at the iUTAH symposium on Friday. On Thursday we went to all of the Red Butte Creek sites to flag their locations in order to prep for the all hands sampling that is happening in the up coming week. Things are wrapping up and going really well.