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Summer Research Experience: Student Blog

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Spotlight on Summer Students

February 14, 2014, by Clarisse Hart
Every winter, we stop to recognize recent Summer Research Program students for the incredible strides they have made using their summer data. Many students co-authored papers in 2013-2014 with their summer mentors: Jennie Sirota (REU '12) and mentors Aaron Ellison and Ben Baiser made a splash in the news with their paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences : " Organic-matter loading determines regime shifts and alternative states in an aquatic ecosystem " Lindsay Day (REU student '11 and proctor '12) was lead author for a paper in Quaternary Research with mentor Wyatt Oswald...Read more >

Alumni profile: Where are you now?

August 6, 2013
Brady Hardiman Summer Research Program '03 Mentor: Julian Hadley Project: Photosynthetic rates of Betula lenta : Effects on canopy carbon storage rates in a changing environment College and major: Ashland, Ohio Biology/Chemistry-2003 What you miss most about the Summer Research program : Hanging out with my REU cohort. They were a really fun and diverse group. I learned a lot from them and have enjoyed staying in touch. Also, the food was excellent. What you miss least about the program : Shared bathrooms and mosquitos. What about the program has stuck with you : The training in following a...Read more >

Alumni profile: Where are you now?

August 1, 2013
Moussa Bakari Summer Research Program '11 Mentor : Jim Tang Project:  Soil Carbon Dynamics at Harvard Forest College and major: Lincoln University, Environmental Science and GIS. 2010. What you miss most about the Summer Research program : I miss the interaction with the mentors on a very casual basis. While some of the seminars were long, it was good to be able to have a one on one discussion with the presenters. There were a great opportunities, all around. What you miss least about the program : When in the field, it is always a good idea to have back-up power for your equipment. What...Read more >

Alumni profile: Where are you now?

July 29, 2013
Brynne Simmons Summer Research Program '06 Mentor: Audrey Barker-Plotkin Project: Where Seedlings and Saplings Prefer to Grow College and major: Johnson C. Smith University, majored in biology and minored in chemistry, 2007 What you miss most about the Summer Research program:  I miss going into the forest with Audrey and collecting data. I also miss the people I worked with and their mentors. What you miss least about the program: Living next to cows. What about the program has stuck with you:  I enjoyed the research I did and how friendly the staff were. I was a picky eater and when the...Read more >

Alumni profile: Where are you now?

July 24, 2013
Linn Jennings Summer Research Program '11 Mentors: Kristina Stinson and Sydne Record Project: A Demographic Study of Ambrosia artemisiifolia (Ragweed) Across a Rural to Urban Gradient in Massachusetts Hometown: Santa Barbara, California College and major: Mount Holyoke College, Environmental Studies, 2012 What you miss most about the Summer Research program :  I enjoyed spending lots of time outdoors and doing field research with other students. I also really loved living in Fisher house with all of my housemates! What you miss least about the program :  Nothing. What about the program has...Read more >

Alumni profile: Where are you now?

July 18, 2013
Lawren Sack Summer Research Program Project: Posion Ivy Hometown: Western Mass What about the program has stuck with you:  The REU program was the first place where I had the opportunity to design, from the beginning, my own scientific experiments. These skills have certainly stuck with me. Did your Summer Research experience support or change your school/career plans:  No. It definitely supported my school and career plans, and played a key role in my sucessful application to graduate school. What are you up to now:  After completing my PhD at UC Berkeley in 2010, I was a California...Read more >

Alumni profile: Where are you now?

July 16, 2013
Roxanne Ardershiri
Roxanne Ardeshiri Summer Research Program '10 Mentor: Benjamin Baiser Project:  Community Ecology of "Sarracenia pupurea" Pitcher Plants College and major: UC Berkeley, Class of 2012 Molecular Environmental Biology B.S. What you miss most about the Summer Research program:  The forest itself, Tim's meals, assisting Aaron Ellison with his field work (trekking through Vermont bogs to find the elusive pitcher plant!), the cows, honing my canoeing skills and all of the social connections I made there. What you miss least about the program:  The tedious lab work. What about the program has...Read more >

Alumni profile: Where are you now?

