Already four weeks in!

My name is Laura and I’ll be a senior at the University of Oregon this upcoming year, majoring in Environmental Science with a minor in Biology.  This summer, I got the great chance to travel far from home here to the Chicago Botanic Garden and work as an REU on a project focusing on nitrogen cycling in wetlands, specifically the process of denitrification.  For my specific project, I’ll be studying the relationship between denitrification and nitrogen isotope ratios. 

While all us interns have been working a lot on our projects, we’ve also gotten the opportunity for a lot of other experiences as well.  This past Friday, we were able to visit the Field Museum and see a lot of interesting things behind the scenes as the REUs there talked us through their projects.  It was very cool to get to see all the things they’re working on and how different research at the Field is from the CBG.  Many of them are working with countless animal specimens working to analyze and catalogue them all.  I have to admit, I’m happy I work with dirt as opposed to animals - it tends to smell much better!

The museum itself is enormous and full of beautiful and interesting exhibits.  It was certainly too much for just one visit, so I’m excited to go back and see more!  I feel like it’s much like the gardens - every time I think I’ve seen everything, I get lost walking back from a coffee break and stumble upon a new garden with even more colorful and amazing plants and flowers.  I’m looking forward to seeing more of it as the summer goes on, hopefully at some point I’ll be able to say I’ve seen it all!