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Jiaming Yuan

I can hardly believe that the whole summer already went by.

 August 10, 2021

I can hardly believe that the whole summer already went by. All the time I spent, even if it was on Zoom, was enjoyable because I was having fun! One part of the internship that I enjoyed tremendously was our reading discussions. The book we read piqued my interest in body size, which I hadn’t considered much before. I was amazed to learn about how size influences physical characteristics, metabolism, and even perception of time. I won’t spoil any more though!

My group’s project looked at body size and ecology differences between ancient and modern mollusks. We wanted to see whether body size or ecology patterns for past extinctions are still relevant to current extinction. We studied bivalves, cephalopods, and gastropods, and I can’t believe I didn’t love them this much before. While doing our project, I’ve discovered that science is about the question being investigated and its implications in addition to simply analyzing data with R and getting results. It was super cool to take the knowledge I had learned in school about biology and statistics and apply it to our project. My teammates, Alli and Jenny, and I worked through everything in the project together. It was difficult to chat at first, but by the end of the program we were talking about future plans and sharing our humor (bivalves, cephalopods, and gastropods were involved).

I enjoyed learning about geological and evolutionary history (yet another topic I didn’t realize I would like so much). I definitely want to take more marine biology or geology related classes in the future. Lastly, I feel that being in this program has given me more confidence in my ideas and capabilities as a student and budding scientist. I’m so grateful to be an intern in the SEYI program this summer!

Coming into this summer program, I was a little intimidated.

July 7, 2021

Coming into this summer program, I was a little intimidated. I had little to no background in paleobiology or coding, so I started off as a passive sponge (slowly) absorbing information. Lectures, group discussions, and practice with the coding language R made me aware of how engaged and talented all the other interns were, and I grew excited knowing I will be doing research with them.

While I was a little frustrated trying to get a feel for things at the start, I can say for sure that this program supports has supported me, and there’s genuinely no rush to understand everything immediately. It took a little over a week before I was comfortable speaking up on Zoom (the “raise hand” button can be intimidating to click). The other interns and mentors are always willing to discuss an inquiry or figure out how to write the code with me. There’s no instance where I would feel as if my questions were stupid or my input was invalid. Having such an environment has definitely helped me grasp the concepts more quickly.

The research we have been learning about has exposed me to a new area of science. The focus on marine organisms and Earth’s history is very exciting to me. I never imagined that I could measure body size data of fossils (or that it would be this simple with digital applications). Looking ahead, I’m excited by all the areas our projects can cover, relating things like body size, temperature, ecology, and other environmental factors. I’m also grateful to have such amazing platforms to present our projects, both at the end of the summer and at AGU, since science is meant to be shared. I’m looking forward to all that I will learn throughout the rest of the summer!