July 11, 2013
Sarah Pears Boswell
Sarah Pears Boswell Summer Research Program '02 Mentors: Steve Wofsy; David Bryant; Lucy Hutyra Project: Stand Response to Inundation Hometown: Pennsylvania College and major: Dickinson College, Environmental Science 2004 What you miss most about the Summer Research program:  The collection of researchers- so many interesting people and cool projects in one place! I also miss running on the HF roads and trails. What you miss least about the program: The inherent drama of a large house full of college students. What about the program has stuck with you: I really learned how to do field-based...Read more >

Alumni profile: Where are you now?

July 5, 2013
Amy Churchill
Amy Churchill Summer Research Program '07 Mentor: Missy Holbrook Project: Consequences of Fertile/Sterile Leaf Dimorphism in Ferns Hometown: Auburn, ME  College and major: Stonehill College in Environmental Studies and Biology, 2008  What you miss most about the Summer Research program: I miss the feeling of being surrounded by other students learning at the same rate as myself, and being focused completely on our projects without teaching, grants or the outside world getting in the way.  What you miss least about the program: Pre-dawn water potential measurements!  What about the program...Read more >

Spotlight on summer students

October 1, 2012
Just a few of the many accomplishments by Harvard Forest summer students past and present: Deepa Rao (REU '11) won the Christopher Goetze prize this year for best senior thesis in the Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Science department at MIT. Her thesis, a continuation of her Harvard Forest summer project, was advised by her summer mentor, Laura Meredith. She and Laura are working on publishing their results; in the meantime, they'll present this research at AGU's annual meeting this fall. Megan Bartlett (REU '09) and her mentor Andrew Richardson have published a new paper, "Variation in...Read more >

What are you up to now?

May 30, 2012
Bennet Leon Summer Research Program '05 Mentors: Audrey Barker-Plotkin Project: Evolution of pit and mound microtopography 15 years after a simulated hurricane (abstract)  Hometown: Sudbury, MA College and major: Bates College, class of 2007, Geology What you miss most about the Summer Research program: Being around enthusiastic students with similar interests and spending all day in the hemlock forest or simulated hurricane experiment. What you miss least about the program: Having Lyme disease--check for ticks! What about the program has stuck with you: A better understanding of our...Read more >

More summer research program alumni news

April 2, 2012
As we prepare for our 2012 crop of Summer Research students, congratulations are in order for a few program alumni: Israel Del Toro (REU '08), a graduate student at UMass-Amherst, has earned a Fulbright to study ants in Australia in 2012-2013. Maggie Wagner (REU '09) has earned an NSF GRFP fellowship to support her graduate work in conservation genetics at Duke University. Nick Povak (REU '02), Megan Manner and Donald Niebyl (both REU '04) have published a paper in Ecosphere with several Harvard Forest scientists on the density and distribution of the hemlock woolly adelgid.Read more >

Spotlight on summer students

January 17, 2012
Several of our recent Summer Research Program students have had their research featured in the news this year: Jakob (REU '11) via The New York Times! (pp3-4 + slideshow) Linn and Sofiya (REU '11) via Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts Alanna (REU '11) via San Juan College (p. 5) Tara (REU '11) via the U. of Massachusetts-Amherst Andrew (REU '11) via Ripon College in Wisconsin Sam (REU '11) via Middlebury College in Vermont Lindsay (REU '11) via Emerson College in Massachusetts Kevin (REU '11) via Notre Dame in Indiana Marcus (REU '11) via Clark U. in Massachusetts Kate (REU '11)...Read more >

What are you up to now?

