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Kei Matsumoto

During the first two weeks, I was not really sure if I was able to contribute much in the research …

August 10, 2020

I want to start off by saying a big thanks to Pedro, Jenny, and John for everything they have given to us interns. I would also give tons of appreciation and thanks to my fellow interns that were in this internship as well for creating a fun and social environment for me.

During the first two weeks, I was not really sure if I was able to contribute much in the research because I struggled with the R practices that everyone did. It was not really easy for me because I did not have a coding background and it was my first time actually doing hands on coding. I remember the time where I thought coding was putting already written codes together like a jigsaw puzzle. However, after working with everybody, especially Rishi and Raymond, I was able to learn much more and faster as help was there whenever needed. This is why I loved this program. If it were not for such awesome support and help by everyone, I would be a lost intern not knowing anything. Now, I was able to finish the internship program and leave lots of memories and learn lots of new techniques like the code R and more about Brachiopods.

The activities Michael planned for us were probably the most fun activities during the entire program. We were even able to make a masterpiece of Pedro on a Komodo Dragon! It was a good way to take a break off of constant research and work and it gave a ton of laughs in the zoom call.

At the final presentations, I have to admit that I was seriously nervous because all of my family members joined the meeting. My group was also last at presenting so it upped the pressure even higher with people interested in brachiopods. However, when it was my groups’ turn, the pressure vanished and I was extremely calm. For once, I felt good about our presentation.

Overall, this internship has been a blast and even though I wish to do more physical and on hands events, I understand the situation we are in currently. I just hope to be able to see everybody in person in the future and have tons of fun. Again, I just want to give thanks to everybody who was part of the internship, all the advisors, and all the people who joined in as guest speakers. This internship made my Summer a great one.

After 3 weeks of this program, my first impressions were beyond my expectations.

July 10, 2020

After 3 weeks of this program, my first impressions were beyond my expectations. I thought at first that I would not be able to blend in with my other interns but as soon as week one was complete, I started to have large similarities with other people. The small activities Pedro conducted every now and then helped me a lot to get to know my fellow interns and if there weren’t any activities, I would be alone due to my shyness. I expected non-stop boring lectures that continued for weeks but the way people get to ask questions frequently and the interactiveness of the lectures hooked me in. I was not very sure about the whole archaeologist idea, but after the first week, I was intrigued. Learning from home has its ups and downs or pros and cons. The pros are that it is easy to ask questions, it is great to stay in a quiet environment, and the whole driving to Stanford was removed so I don’t need to wake up early. The cons are that many fun activities Pedro was preparing were removed and I can’t meet my interns in person (yet). What bummed me the most was the Pokemon Go activity Pedro was going to do. I don’t really know much people my age that still play Pokemon Go and the idea of finding diversity in Pokemon really excited me. Working with R and reading papers were a bit confusing from time to time where there were certain areas that other people knew more than what I knew. But this was not really an issue because the explanations and exercises for R really let me understand how to code. In the future, I really want to know about how scientists really know when the species originated because I understand how they can find what time the species was extinct but not when they originated. The best thing that I have experienced in this internship so far is that I was able to solve my boredom. Due to COVID-19 and shelter in place, most of my plans were cancelled so I had not much to do, but this internship ended that boredom and it is fun to be able to talk with others about science.