This summer I had the incredible opportunity to present my research on the morphology of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, a highly contagious pathogenic fungus that is causing mass amphibian decline worldwide, at the Ecological Society of America’s Annual Meeting in Portland, OR. I was able to attend thanks to funding from UT’s Honors Program. Through various poster presentations, oral sessions, and symposia, I was exposed to a broad variety of current ecological research. In between the organized talks, I got to meet scientists from all over the country and was able to inquire about their research methods, backgrounds, and ask for advice for the future. While I have presented my research at a regional undergraduate conference in the past, it was a very different experience at the national level. While presenting my poster, I got to network and brainstorm with established scientists about future work and potential collaboration. Overall, the Ecological Society of America’s Annual Meeting helped me to better prepare for my future science career.
My time here at The Washington Center, arranged and funded with the help of UT’s Honors Program, has been incredible so far. I am working at a lobbying firm in Alexandria, Virginia right outside of D.C. At the firm, I am a research assistant. I compile research for whatever project my boss needs me to and then write up briefs and packets to inform my boss of what he needs to know to present it to his clients. Some of the clients my research has been sent to include the Electronic Security Association, which is the largest home and business security trade association in the country, the top weather companies in the country, including the National Weather Service and NOAA, and the National Association of State Agencies for Surplus Property (NASASP), which deals with government surplus property issues. It has been awesome knowing that the work I have been doing these past few weeks is actually being received by the top people in these companies for lobbying purposes. I have learned so much from my supervisor and have even been given the chance to go to Capitol Hill (see photo above) to help in the lobbying process of Representatives and Senators as well as to attend congressional hearings. Being in Washington, D.C. this summer has been one of the best experiences of my life.
UT Honors student and biochemistry major, Regina Visconti, recently had her research on using charcoal to filter water at the molecular level highlighted on UT’s website.