June 9, 2011
Dunbar Carpenter REU '07 and '09 Mentors: Kristina Stinson, David Foster, Jonathan Thompson Project: Landscape-scale Ecological Drivers of Alliaria Petiolata Invasion in Western Massachusetts (2007); Biomass Energy and a Changing Forest Landscape: Modeling the Effects of Intensified Harvesting of Massachusetts' Forests for Biomass Energy Production (2009) Hometown: Portland, OR College and major: Harvard College, class of 2008, Organismic and Evolutionary Biology What you miss most about the REU program: Being at Harvard Forest surrounded by great peers and scientists. Working closely with...Read more >

What are you up to now?

May 10, 2011
Cassandra Rivas REU '08 Mentor: Audrey Barker Plotkin Project: Forest type transition directly influences the seed bank Hometown: Edinburgh, TX College and major: University of Texas-Pan American, class of 2008, Biology/Music What you miss most about the REU program: I miss the east coast forests, the fire tower (great for meditation & an easy get-away), afternoon thunderstorms, and all the wonderful people I met that summer. What you miss least about the REU program: The humidity and mosquitoes. What about the REU program has stuck with you: The field experience (botany/forestry) I...Read more >

Spotlight on summer students

November 22, 2010
Several of our recent REU students were featured in stories written by their home universities this year. Sarah (REU '10) at St. Norbert College in Wisconsin Lianna with Sofiya and Cory (REU '10) at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts Andrea (REU '10) at Humboldt State University in California Margaurete (REU '10) at Saint Leo University in Florida Mickey (REU '10) at Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania Angie (REU '10) at Clark University in Massachusetts. David, Relena, and Jen (REU '03, '08, and '09) at Harvard and Wellesley Colleges in Massachusetts And check out Allison's...Read more >

Harvard Forest get-together at the ESA annual meeting

August 10, 2010, by Aleta Wiley
This year, Harvard Forest organized a social event at the Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America in Pittsburgh, PA. The goals of the social were to bring together past and current folks who have worked at the Forest to catch up with each other and to provide an occasion for any undergraduates attending the ESA Meeting to come learn about opportunities at the Forest. On August 3, 17 people attended the social at Olive or Twist, a martini bar close to the Convention Center in Pittsburgh. 7 past REU students, 5 past researchers, 4 current researchers, and 1 potential future REU...Read more >

What are you up to now?

June 28, 2010
Brian Warshay
Brian Warshay REU '05 Mentor: Jacque Mohan Project: Physiological Girdling of Forest Trees: Developments of a New Method to Understand Soil Respiration Hometown: Eastchester, NY College and major: Cornell University, Natural Resources & Environmental Engineering Technology (double major) What you miss most about the REU program:The people and friends met there and the good times we had after our work days were complete. What you miss least about the REU program: The mosquitoes and humidity. What about the REU program has stuck with you: My appreciation for the dedication and efforts that...Read more >

What are you up to now?

June 22, 2010
Alison Grantham
Alison Grantham REU '08 Mentor: Steve Wofsy Hometown: Los Angeles, CA Major/Minor: Biological Sciences/ Environmental Studies, '08 What you miss most about the REU program?: The setting and atmosphere was so nice for focusing on science and making great friends. I loved going for evening runs in the woods and taking weekend hikes and trips with other REUs. What you miss least about the REU program?: The mosquitoes. What about the REU program has stuck with you?: The project I worked on has guided my subsequent career moves, so I guess C and N dynamics and climate implications stuck. Have you...Read more >

What are you up to now?

April 12, 2010
Amanda (Park) Miller REU '03 Mentor: Dave Orwig Project: Vegetation and Nitrogen Dynamics Following Selective Hemlock Logging Hometown: Wolcott, NY College and major: SUNY College of Env. Science and Forestry, Syracuse U.; Environmental and Forest Biology, class of 2003 What you miss most about the REU program: It was an incredible experience for many reasons. The people you meet are fantastic, interesting, and intellectual, resulting in friendships that have persisted over time. The facilities at Harvard Forest were wonderful, from the labs down the housing! And of course, the research...Read more >

What are you up to now?

