Dragon Run Sampling

This week Molly and I sampled Dragon Run state park. The only problem besides the usual ticks, mosquitoes, and walking into spider webs, was the presence of greenbrier, which is a vine-like plant that is covered in thorns. The plant’s abundance made it difficult to reach and sample each random point. For example, when sampling for ticks, the flag would continuously get stuck. In addition, when sampling for stiltgrass, I had to literally walk through it as I had to follow my compass. Often times, I’d be tangled in greenbrier while being attacked by mosquitoes, a great dilemma. Nonetheless, neither stiltgrass or ticks were abundant at the sites we sampled.

Fort Eustis sampling

Last week, Molly Teague and I sampled random stilt grass and tick points at Fort Eustis. Fort Eustis turned out to be a swamp, and thus, there weren’t too many ticks. However, stilt grass was in abundance. The only problem was mosquitoes. They were literally everywhere, which brings me to my next point; use permethrin whenever doing field work. Permethrin is an insecticide that is effective against ticks, chiggers, and mosquitoes. I had no problems with these insects when I used it, but recently, I’ve been using Deet. This change has resulted in a noticeable increase in the number of mosquito bites I’ve gotten.

The Warmth of Other Suns

This book spans the story of three African Americans emigrating from southern states in the US. The book spans the lifetime of the three individuals: Ide Mae Gladney, George Starling and Robert Parshing Foster as they sought to leave the south. Each of the characters left under different conditions, Ida Mae taking the train with her husband, George riding in a coffin north, and Robert driving west to California. To their surprise, however, the north wasn’t the haven that they assumed it would be. Although it may not have been publicized, each of these three individuals still faced discrimination and found that their hard work in the North wasn’t enough to bring the peace and security that they sought upon their departure of the southern states.

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A Day at UVA

Last Wednesday, a few members of the Heideman lab (myself, Adryan, Elise, Fine and Melissa) took a day trip to visit the Rissman lab at the University of Virginia.  Dr. Heideman did a post-doctoral position in Dr. Rissman’s lab, when he was making his transition from studying seasonal rhythms in bats in the field to studying the similar questions in a lab-based endocrinology/physiology context.  Dr. Rissman is an incredibly accomplished investigator in the field of neuroendocrinology (and has collected a few SBN accolades!) and is also one of the nicest, most approachable people I have ever met.  She and Dr. H. are old friends, and we were visiting for an informal tour of UVA’s neuroscience grad program.

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The first book I’ve read this summer in conjunction with my research was entitled “Self-Taught: African American Education in Slavery and Freedom” by Heather Andrea Williams. Based on instances from the Civil War Era, this book describes ways in which African Americans took their education into their own hands. This would pose a threat to whites across America because education was something that only prosperous whites sought after, threatening the class distinctions between the newly freed blacks and the poorer whites. Reading this piece of nonfiction made me realize the extent to which minorities are oppressed to maintain class distinctions, despite being in a nation that is supposed to be equal.