After two months of research in California, I am happy to say that I had a great experience. Living at the White Mountain Research station has been amazing for a number of reasons. I have met so many different people from all over the US and from all walks of life. I have learned about different species, life histories and identification of plants/ pollinators, but also about other projects, people and places. I spent a majority of my free time without cell service, but became happily immersed in hiking, drawing, and swapping books with people from all corners of the country at the station. Living in rural, eastern California for 8 weeks was a great experience.
The most rewarding part of this internship was getting out of my comfort zone and learning about a completely new field of biology, pollination ecology. I was able to learn many new data collection techniques of plants/ pollinators throughout the summer. I even got the chance to learn more about statistical analysis and how to use data in a meaningful way to answer scientific questions. Though this summer was a great experience, I learned that I am not very interested in pursuing an ecological research career. I spent a lot more time alone in the field than I had anticipated. In the future, I hope to work in an environment where I can work as part of a close team and make more connections. Coming to this realization was a challenge, but I am glad I had this summer internship to help me come to this conclusion. Overall, I had a great summer full of research experiences that will help me to become a better, well-rounded research scientist in the future.