April 12, 2010
Jessica (Scott) Pascoe
Jessica (Scott) Pascoe REU '00 Mentor: Rebecca Field Hometown: Albuquerque, NM College and major: Swarthmore College, Biology and Environmental Studies, class of 2000 What you miss most about the REU program: Being surrounded by amazing scientific researchers, and daily bird counts. What you miss least about the REU program: 55 mosquito bites on one hand, waking up at 4:30am every day for bird counts. What about the REU program has stuck with you: I met one of my best friends at Harvard Forest and we both maintain Harvard Forest was one of the best summers of our lives. Have you stayed in...Read more >

What are you up to now?

April 12, 2010
Charlotte Chang
Charlotte Chang REU '08 Mentor: Mike Kaspari Project: Soil salinity in a temperate forest ecosystem impacts ant foraging behavior (abstract) Hometown: Santa Barbara, CA College and major: Pomona College, Biology, class of 2010 What you miss most about the REU program: I miss Tim's cooking, the house full of REU love, and the woods. What you miss least about the REU program: Being far from home was about it. What about the REU program has stuck with you: The research skills I gained, the friendships I made, bike rides (soars?) down the steep hill to the left of Harvard Forest, and the cows...Read more >

What are you up to now?

December 7, 2009
Gui Woolston
Gui Woolston REU '03 Mentors: Kathleen Donohue, Kristina Stinson Project: The influence of habitat on the demography, meristem allocation, and fecundity of Allaria petiolata Hometown: New Haven, CT College and major: Harvard College, Economics, class of '06 What you miss most about the REU program: The people, the fun, and the research. What you miss least about the REU program: Almost nothing. What about the REU program has stuck with you: Life-long friends. Have you stayed in touch with other REU students?: Yes. Whether your REU experience supported or changed your career plans: It got me...Read more >

What are you up to now?

October 6, 2009
Maggie Wagner
Maggie Wagner REU '09 Mentors: Dave Orwig, Audrey Barker-Plotkin Project: Mortality, coarse woody debris, and nutrient cycling over 20 years in a virgin Tsuga canadensis forest in New Hampshire (abstract) Hometown: Troy, MI College and major: University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Plant Biology, class of '09 What you miss most about the REU program: The location-- I loved being in the forest with tons of opportunities for outdoor recreation. I also liked living with my friends and fellow students at Fisher House. What you miss least about the REU program: The fruit flies in Fisher House. What...Read more >

What are you up to now?

October 6, 2009
Megan Woltz
Megan Woltz REU '06 Mentors: Kristina Stinson, Kathleen Donohue Project: Garlic mustard population demographics differ among forest habitats at the Harvard Forest LTER (abstract) Hometown: Afton, NC College and major: North Carolina State University, Environmental Sciences, Ecology Concentration, Class of '07 What you miss most about the REU program: Sitting around Fisher House cracking jokes with other REUs and Tim's excellent cooking. What you miss least about the REU program: Poison ivy and mosquitoes that bite through carharts! What about the REU program has stuck with you: The conviction...Read more >

What are you up to now?

October 6, 2009
Jhessye Moore-Thomas
Jhessye Moore-Thomas REU '08 Mentor: Audrey Barker-Plotkin Project: Investigating Water Table Levels Affected by Topography and Clearcut Forest Harvest (abstract) Hometown: Tampa, FL College and major: University of Central Florida, Environmental Studies and Film, class of '09 What you miss most about the REU program: I miss the mentors! They were so awesome! What you miss least about the REU program: The ticks and the deerflies! What about the REU program has stuck with you: The amount of hard work and the beauty of presenting what you have done and learned to other people. Have you stayed...Read more >

What are you up to now?

September 18, 2009
Alana Belcon
Alana Belcon REU '03 Mentor: Aaron Ellison Project: Distribution and diversity of bog vegetation at Tom Swamp Hometown: Arima, Trinidad & Tobago College and major: Mount Holyoke College, Environmental Studies, class of 2004 What you miss most about the REU program: The camaraderie between participants. It was awesome being with so many other young people who were all environmentally/ecologically minded. What you miss least about the REU program: Working in the bog (Tom Swamp) by myself. I enjoyed my project but it was difficult doing it solo. What about the REU program has stuck with you...Read more >

What are you up to now?

