Carleton College Extern Sarah Allaben

Hello! My name is Sarah Allaben, and I’m a sophomore from Carleton College. I’m excited to be working with Team Echinacea for three weeks as part of Carleton’s winter break externship program. Along with Tris and Julie, I have been cleaning and processing many, many Echinacea angustifolia and Liatris aspera heads in support of projects examining the extent of pollen limitation of Echinacea and the effects of spatial and temporal factors on Liatris and Solidago fitness. However repetitive it may be, I find this process is strangely satisfying (though I do look forward to switching it up a little bit next week and hopefully analyzing some data).

Especially because I’m not quite sure what I’d like to pursue after graduating, this experience is hugely valuable for developing a better understanding of careers in biological research (and receiving advice from accomplished scientists and grad students!). I have yet to delve into too many biology classes, but I’ve found myself most interested so far in paleontology, especially in that it allows for extrapolation of past evolutionary and climatic changes to predict future outcomes of anthropogenic climate change. Yet, after learning more about Carleton’s restored tallgrass prairies, working in the campus greenhouse, and now spending time with Team Echinacea, I’ve developed a strong interest in ecology and plant biology as well! The plan is to gain as much experience in these different fields as I can over the next few years, and see where it takes me. In the meantime, I enjoy rock climbing, art, hiking, and dogs; I’m also a cross country and track runner and love trail running. I’m grateful and excited for the opportunity to work with Team Echinacea, and look forward to my next two weeks here!



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