Summer Summary

Now that my summer research has ended, I’m realizing just how much I have left to do on this project.  I’m still a very long way from a publishable result.  I spent more time this summer working on the Asclepias syriaca and Asclepias exaltata hybrid project than I did on my original historical milkweed project.  The historical project was to look at how the ranges and abundances of a variety of milkweed species have changed over the past hundred years.  I spent the first couple of weeks working on this project before shifting to focus on the hybrid project.  Both projects are still in their early stages and I will be continuing to work on both over the course of the school year.  I’m hoping to produce some results that can be included in upcoming publications from the Puzey lab.  Now that I’m a senior, the pressure is on to wrap up my projects.

The most important thing that I learned this summer was the basics of programming in R.  This skill will be very useful as I continue my research and it may also help me in other classes as well.  I was reluctant to learn any programming languages because I had made it pretty far without needing to and I was nervous to take on the challenge.  Now that I have spent a summer learning R, I see how useful it can be and I wonder how I went so long without it.  There really is no way to work with the large datasets of plant genetics without using coding.  The statistical analyses would be impossible to do without coding.  I look forward to learning more and improving my skills as I do more data analysis.  Hopefully I will be able to take biostatistics and have a more formal education in R programming for research.