Hi! My name’s Taylor, and I’m a biology major with a chemistry minor and a rising junior. Back in spring semester, I was expecting to spend this long summer at home- playing guitar, working in my dad’s dental office, going to the beach, studying for the Dental Admissions Test (DAT), and counting down the days until I go abroad to England in the fall. So as expected, it was quite a surprise to find myself sitting in a lab the day after graduation with hundreds of snails in front of me- fast forward eight weeks, and now I can’t imagine having spent my summer doing anything else. Coming out of it, there are a few things that I’ve learned this summer that I hope you can appreciate:
1) Snails can be speedy little creatures if they want to.
2) Hip waders are a pretty great creation, even though they exaggerate your clumsiness by a lot.
3) Every field trip outside of the lab is an adventure, complete with ticks, mud, not finding the right species, and me being way too excited about everything.
4) On that note, never trust me with directions- I’m pretty terrible as a co-pilot.
5) Coffee is necessary.
6) So are small lab dance parties, even if you can’t dance.
7) If the World Cup is happening, and you’re not a soccer fan, you’ll become one fairly quickly.
8) Apartment dinners, movie nights, Cards Against Humanity, and tennis after work make time off at night so much better.
9) Did I already mention coffee?
10) You’ll consider a summer doing research probably the best summer you’ve ever had.
I took on this research project thinking it would be like my labs during the semester- the lab component has always been a favorite of mine in any course. However, what I’ve come to realize is that the two are incomparable. A research project turns into so much more than a couple of experiments- it becomes real. Suddenly, seeing the bigger picture of what you’re doing is staring you right in the face, and you begin asking more questions, trying to extend your knowledge in the best possible way. The littlest things, like a p-value less than 0.05 or a successful trip to a stream to collect more species, would make the entire day worth it. At first, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel working on snails; now I think they are such interesting organisms, and I’m left with many more questions and things that I’d want to study. This whole summer project has been like a book with missing chapters, and I’m so happy that I could fill in the chapters that I did.
Hi, my name is Abby Dworkin-Brodsky and I am a rising senior at Gettysburg College. I intend on graduating with a BS in Biology this coming May. I have always been one of those people that are not sure what they want to do with their life upon graduation. Last summer I had a great internship at The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore that I loved but this summer I wanted to try something different. I have a huge passion for animals and making the world a better place for them. So, what better place to do that than in Dr. Fong’s lab? The research we are doing on invertebrates will undoubtedly enlighten us to the effects of these drugs on not only other invertebrates but some vertebrates as well. This summer has been a great experience for me because it has confirmed my desire to go on to graduate school after my time at Gettysburg. I have learned so much in these short eight weeks and I am looking forward to hopefully continuing part of my project this coming fall.
Field work is lots of fun, but Taylor and Abby spend most of their time in the lab measuring snail locomotion.