Seven days, Population eight, and Nine Ball

In the lab this week, I continued to transfer beads for my first cycle of evolution this summer. I was really impressed with myself because I managed to go the entire week without dropping a bead. It can be so difficult at times to get the beads out of the glass tubes, to wash them, and then put in the microcentrifuge tubes without dropping one or messing up at a single step. I am typically holding my breath the entire time because I am so anxious about it. This is such a huge accomplish for me and am glad that I have the opportunity to document this eternally. Other than my project, this week I helped out Dr. Murphy with some of her ongoing projects. I learned how to streak and made YPD glycerol plates.

[Read more…]

Defrosting, Detours, and a Debrief on Evolution

Last week was my first week of summer research. I was actually very excited to come back to campus. Relaxing at home is wonderful and much needed after finals, but with all the time in the world on my hands I started to get a little antsy. At the end of the semester, I paused my experiment by storing my yeast populations in glycerol and freezing them. Freezing the yeast puts them in a dormant state. When I returned for the summer, I knew I would be able to start exactly where I left off. For the first couple of days, all I did was prepare myself to start evolving again by getting all my equipment ready. I grow the yeast in glass tubes filled with evolution medium, basically sugar water. I spent a good portion of Monday autoclaving (sterilizing) and washing old tubes, making evolution medium and filling up clean tubes with it. At the beginning of last week, all but one of the autoclaves in the ISC was broken, so it was quite an adventure having to go back and forth to the third floor to get all my work done.

[Read more…]

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 dcspitz@email.wm.edu, 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.

[Read more…]

The Largest Obstacle: Describing ecotherapy research to peers and professionals

The most difficult part of this summer research has been describing my research to others. Ecotherapy is a generally unheard-of field of research, so most people have no idea what it is and what my research could possibly be about. In this article I will try to explain what my research is about. Before I do so, I would like you to think about what Ecotherapy research could be. Why do you think it is so difficult to describe?

[Read more…]

Look Back at July: Secondary Reading and Different Looks at the Victorian Era

July flew by for me. I spent the month getting secondary reading done, taking more intensive notes on my core novels, and even doing a little bit of drafting (!).

[Read more…]