Final Summer Blog Post: Natalie Curtis and Beyond

This summer was eye-0pening for me in an array of different ways. Not only did I have the opportunity to do my own independent research, which I’m immensely grateful for, but I also jumped far out of my comfort zone through the process of the research. Using the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Research Center for Cultural Folklife I was able to really narrow in on a more relevant and specific Honors Thesis topic, the study of the impact of female ethnographers/ethnomusicologists on  Native American Healing and Ceremonial Music.

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Further Research on Natalie Curtis: Family Influences

After looking through some of the questions on my last post, I thought I would look deeper into Natalie Burlin’s familial background. As aforementioned, she was born into an affluent family in New York City during the late 19th century. Interestingly enough, Theodore Roosevelt was a family friend of the Burlins. In fact, when she ran into some regulatory issues in an attempt to research the communities at the Hopi Reservation, Roosevelt pulled some strings so that she could continue her work.

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The Final Post: Concluding my research, but not my promotion of ecotherapy

Alongside my research with Dr. Ibes at the Parks Research Lab, I have been interning for Wildrock Nature Playscape, a non-profit in Crozet, Virginia. Via this internship, I will be leading an ecotherapy retreat for college students. The goal of this retreat is to teach college students what ecotherapy is, and then help them plan an ecotherapy initiative on their college campus. For more information, please contact me at, as William & Mary students are welcome on this retreat. Most major schools in Virginia will eventually feature an ecotherapy initiative on their campus. Thus, my research at the Parks Research Lab this summer has aided me in promoting ecotherapy to others.

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Natalie Curtis Burlin: A Controversial Legacy



natalie curtis burlin

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Concluding thoughts on summer research of auto paints

Step four of my summer research plan is to conclude what I’ve learned over the summer and plan for the coming semester. I’ve learned a lot this summer about car paints and what research in a chemistry lab is all about. I learned that auto paints are way more complicated then they appear and that auto paints have evolved just as cars have evolved over time. During the last couple weeks, I discovered through some literature review a test for a base knowledge of what auto paint is made up of. This test also proved to be a helpful extraction agent and gave some distinctive spectra when paired with SERS. When I head back to the lab next semester I will further explore this method of extraction and see if I can truly identify and reproduce the characteristic spectra for the manufacturer auto paints. Once I have finished developing the method for the manufacturer paints, I will finally move on to paint samples straight from a car. I can’t wait to get back into the lab and continue exploring new ideas and developing experimental methods.