First Solo Tour and Furniture Research!

On Tuesday I gave my first solo A World Made Small tour! The tour was centered around an exhibit showcasing the museum’s dollhouse collection, as well as other miniature play sets from colonial times through the 20th century. I think the tour went fairly well–the only issue was that I went a little too quickly. Next time, I plan on slowing down my information and adding a sentence or two about each of the pieces that I discuss. I also tag-teamed the Dog’s Life tour yesterday with my co-supervisor, Christina, and I think that one went well too! We had a lot of fun splitting up the different objects since she is also new to that tour and the information that it presents about dogs and other pets during colonial times. Did you know that Colonial Williamsburg had a law preventing homeowners from having more than two dogs, neither one of which could be female? Well, now you do.

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First Update- Picking Watersheds, Collecting Data

A little over three weeks into my research, and I suppose I’ve embraced my first summer in Virginia. My research fluctuates between days spent in front of a computer and field days spent around James City County, collecting water and data from streams. We began the summer with 7 preliminary watersheds, ranging from forested (Matoaka Woods) to residential to highly impervious (Newtown). However, given that everyone has gated communities and Homeowners’ Associations around here, we had to give up 3 of our watersheds. This was thankfully not an insurmountable problem, as we needed to eliminate some anyways.

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Calling all map nerds!

A month into my fellowship at CERSGIS in Accra, Ghana, we are hitting the ground running. We are beginning to lead professional trainings in GIS (Geographic Information Systems) at the National Development Planning Commission, which will be the main focus of the rest of our time here in Accra. GIS is a digital system that allows the user to perform advanced spatial analysis and ultimately create maps that make what otherwise might be overwhelmingly complicated data more accessible to policymakers, planners, researchers, or consumers.

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Answers Lead to More Questions

This summer I told myself that the most important thing I could do was figure out how to be confused about something because when it comes to research, if questions aren’t asked then you will never fully get the answers that you want.

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Settling in to Dakar

I have settled into my beautiful Dakarois apartment from which I walk to work at the U.S. Embassy each day. The embassy is located next to “Point des Almadies,” which is the westernmost point on the continent of Africa. The Mission is very friendly, and since being introduced at a town hall meeting, I am now a familiar face around the office. Progress on my scope of work is coming along, with the end goal of producing three datasets by the end of the summer. I am looking forward to geocoding the Mission’s activities because this is most attuned to my skill set. Until then, I am building a dataset of indicators that will hopefully make it easier for partners and offices to report targets and results in a consolidated and transparent way.

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