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Cathy Tang

intern experiences back at school

posted Sep 16, 2013

A little over a month ago, I was surrounded with a group of welcoming, understanding, interesting people. Today, the HOL-ers are keeping in touch with one another through our own facebook group. I can not wait to be reunited with everyone at AGU. Speaking of AGU, Alondra, Mayra, and I carried out some research and discovered that not all mass extinction affects organisms size. We felt accomplished that after eight weeks of data collecting, we were able to come up with a conclusion where it relates to Bergman’s rule.

The experiences I gained over the summer helped me in this 2014 school year. As a senior, I am taking AP Statistics, and we are collecting and using a lot of data. My AP Statistics teacher was surprised that I knew what a box plot describes and also excited to know I knew about “p” where the smaller the “p-value” is the exact the result are. Also as a senior, I am taking AP Human Geography, and the first thing we learned about were maps. Not only was I able to explain in detailed what different types of maps are, I was the fastest person to interpret a map’s data. Also, in my AP Human Geography class, my teacher talked about GIS, and I exclaimed that I used the program before, needless to say she was impressed.

I am so glad I had the opportunity to intern with so many amazing people and gain countless of relevant skills in the process. Thank you so much.

something new everyday

posted July 26, 2013

With only two weeks left in the program, we interns have to work extra hard to make sure each task is completed and accurate. We have finally finished the first 27 volumes of the Ostracods (the important ones) and are continuing to collect more data with measuring and inputting it into the spreadsheets. As Alondra stated in her last blog, “Though at times collecting data gets a little repetitive, we are aware that it will benefit us greatly when we start our own research projects”, this is true. I am working with Mayra and Alondra on a project concerning crinoids sizes and mass extinctions. We predicted that after each major extinction, crinoid sizes are expected to increase, and also that the larger the crinoids are, the more prone they are to extinction. We used the data we collected to compile graphs by typing in codes in R (a statistical program). After doing a T- test on the sizes and extinctions period, we realized that we are back to square one! There is no major change in sizes after extinction. I said, “We failed,” and Alondra said, “This is just the process of science,” and as corny as the moment was, my spirits were lifted and we will continue and push on with our project.

I learn something new everyday. It’s non-stop learning, especially on Wednesdays. I learned more about the underground water supply thanks to the Hydrology discussion. I learned more about earthquakes and “created my own earth-quakes”. And today, the History of Life interns explored Berkley’s campus for fossils and fault lines. We first visited the fossil collections at Berkeley and sorted out different types of fossils not by genera, but by physical appearances. It was fun and my brain became really creative. We then toured the museum, and I saw an eight inch crinoid fossil! You can only imagine my excitement (after all, my project is on crinoids). Then we hiked up a road and entered the stadium directly located on top of the Hayward fault line. After, we hiked up a bit more and followed a road to the creek. From there we learned about the geometrical appearances that the creek had. Overall, the trip was tiring, but worth every step. I hadn’t visited Berkeley before, so I was fascinated the whole day. Also, Matt, the marine biologist, pushed my dreams of scuba diving even farther.


The fossils that we sorted at the Paleontology Museum at UC Berkeley


TYRANNOSAURUS REX!!! (They really do have small arms)


Berkley's stadium! I'd love to play football here ;D




A path to enlightenment regarding about faultlines and water movement

Two beaches in photos

posted July 09, 2013

abundant supply of fossils

posted July 06, 2013

In the last two weeks I have learned and accomplished so much in the History of Life program. I had made many new and interesting friends, and learned how to used excel within the first day. I was surprised that the program entrusted us (a group of high schoolers) with a rather intriguing and expensive measuring tool, and I learned how to properly use a hand len. I got to see a bigger picture of the world we lived in. Noel taught the group major topics concerning ocean life and fossil life. He taught us how important it is to keep track and compare organisms sizes to help relate and predict the future patterns. Although "inputting data" sounds tedious, Noel and the many friends I befriended, made it enjoyable. We had group projects where we research certain fossils, looked and observed actual fossils. During inputting data, I shared my personal life with the friends whom I worked it and learned about theirs. It was never "boring". I had my motives to keep working at a fast speed. I don't think a lot of people can say they finished an entire volume of ostracods, and measured each fossilized picture. Another thing I enjoyed is that we been have discussion during Wednesday. I discovered a lot about careers corning soil, carbon sequestration, and oceanography.

The most recent and relevant topic I want to focus my blog on is our recent field trip to New Brighton Beach and Pebble Beach. Before this field trip, I didn't know that the public had access to an abundant supply of fossils. I explored the beaches and tide pools. When I told my friend what I did that day, they were shocked, "Two beaches in one day?" I had a lot of fun learning and interacting with the people and organisms around me. Before this field trip, I thought sea urchins were poisonous. I don't think I would ever go near one, let alone actually hold one. But I did, and I learned so much. I thought they didn't move, thus I was appalled by the sea urchin moving across my hand. Instead of catching waves, I caught abundant supply of crabs. I loved the scenery on Pebble Beach. I enjoyed the entire day overall.