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Staci Edwards

When the internship ended...

posted August 11, 2017

When the internship ended, the first thought that came to mind was, Why haven’t I done more things like this. This internship has by far made my summer. The awesome people I’ve met, the very intelligent people I’ve worked with, and the experiences I had are some of the amazing aspects of this internship. I’ve loved going on our many field trips with our supervisors and the activities that I did with the other interns for fun during our 90 minute lunch.

On our last field trip, all of the interns went on a canoeing trip to the Bay out of the Redwood City Port. I’ve been kayaking with my school before, but this was my first time canoeing. My canoe supported two others. Initially, directing the canoe was very difficult, but I would like to say it became easier over time. In our canoe, we tested the Bay water for pH, the water turbidity level and other such things.

Interns on the water
Group of interns

During our many lunches, the other interns and I had more adventures. We went to Downtown Palo Alto to get ice cream and lemonade, went to the Stanford Farmers’ Market to eat some nectarines, and, of course, climbed more trees (I just can’t resist the burning temptation of climbing trees with many branches.)

Working up to the final presentations was very time-consuming and energy draining. The project my partner, Stephanie, and I presented was how onshore-offshore gradient (distance from the shore) affects the body size of marine invertebrates. Our graph (yes, indeed. It was in fact ONE graph) took a lot of fixing and orienting. Stephanie and I pushed through and I believe we did a fantastic job presenting in front of our audiences.

Two interns holding a poster

I would like to thank everyone who was part of my Stanford Young Investigators experience. I would like to thank Stephanie for being a fantastic partner and going on weird adventures with me around the Stanford campus. I would like to thank Jenny and Noel for making this summer the best summer I have ever had. You both are my role models and I would love to work with you two again in the future.

Having only two weeks left of the internship...

posted July 26, 2017

Having only two weeks left of the internship gives me an intense, bittersweet feeling. I am very excited to tell my new high school teachers and classmates about my time here, but I am truly sad to leave the new friends I’ve made here. My first internship experience has been very memorable and has challenged me to the near fullest. This internship has given me confidence in myself and made me realize that I should share my knowledge with others.


Since the last blog, we’ve been introduced to many research papers discussing the topics of the mass extinctions, diversity amongst butterflies, and more. Many are very difficult to understand because of the rigorous vocabulary and the graphs packed with information. After we’ve read the papers, we discussed in groups what we learned and how the authors can improve.

The biodiversity interns went on an awesome camping trip to Pinnacles National Park. I’ve been camping plenty of times before, so I was not intimidated by the idea. Although I’ve been camping many times, I’d have to admit that this camping trip was much more intense than my last trips. It was very hot, even during the time when we went on a 1.7 mile hike. I chose not to eat breakfast, which was a HUGE mistake because I felt incredibly woozy on the hike. (When I tell other people about the hike, I’ll leave that part out!) Besides the nauseating feeling, I saw many different sediments and learned how they came to be. At the campsite, I saw so much wildlife including gigantic moths, raccoons, black widows, and quails.

My partner, Stephanie, and I have been working on our research project. After many hours of trying to pick our final topic, we agreed to do it on how body size is affected by onshore-offshore gradient. To many, it sounds difficult, but after doing research and the help of Noel, we concluded that it is the distance an organism is from the shore. For the past week, Stephanie and I have been looking at different articles and graphs elaborating on this subject. I am very excited to see our results.

During our lunch breaks at the internship, other interns and I have explored all around campus. We have climbed trees, ate at many different food places, and did summer homework (I’m really trying hard not to procrastinate this summer!).

Intern in a tree

My brain has been given so much valuable information...

posted July 05, 2017

My brain has been given so much valuable information since the very start of the internship at the Stanford School of Earth Sciences. I walked into the
internship ready to learn all about biodiversity, but I did not expect to actually see and touch real-life species from around the world with my own hands.
Immediately into the internship, we started measuring butterflies with a caliper with one other partner from a book. We entered the data into a Microsoft
spreadsheet. In the spreadsheet, we entered the genus, species, and family names, the apical wing and body length, and the gender. My partner and I entered
data from butterflies from Mexico, Central America, and South America. This job is fairly easy, but if a mistake is made in the spreadsheet, it can be quite
difficult to locate.

We later worked with a programming language called R. We use R to enter data we’ve collected to make graphs and visually show relationships of different
species from different families. Since I have had some experience in programming, I caught on to certain concepts pretty quickly. I have noticed that the
syntax for R is much different than what I’ve worked with, so I get confused on what certain lines of code mean.

My favorite part of the two weeks I’ve been at the internship was the field trip to a beach in Capitola. This was especially great, because the beach was
filled with fossils and bones from various marine animals. Since I’m a huge fan of whales, I especially appreciated seeing a whale rib bone. Once we left the
beach we went to the Seymour Marine Discovery Center. We got to see and touch a full blue whale skeleton.

Some of the other interns and I would go to Lake Lagunita to catch frogs during lunch. They can be pretty hard to catch because they’re tiny and some blend
in with the plants they’re surrounded by.