September 18, 2009
Naomi Clark
Naomi Clark REU '03 Mentors: Eric Davidson, Kathleen Savage Project: Comparing root respiration of three tree species Hometown: Harpers Ferry, WV College and major: West Virginia University, Biology, class of '04 What you miss most about the REU program: I miss so many things! For one, the people I met were truly amazing. The setting couldn't have been better, either! I'll never forget our weekend adventures or midweek climbs up the water tower! What you miss least about the REU program: Black flies! What about the REU program has stuck with you: The sense of community was really moving for...Read more >

What are you up to now?

September 18, 2009
Daniella Rodriguez
Daniella Rodriguez REU '09 Mentor: Shannon Pelini Project: Under warmer conditions, the advantage of improved foraging is negated by increased mortality in Aphaenogaster rudis (abstract) Hometown: Yuma, AZ College and major: Arizona State University, Conservation Biology and Ecological Sustainability, class of '11 What you miss most about the REU program: My mentor and the friends I made. What you miss least about the REU program: Living with 20 other people. What about the REU program has stuck with you: How to start and go about a science project - and that research can take a lot of work...Read more >

What are you up to now?

September 18, 2009
Rob Hanifin
Rob Hanifin REU '04 Mentor: Project: First year reproductive responses of two forest herbs to experimental soil warming Hometown: Deptford, NJ College and major: Dickinson College, Biology/Environmental Science, class of '06 What you miss most about the REU program: Tim's food. Interacting and working with so many interesting people, from a variety of backgrounds, studying different but interesting and relevant topics. What you miss least about the REU program: Four of us rooming together in the same room. What about the REU program has stuck with you: That there are many intelligent...Read more >

What are you up to now?

September 18, 2009
Jen Levye
Jen Levye REU '09 Mentor: Missy Holbrook, Jim Wheeler Project: Implications of Sectoral Variation in Red Oaks and Red Maples on Sap Flow Measurements (abstract) Hometown: Sharon, MA College and major: Harvard College, Organismic & Evolutionary Biology, class of '11 W hat you miss most about the REU program: I miss the amazing people I met this summer. I miss being able to go on hikes through the woods after a day in the lab, and I miss my lab, with the awesome set-up we had going. What you miss least about the REU program: The mosquitoes. But more seriously, there were times when my job...Read more >

What are you up to now?

September 18, 2009
Tawny Virgilio
Tawny Virgilio REU '09 Mentor: Dave Orwig, Heidi Lux Project: The Use of Mixed-Bead Resins to Determine the Effect of Two Invasive Insects on Throughfall Nitrogen Dynamics Under Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis L.) (abstract) Hometown: Hinsdale, MA College and major: Westfield State College, Environmental Science/Biology, class of '10 What you miss most about the REU program: All of the people I met this past summer- the staff at the forest, the researchers, and most of all, my colleagues. What you miss least about the REU program: Worrying about whether or not I contracted Lyme Disease.....Read more >

What are you up to now?

September 18, 2009
Corietta Teshera-Sterne
Corietta (Cory) Teshera-Sterne REU '09 Mentor: Emery Boose Project: A Software Engineering Approach to Scientific Data Provenance (abstract) Hometown: Seattle, WA College and major: Mount Holyoke College, Biology/Computer Science, class of '10 What you miss most about the REU program: Being around scientists all the time, the food, my friends, and the forest right outside my door. What you miss least about the REU program: The insects, indoors and out. What about the REU program has stuck with you: My project - it's continuing on to be my senior thesis, so I'll be stuck with it for a while...Read more >

What are you up to now?

