Summer Summary

What a great summer of research! It’s hard for me to believe it’s coming to an end. I am so excited to have had the opportunity to work in and learn from a variety of research environments, including the lab, the field, and the greenhouse. We started the summer with a fantastic field trip to Blandy Experimental Farm, and, after a long day of field research, we watched hundreds of fireflies put on a light show for us. I remember standing in the firefly field in total amazement – a feeling that occurred with many new discoveries this summer.  This trip highlighted a lot of my favorite themes from the summer – teamwork, the beauty of nature, hard work, and (of course) studying milkweed.

The longhorned milkweed beetle and its larvae are so interesting (and adorable), and I really enjoyed studying both them and common milkweed this summer. There were a few bumps in the road, such as the missing beetle larvae, but we continued to adjust and make new plans. Over the first few weeks of school, I will analyze all the data we collected for my project in order to draw some final conclusions about the role that beetle density plays in common milkweed bud and sprout production.

As I get closer and closer to the start of my sophomore year, I keep thinking about how grateful I am for all the experience I gained this summer. I feel that the knowledge and skills that I gained from this project have strengthened my ability to critically think about and plan a research project, which will be so beneficial for my next few years at William & Mary. I am also very thankful for the new friends I’ve made this summer. My summer research partner Dean made sure that our many hours in the lab were filled with not only productive collaboration but also lots of laughter. I am looking forward to the fall!