There is a unique opportunity here at SPEA to develop relationships with faculty members that most large schools just don’t offer students. I came to SPEA from a small liberal arts college, and I didn’t think there was any way I was going to get to know any of my SPEA professors like I did my undergrad professors. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Not only have I become very involved in the classes I am taking, but I have even had the opportunity to become involved in some of the most cutting edge research being conducted in SPEA.
This past August, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go to Greenland with Dr. Jeff White. To have the ability to get out of the classroom and into the field with a professor is always a rewarding experience! Not only did this trip solidify the things I learned in the classroom about limnology, aquatic chemistry, and environmental chemistry, but I also picked up many new skills. Even more importantly, I was a contributing member of the project. My ideas were not only respected, but were greatly appreciated. To work shoulder to shoulder with a faculty member on a project really gives you a sense of accomplishment that no letter grade on a test can match.
Before leaving for Greenland, I had the responsibility of inventorying, packing, and loading all of the gear. When we made it to Greenland, I was responsible for making sure we had the gear we needed every day. I also had opportunities to show my research expertise, like programming a data logger for use in taking temperature measurements. Through all of these experiences, Dr. White and Dr. Lisa Pratt were both very supportive and helpful, without being overbearing. Even though this research would reflect much more greatly on them than I, they were still incredibly helpful and patient in guiding me through the various responsibilities they entrusted me with.