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Lena Huynh

Time to End the Chapter:

posted August 09, 2017

I am proud to say that I was part of the Stanford Earth Young Investigators internship. This program has been the most memorable moment so far in my life. I looked forward to commuting to Stanford every day because I knew we were going to learn or experience something new. The type of environment that the Geology Corner had made me feel motivated and engaged.

The last few weeks flew by really fast.. especially since school was right around the corner. Of course, Amanda and I continued to work hard on butterfly collections along with our own research project. Our project focuses on the relationship between Ursidae body sizes and global climate change. We decided to work on Ursidae because researchers have only been studying polar bears, but not on all species. To begin the study, we compiled data sets from both Stanford and the Paleobiology database. The data sets were then reproduced as graphs using the R programming system in order to easily analyze the variables: (1) body mass, (2) carbon dioxide concentration, (3) geological time, and (4) paleolatitude. After analyzing the graphs, we discovered that there was a negative correlation between carbon dioxide concentration and Ursidae body mass. Because of the decrease in temperature, their bodies require more muscles or fat as an adaptive response to the climate change. The muscles and fat act as heat insulators that will keep the mammal warm.

On our last day (for the interns who started school early), Amanda and I presented our research project to the other interns as well as some of the staff in the department. It was definitely a new experience to be given the opportunity to share our findings with others. The interaction between the presenters and the audience was very insightful. We discussed the study together through different perspectives regarding the topic. Not only was it a learning experience for them, but for us as well. I never realized how often scientists or researchers come together to converse about their studies. Although it was my first time working on a research project, the results from our hard work were very satisfying to see. Printing out the 3.5 by 3.5 feet poster was gratifying in its own special way.

August 7th, 2017 marks the end of my internship. As a way to show my gratitude toward the program director, Jennifer Saltzman, and to my supervisor, Noel Heim, I decided to create a miniature terrarium for them. I started off with a mason jar and then gradually added things inside: pebbles, moss, small pine cones, and most importantly, a butterfly. (Fun facts!! The pine cones were found outside the Braun building. The basal apical length of the butterfly was 46.8 mm while the body length measured to be 25.41 mm.)

With the knowledge and experiences I have gained throughout this program, I will make sure to remember this chapter in my life.

~ Not a “Goodbye” but rather a “See you soon”

Butterfly Crew
Measuring tool
Last Few Measurements

Greater Understanding, Greater Bonds, and a Great Time

posted July 25, 2017

I cannot believe the program is almost ending. The different things I learned throughout this program provided me with a better understanding of … just life.

The countless scientific research papers we read and listening to presentations given by graduate students were all very inspiring. The amount of interest, effort, and enthusiasm these people poured into a 30 minute time span is amazing. Their studies really paved the way for other scientists to continue answering other questions about the world that may be of help in the near future. Other than listening to guest speakers or reading through articles, we get the opportunity to ask our own questions and further explore them. The interns and I are given a chance to conduct our own studies. 1) Writing a proposal. It was my first time writing a proposal for a study, but I am glad we were given examples and suggestions along the way. 2) Collect and compile your data. This was difficult. Noel first introduced us to the R programming language and taught us the basics. After many failed attempts to create codes, Amanda (my partner) and I finally got the hang of it with the help of our supervisor and peers. 3) Poster time! On our last day we will finally get to present our study.

Outside of the lab, the other interns and I use our free time to just explore the campus or go on field trips together. For instance Emily, a graduate student and our activities director, along with the other interns took a stroll to the cactus garden on campus. I am glad that Emily took the time to help the interns interact with one another while exploring the beautiful things on campus. On July 11th, we went to Salinas Valley for our camping trip. This was my first time camping out (besides Science Camp) and I was a bit hesitant at first. However, the trip allowed us to create a stronger bond together. I guess you can say we learned more than just rocks… we learned more about each other.

Aloe vera you very much
Amazing People I met
Cactus Garden
Lookin' Sharp
Group of interns
Group Picture at Pinnacles

I am seriously having a great time at Stanford and I hope to create even more great memories!

Cact (I) + Cact (You) = Cact (Us)

First impression of the Geology Corner

posted July 03, 2017

The program here at Stanford changed how I viewed the science field. As of 2017 the biodiversity team is focusing on Lepidoptera (insanely attractive butterflies and moths). So far, it has been a remarkable experience working alongside the other interns as well as other professors. The data collection may be tedious, but I receive this satisfaction from completing sets of measurements. I know that these measurements will help answer some questions about our world. Other than just using calipers and typing in the data onto a spreadsheet, the interns and I get to learn more about what the other researchers are working on. Not only is this just a break from data collection, it gives us an opportunity to learn more about our world and things that we are usually
not aware of.

Rather than staring at textbooks inside a classroom, we were able to look at actual fossils during our field trip to Capitola. It was not my first time in
that area, but going to the site with the intent to find them made it more realistic in a sense. I have only seen fossils in museums up until the field trip.
The trip made it ten times more interesting and it caught my interest in comparison to reading it in plain text.

Aside from the research at Stanford, I learned how daily commuters felt. Downtown traffic, the possibility that I will be late, and

running to the train station are all new experiences to me. I finally get to understand what workers have to go through every single day. Public transportation
had always been bizarre to me because I usually go by car. After commuting to Palo Alto every day, I realized that it comes with so many environmental and
economic benefits.

My summer so far has been full of "first experiences" because I am exposed to a new environment. I hope to continue having fun in this program along with
the other interns!