Tagged: science

on bringing my whole self to work

Some reflections on lessons learned so far from my ongoing internship and other summer involvements.

When I got the acceptance email, it took me until the first day of the internship to believe that it was true. Fast forward one week, and my disbelief-turned-acceptance had morphed into a pit in my stomach that left me feeling flustered, anxious, and frustrated at myself.

After landing a spot in a program I’d had my eye on since high school, after already hearing my mentors express their excitement to have me around for the summer, after active participation in discussions about science, I still felt like an outsider. It wasn’t a new feeling; throughout my undergraduate experiences, I’ve been fighting the voices in my head that tell me I don’t belong in many of the spaces I spend my time.

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a seven-armed sea star

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George, two madreporites and all, surrounded by sea stars galore. (photo at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA)

Ice-cold water shocked my hand as it breached the shallow tank’s surface. A rainbow of colors glittered up through gentle currents. Diverse sea animals carpeted the basin, unaware of the crowd eager to feel their spiny skin or soft tentacles. 

There at the Aquarium of the Pacific’s touch tanks, I fell in love with a cerulean-colored sea star. The bright blue wasn’t what caught my eye, though.  Continue reading

seeing systems

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a network of jasmine climbs up the fence across the system of trees, forging new paths

“Sorry, what was that? I didn’t quite catch it, I think my wifi is dying or something…”

I lean in closer to my computer screen as if it will help hear better. We’re in the midst of discussion in my speculative design class. Seven of us are seated in our respective homes, crowded around our laptops with our notebooks out on the side, sketching out thoughts as we bounce critiques back and forth about our ongoing projects. We’ve been tasked to model our class in the past, present, and future.

Models have been ever-present and incredibly important to build an understanding around current events. Through examining data, scientists can visualize patterns and project possible futures, providing insight for actions and provoking further questions. Continue reading

Learning to ask the “right” questions

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a quick audiobook-inspired sketch from last week

Six forty-five in the morning. Light has barely touched the sky, and I’m sitting in AP biology class surrounded by my half-asleep friends as we shuffle through our immense binders for fresh note paper. Our teacher mills around the front of the classroom prepping slides, video links, and in-class demos to fill our tenth-grade brains with exciting new knowledge (massive shoutout, she was/is the best).

During those high school biology days, I clung to the goal of having all the right answers at the drop of a question (yeah, yeah, I was another wannabe Hermione Granger, so what?). My favorite part of the class was when our teacher would ask us about connections– what other parts of the body may this impact? What other portions of the ecosystem are interwoven here? How may genes influence entire populations of animals? Before this class, I hadn’t considered any of these questions and more.  Continue reading

reflections as a student of science communication

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Why choose a to tell one story over another? Sometimes it’s interest, sometimes it’s inspiration, and other times it’s intrusion. I am relatively new to the rising wave emphasizing science communication, but here are a few of my current thoughts dumped into text so I can (hopefully) continue to process them as I learn more. Continue reading

redwoods: a mini-zine

I grew up in Northern California, a key home to some of our planet’s largest organisms– redwood trees. My family would frequently make the trek to Yosemite to visit the old growth forests of giant sequoias. My cousins and I traced trails through the base of Mount Tam in San Francisco in search of the tallest possible trees. When I learned to drive, my friends and I would often take to Highway 1 during long weekends, winding up in the midst of hundreds of coast redwoods. Continue reading

Lessons from a stranded bus and late night microscope work

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Back in November, the week of Thanksgiving break (actually, the night before Thanksgiving day), I found myself stranded at 12:35am with fifty other people and steady rain in a parking lot in downtown Los Angeles. Usually, I fly back to the Bay Area from my school in San Diego– if I book my tickets sufficiently in advance, the costs are worth the visit back home; however, this time, I didn’t book my flight tickets early enough. Seat availability plummeted, prices skyrocketed, and I decided that taking the budget-friendly bus would be a good alternative.

I didn’t sleep more than an hour that night. We ended up left in that parking lot for reasons I’m to this day unsure of– the bus driver had stopped, told us all to vacate the bus because we were supposed to transfer, and promptly drove off as soon as the last person had removed their bag from the under-bus storage. Needless to say, there was no transfer.

We were in that parking lot for about an hour and a half until the company sent a replacement bus to pick us up. I tried to doze off again on this bus, but the frigid air blowing through the vents kept my mind active even though my body was craving rest. We made it to San Francisco by seven thirty in the morning, and I reached my home by eight. Continue reading