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3rd Day Externship Reflection

Today marked the third day of our Carleton externship! We started out early in the lab, cleaning echinacea heads with some admirable longstanding volunteers. Then we started rechecking the 2020 cleaned batches instead, and I felt like I had moved up in life.

Funnily enough, a couple of days ago I was timid to touch anything in the lab that I could possibly mess up, but now I just dive in and a few hours pass by like nothing. After we finished the 2020 rechecking (yay!), Wanying and Cassie started reordering the 2020 envelopes, which were assigned random labels in order to remove biases during analysis.

I, on the other hand, started rechecking the 2021 batch. I definitely realized how much I loved having the others’ help, as after today I am still left with this 2021 mountain of a box:

In addition to learning more about the research process, I enjoyed our meeting with Jared today, who prompted us to start thinking about what projects we want to pursue during the externship. Some ideas came up about working with the data at different stages, meeting with other employees at the garden, and proposing hypotheses that can be answered with the team’s available lab data.

The day ended with some great banana bread from Alex and a plan of more project group brainstorming the next day. My goals for tomorrow include both the project focus and the 2021 box. Tomorrow we also move along the process and start scanning the ordered achenes.

Overall, today gave me an appreciation for the people contributing to this project as well as excitement for how I can explore my curiosities using the research and guidance of this incredible team.

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