September 18, 2009
Joanna Bate REU '03 Mentor: David Kittredge Project: Timber harvesting: a study of the effects of socio-economic characteristics and forest ownership patterns in Massachusetts and New Hampshire Hometown: Nashville, TN College and major: Haverford College, Biology, class of '03 What you miss most about the REU program: Living with smart, fun, creative people my age in a remote setting where we had to make up our own fun. What you miss least about the REU program: Sitting at a computer all day doing GIS was a little boring. What about the REU program has stuck with you: My friendships, and my...Read more >

What are you up to now?

April 7, 2009
Alyssa Hernandez REU '08 Mentor: Aaron Ellison Project: Forest canopy loss affects the competition dynamics of carabid beetles [Carabidae] (abstract) Hometown: Camarillo, CA College and Major: Cornell University, Natural Resources, class of 2010 What you miss most about the REU program: The fabulous group of REUers, being surrounded by the forest....and my mentor! What you miss least about the REU program: Mosquitoes, ticks, and trips to the medical center. What about the REU program has stuck with you: I came out of the program with a better understanding of field research and lab work. I...Read more >

What are you up to now?

April 7, 2009
Ernesto I. Rodriguez REU '07 Mentor: Aaron Ellison Project: Effects of Deer Population in Ant Density in Black Rock Forest, Quabbin Reservoir, and Simes Tract (abstract) Hometown: Yuma, AZ College and major: Northern Arizona University, Environmental Sciences with Biology Emphasis, class of 2009 What you miss most about the REU program: The food and the tranquility of the forest. What you miss least about the REU program: The blood sucking insects. What about the REU program has stuck with you: I continue to study ants, as I did in my project. However, I changed the focus of my studies...Read more >

What are you up to now?

March 26, 2009
Samantha Hilerio REU '08 and '09 Mentors: Aaron Ellison, Clarisse Hart Projects: Canopy Type Affects Habitat Preference in Web-Building and Hunting Spiders; The Presence of Spiders Reduces Ant Activity in Bogs Hometown: Barre, MA College and major: Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Aerospace Engineering, class of 2012 What you miss most about the REU program: Doing my job in the woods, what better place is there? What you miss least about the REU program: Soil respiration- all be wary of the huge machine with the collar. What about the REU program has stuck with you: I learned a whole lot...Read more >

What are you up to now?

March 26, 2009
Jonathan Mejia REU '08 Mentor: Aaron Ellison Project: Measuring Niche Overlap Between Spiders and the Northern Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia purpurea) in Tom Swamp (abstract) Hometown: NYC College and major: University of Vermont, Biological Science, class of 2009 What you miss most about the REU program: The people there were great and so was the house. It was seriously the best summer experience I ever had. But I have to say that what I miss most is the lab. What you miss least about the REU program: I miss the mosquitoes least. They were vicious and unfriendly. What about the REU program has...Read more >

What are you up to now?

September 11, 2001
Jennifer Popham
Jennifer Popham REU '09 Mentor: Ed Faison Project: Seedling & Sapling Composition Influences Browsing Intensity of Ungulates in Massachusetts (abstract) Hometown: Gardner, MA College and major: University of Massachusetts, Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation, class of 2010 What you miss most about the REU program: I miss the people I worked with and spending every day outdoors in the woods. What you miss least about the REU program: Getting soaked in the field on rainy days wasn't fun. What about the REU program has stuck with you: The friendships I made and the memories of seeing moose...Read more >

What are you up to now?

September 11, 2001
Julia Ka'iulani Nelson REU '03 Mentor: Kristina Stinson Project: Effects of soil disturbance and mowing on demographic structure and seedling performance in garlic mustard (Allaria petiolata) populations Hometown: Honolulu, Hawaii College and major: Stanford University, Anthropological Sciences/Archaeology, class of 2004 What you miss most about the REU program: Too many things! Mostly the wonderful people I met there, but also being out in the field. Harvard Forest is beautiful! What you miss least about the REU program: Absolutely nothing! I miss it all. What about the REU program has stuck...Read more >