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Prem Meyyappan

SEYI has changed the way I see the world.

 August 10, 2021

This internship has been an absolute whirlwind. It's been so much more than I ever expected, and I'm genuinely sad to see it end. The friends I've made and the things I've learned are truly irreplaceable. Throughout these last weeks, I've not only learned about the wide, vast world of paleobiology, but I've also received the chance to explore Earth Science in general with the introduction of our own research projects.
With the help of my partners, I took a deep-dive into the world of environmental science, exploring a topic I was thus far unfamiliar with: Habitat loss in the family Felidae. I got to experience the life of a scientist in miniature, analyzing data, reading charts, and exploring an entirely different world that I hadn't yet experienced. Hours and hours of research on wild cats felt like nothing more than minutes. Time flew by during this internship, and I couldn't wait to start every new day.

Exploring the world of environmental science has always been a passion for me, but with the help of SEYI, I was really able to fine tune it. I cannot stress enough how instrumental SEYI has been in terms of teaching me about the world of modern science. SEYI has made me truly passionate about research and earth science, and my only regret was that it didn't last longer.

The greatest part about SEYI is being able to explore something truly new and untapped by other scientists. I can now proudly say that my team and I were able to truly impact how the extinction threat of Felidae is looked at. It is the first truly hands-on experience with lab science I've had and I cannot be more glad it was with SEYI. With our research, we were able to prove something never before been proved by scientists. We correlated habitat loss and body size of big cats, opening the door to further research. On Friday, we presented our results to the rest of the interns and a few others, and we could not have been more proud to showcase our results.

I also want to thank all the amazing people who helped set this program together. The person I'm most grateful to is Pedro Monarrez, who guided us along the way and provided invaluable advice. He's the best teacher I've ever had the pleasure to meet, and he made me truly excited to come to SEYI every day. I also want to thank Michael, who provided us invaluable advice and help when we needed it. He's the most patient person I've ever met, and he was always able to help out. Finally, I want to thank Jennifer Saltzman, Jonathan Payne, and all the other people behind the scenes who helped put this program together. Without them, none of this would have ever been possible.
SEYI has truly been a life changing experience. I never expected the scope and reach of the program, but I cannot be more happy it was so. It is a program I would gladly do again, one that has given me connections and friendships with the other interns, and the tools I need to pursue science in the future.

SEYI has shown me the true scope of paleobiology

 July 7, 2021

When I joined SEYI, I expected to learn a little about the Ordovician period, and a bit about paleobiology in general. I expected a bit of coding, a few tables of data, and a brief introduction to paleobiology. What I have experienced is so much more.

Throughout the first three weeks of the internship, I have learned more about paleobiology and the ordovician than I could ever learn in a year. The world I have seen a glimpse of is truly spectacular. I have experienced the path of evolution, the role of paleobiology, and a million other things I never could have imagined.

I particularly enjoyed the coding language R, which I knew virtually nothing about before this internship. Coding in R has become something I genuinely enjoy, especially the thousands of different graphs that we create from the data. It is truly spectacular.

Even more interesting than R is our learning about body size. Our textbook, "Why Size Matters" by John Tyler Bonner is a truly spectacular read. I enjoy it so much that I've already read a few chapters ahead. Exploring the biodiversity and evolutionary advancement of life has truly been eye opening. I've always been interested in evolution, but SEYI has shown me so much more than what I knew, and even that is just the tip of the iceberg. I am truly inspired to explore.

Thankfully, SEYI provides opportunities just like that. With the introduction of our own research projects, we have the option to explore biodiversity and evolution from all eras and time periods. With the projects, we are truly able to explore paleobiology. I can't wait to get to work on it.

All in all, SEYI has truly changed the way I see the world of both paleobiology and science in general. Through data, graphs, and lectures, I have painted a picture in my mind of the world we live in, a world that is so much more detailed than I ever expected. I truly can't wait to see what comes next.