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Jenny Trieu Dang

In no time at all, it feels surreal that the SEYI internship is already almost all wrapped up.

 August 10, 2021

In no time at all, it feels surreal that the SEYI internship is already almost all wrapped up. It felt like just yesterday I was joining the first zoom meeting, and now I’m writing my last blog of the program. This summer flew by so fast; waking up every morning felt like a refreshing gust of new information and activities to immerse oneself in. There was never a dull moment in the program, between the games of Among Us and Uno as well as the alluring lectures.

In recent weeks, we’ve been working together in groups of three to conduct our own research project. How cool is it to come up with your own research question and do your own research and coding to draw conclusions?! My group chose to research how the extinction threat of molluscs may or may not have been affected by body size and different ecologies (in our case, body size was rather a bigger effect on the extinction threat!). Not only did we work on our research project, but we also learned how to measure fossils at our very own home using the program ImageJ/Fiji. It’s amazing how extensive the Stanford database is. Working together with my team, we definitely grew closer together, and I feel as if my sense of teamwork and responsibility has improved greatly. Despite having to graph our data multiple times, I feel as though our project was definitely aimed in the right direction, and it’s a shame we didn’t have enough time to do further extensive research about the effect of ecology on molluscs. One of my favorite moments I’ll always laugh thinking back about is when the professionals present during our final presentations were asking everyone what their favorite molluscs to eat were after my team’s presentation. Who knew our very own Pedro liked to chow down on some scallops?

Eternally grateful, I will never forget the countless memories I’ve made within the Biodiversity program, and I am excited to sooner or later meet the amazing people I’ve worked many hours with on Zoom on a long-awaited trip as well as at the AGU conferences, where we’ll also be sharing our research abstracts. Thank you to all the amazing doctors and undergrads/grads who came and presented their research project to us as well as aid us in better understanding not only their research topic but how to conduct a research project. Thank you to Alli and Jiaming for the amazing work you both did on our project (thank you for picking up my slack… haha). You two are amazing!! I am giving an especially big thank you to all the contributors of the SEYI program, those who committed to moving the program online so that there was not a missed year, giving us a chance to experience the excitement of the SEYI program. Missing y’all lots! Good luck to us on our future endeavors :)

The first time I hit “Launch Meeting”, it felt as if my heart was beating out of my chest.

 July 7, 2021

The first time I hit “Launch Meeting”, it felt as if my heart was beating out of my chest. New surroundings, new people… There was nothing more nerve wracking than entering a room full of strangers, despite it being through a virtual screen. But soon enough these strangers would turn out to be some of the best people I’ve come to work with.

The past three weeks have been an amazing experience, and not only has the program been completely engaging and enjoyable, the people I’ve worked with have been extremely helpful and caring. From listening to and taking notes on lectures to coding various R problem sets, my fellow interns as well as Pedro, Michael, and Leslie have given me an immense amount of assistance (because my coding skills are … questionable) and have helped to boost my confidence, all while being the friendliest and kindest human beings on Earth. I loved learning about the existence of life from the beginning of Earth (or actually just 3.5 billion years ago, a small number in comparison to Earth’s existence) and how recent humans have existed for, but I especially enjoyed the visit from Mr. Joshua B. Zimmt (we’ve got to include the B. ;)), where we got to see real life fossils from his own expedition up close, right on our screen (from his projector microscope, of course)!

But I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about this amazing program and the spectacular people from the other interns. Although I am somewhat disheartened by the fact that this program was once again forced to be online again due to the global pandemic, I am thankful SEYI decided to continue the program virtually. There are many pros and cons to having a virtual program (one being I can’t meet my fellow interns and mentors in person, yet another being I can simply roll out of bed and hop right onto zoom haha), but I am extremely grateful to have been provided this amazing opportunity. I had initially decided to not apply to this internship program, having heard how prestigious and competitive it is. But with a little push from my teachers and friends, I decided to shoot my shot and hit submit on my application. That was arguably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and I still find it hard to believe I’m sitting here, writing this blog post right now. Thank you to all the amazing people who have made this program possible, Dr. Saltzman, Pedro, Michael, Leslie, as well as numerous others who have helped set up this amazing program. I cannot wait to begin working on a research project with my fellow group members in the upcoming weeks.