The Obstacles in Data Collection

This summer, I have found that collecting data from as many participants as you can is important, because you may begin a participant’s session only to realize at the end that their data is useless due to a circumstance beyond your control.

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Vaccinium vs Gaylussacia

One of my major issues this summer has been fixing errors and figuring out unknowns in previous years’ data. I’m the first person that has looked at all of the data as a whole, and as each person that has worked on this project has entered their data in a slightly different way, it’s been a long and confusing job trying to put it all in the same format. As I mentioned in my last blog post, each year the students working on this project have figured out how to identify more and more of the most difficult plants. That means that part of my job has been trying to use the information we know now to try to go back and figure out the identity of plants that previous years’ students were stumped by.

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Week 9: China China China

As my co-fellows can confirm, multiple times a day I can be heard excitedly gasping then screaming “CHINA!” One of my favorite parts of this summer has been seeing how visible Chinese influence is. After spending 9 months tracking the extent of China’s Belt and Road on AidData’s Transparent Development Funds team, I was well aware of the size and quantity of these investments. But knowing that and seeing the multidimensional physical impact on the urban geography of Laos, are two different things.

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Summer in Recap (Final)

Seventy-five days later and I can confidently navigate four connecting flights and 30+ hours of travel from Manila to Chesapeake. I can develop data analytics dashboards in R Shiny and supplement them with automated web scraping using RSelenium. I can present my research to crowds of professionals several times a week without breaking a sweat. I can climb near-vertical mountain cliffs and kayak the open sea for hours. And I can look in the mirror and appreciate my multiethnic identity. These statements may seem unrelated, but they are all examples of growth during my time as a GRI Summer Fellow.

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