Bon Jovi and lots of data fill my head! Week 4

Hold up! Week 4? Already? Wowza – so much to do, so little time!

I know this is supposed to be a summary of week 4, but I’m going to squeeze a bit of last week into this blog starting with the Round Robin tours. The labs were amazing! I enjoyed seeing them all  – the flies, the pooter tubes, the nanotubes, the weird smells, the crazy warning signs – it was all fascinating! Here are a few pictures that I’m allowed to publish:

At the end of last week, I meet with Ryan Bare of HARC, Houston Area Research Council. He was kind enough to sit and talk with me at their Woodlands office for over an hour! He answered so many of my questions relating to my research with Dr. Masciello and the water chemistry of Buffalo Bayou and beyond. Per our request, HARC sent us historical data collected from a number of sites along the bayous where we are also collecting water samples.

This week, with the help of Loredana Suciu here in the Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences department, I’ve been able to put together data in charts and graphs that will support my research story for my poster presentation. Loredana is a master at Excel and disaggregating raw data, and it was a super helpful experience to learn from her how to take research results and put it into information to use for the symposium.

I’m trying not to panic but instead take small steps while remembering to breathe! Each time I sit down to work on my abstract, I have this overwhelming need to get my poster finished. I have to remember that there is still work to be done and it’s impossible to have all of my data and conclusions ready at this point. I finally made a rough outline of my poster so my mind can at least calm down a little bit.

Getting it down on paper…

This week, I attended another summer luncheon presentation for the undergraduate students in the Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences Department. Eric Barefoot was this week’s guest speaker. We talked about the importance of getting involved in research as an undergraduate student, the obstacles and challenges those students face, as well as the benefits of starting early– even if they feel unsure about the subject. Just ” jump in and learn as you go” was the message. I can totally relate to this because I know I started the RET experience feeling unsure of the academic language everyone was using around me, but it didn’t matter. I’ve kept going, Googled a ton, asked lots of questions, floundered, percolated on a ton of data in my head, and ultimately learned that I am more knowledgeable than I’ve given myself credit for.

This Friday, Solana and I will go and collect more samples from White Oak and Buffalo Bayou, but this time we will be 100% on our own! Dr. Torres and Dr. Masciello will both be out of town. Although I’ll miss them, I’m looking forward to sampling again with just Solana. We will be fine, and I feel so trusted!

Before I go, I wanted to give a big shout to my fellow RET teachers:

  1. Mariana – Thanks for sending me all that data! What I’ve learned from Loredana this week and what you sent me has helped me know more about drawing conclusions and supporting them with graphs from data in an Excel spreadsheet.
  2. Chinyere – Thanks for the helpful poster making tips! Sharing your previous RET experience was greatly appreciated.

I hope everyone has a Happy 4th of July!






4 thoughts on “Bon Jovi and lots of data fill my head! Week 4”

  1. Thank you Melanie! Be safe taking your samples, specially since it might rain on and off this Friday!

  2. The time really is flying by! I’m anxious about having some results in time for my poster, also. I guess we just need to relax and do what we can.

  3. The historical data the HARC gave you sounds really interesting (I love history). Do you think it is something you can add into your classes?

    1. Yes, actually I think I will be using the database with my students. It will be a lesson all on its own- learning how to get info from the database and filter it within an excel spreadsheet. I foresee looking at historical data about Buffalo Bayou for my Texas history class and looking at nutrient data for Spring Creek for our science class. Spring Creek runs through where we live and go to school so it will be interesting to know such information about water that impacts our community.

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