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Noah Rizk

I first arrived at Braun Hall a nervous, scared little boy...

posted August 11, 2017


I first arrived at Braun Hall a nervous, scared little boy. Approximately 8 weeks later marked my last day at Braun Hall. On August 10th, 2017, I left Braun Hall a man. Obviously I'm exaggerating, however this program truly taught me more than I could ever fit in one blog. Lessons and memories I will cherish and keep for the rest of my life. I learned that science is so much more than what it is bogged down to be in school textbooks. Science is interacting/collaborating with others and learning new and original things, not memorizing that mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell. The eight weeks of data collection, answering research questions, listening to researchers talk, and watching Netflix during lunch with friends gave me a better summer than I could ever ask for.

From the bottom of heart I would like to thank Dr. Saltzman, Dr. Heim, Dr. Payne, and all of the Earth Sciences department for giving me this amazing opportunity. I would also like to give extra praise to Noel, and I think I speak for everyone else in the biodiversity program when I say that I truly appreciate your dedication, hard work, and patience in mentoring all of us throughout the program. I'm going to miss all the amazing people I met this summer. Thank you all!

The biodiversity program has continued to improve me as a person...

posted July 25, 2017

The biodiversity program has continued to improve me as a person. Everyday there is something fun and new to participate in.

The group has furthered our collection of data on butterfly sizes. In addition to data collection we have also started working on our own personal research projects. It's really interesting to ponder different questions and to see what we can add to the bubble of knowledge on Earth. Time is also spent listening to really cool talks from various researchers as well as reading.

Pinnacles National Park has been a highlight of my summer. Staying the night camping at Pinnacles was an amazing experience. We got to see things like fire ants, a velvet ant, a black widow, moths, and best of all raccoons. We also hiked up Pinnacles and on the walk we were able to explore so many different rocks and learn about the field of geology. Furthermore we were able to see faults and Pinnacle formations when we reached the top of the trail. The best part of the trip was probably the cheeky fajitas.

I'm excited to continue this program (and go canoeing) and I can't describe how much I've learned from this program. It's honestly been great.

The first few weeks of the biodiversity program...

posted July 06, 2017

The first few weeks of the biodiversity program as a Stanford Earth Youth Investigator have been a truly amazing experience. I learned many new things about butterflies, other organisms, and science in general.

Most of the time is spent recording data on butterflies from a book and transferring that data to an excel spreadsheet. Along with data collection, most days
we also do fun activities such as mapping out the geologic time scale or discussing scientific papers. Fairly often we also get the opportunity to listen to
researchers share information about their research and interesting science topics.

On June 30th the group went on a field trip to New Brighton, a beach near Santa Cruz, to explore fossil beds and examine fossilized bivalves and sea snails on
the eroded sea wall. One of the really cool things we found on the beach was a relatively large whale skull that had fossilized in a rock. That same day we drove
to an observatory in Santa Cruz and got to see the skeleton of a blue whale. To gaze at how massive the whale truly was and to see the sheer size blew me away.

All in all, I have been able to learn so much and meet so many new people in these few weeks. The opportunities to listen to great speakers and explore the
world of science has been unforgettable and I can't wait to continue!