Hopping Across Town to the Getty Villa

When I say I’m working at the Getty, those in the know ask me, “which one?”, because the Getty Center is actually the newer side of the Getty coin. J. Paul Getty, the patriarch of the dramatic Getty family and founder of the J. Paul Getty Trust and Museum, never actually saw the Getty Center. It was opened in 1997, over twenty years after he passed away. The original museum was simply him opening his Malibu ranch house to the public in the 1950s, but as his collection grew, as well as his interest in the antiquities, Getty decided he needed a more permanent structure. This led to the opening of the Getty Villa, housed entirely in his recreation of the Vesuvius-buried, Italian Villa dei Papiri.

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Next Big Step – Identifying Oaks!

As I’ve previously mentioned, each year of this project, students have been able to figure out how to identify more and more species, especially juvenile individuals. The next genus I plan to attack is the oak family (the genus Quercus). There are 10 species of oaks in the College Woods, and while some are more common than others, it is still difficult to tell the species apart in juveniles.

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Research Summary

Although I will be continuing the CORT assays and data analysis in the fall, My research for the summer has officially concluded! To echo my previous post, this has been a very meaningful, formative, education experience. I’m so glad I spent this summer doing research with the W&M biology department. I got substantial experience with both field and lab work, and will continue to learn more this coming school year.

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The Art of Troubleshooting

As I have touched on in some previous posts, one of the most important things I experienced first hand this summer was the importance of troubleshooting. After reading through some other grant recipients’ blog posts, it appears that many other students had similar discoveries. 

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Suspicion Check

One of the most interesting parts of each lab session for my study is at the very end, when I perform a ‘suspicion check’. This simply means that I ask each participant what they believe the purpose of my study is based on their exposure to all of its elements. Given the broad range of computer tasks and survey questions, participants in my study absorb a lot of information in just under an hour, so it is no surprise (but still a relief) when they fail to read back to me my true research question.

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