I’m finally back Stateside! I returned at the end of July after having spent over six months abroad, five weeks of which were spent travelling around continental Europe doing this research. Without having been shot at or wounded and without losing friends and seeing horrific things on the battlefield I was ready enough to be home, so I sympathized with my guys – my Marines and soldiers whose desire to be home carried them through the worst parts of their wars.
In the excitement of the Summer Research Showcase, I forgot to post this September! Apologies for that. It was so nice to be around other undergraduate researchers and to feel more connected to the process and community overall.
The research I have done this summer has provided the foundation for continuing into senior year. In the Geology department here at William & Mary, every senior has to complete research and write a thesis in order to graduate. I have been fortunate enough to begin this over summer and complete a great deal of preliminary research before the school year gets started. I’ve collected and reviewed many articles pertaining to my thesis and have been able to pare down superfluous information in order to concentrate on what is essential. I’ve also created multiple visuals for my research, including a geologic map, a topographic map, cross sections, a schematic of how the ophiolite and metamorphic sole were created, and a stage-by-stage walkthrough of the obduction process (see below).
My initial goal for my summer research was to design an experiment for obtaining single molecule scans in oil environments of a special type of organic dye known as hydroxyanthraquinone. However, this experiment became very challenging and earlier in the summer my professor presented me with a side project that soon became the main focus of my summer research. This experiment involved recreating single molecule scans of the hydroxyanthraquinone dye alizarin with our new higher energy laser, in a polar solvent (ethanol). Previous research in our lab preformed single molecule scans using alizarin in ethanol on a lower energy laser, and I assumed this would be an easy project. However, recreating this experiment turned out to be difficult process that required the whole summer.