Ni An ’14, Rogers Fellow in Environmental Studies
This was the second-to-last week of my internship here at the Baruch Marine Field Lab, so this will be my last blog entry. The weather has been surprisingly nice this week. Ironically, this is also during a time when I’m not deploying any more tiles into the field, as there isn’t enough time to process the samples. It was not very hot or humid or rainy this last week. The only thing that I couldn’t tolerate was the bug situation. There seemed to be an unprecedented number of mosquitoes and other biting insects that I swear there must have been a giant, invisible bulls-eye painted somewhere on me. They did not hesitate to bite me while I was in motion, at rest, or changing places within the space-time continuum through some other means. As a result of their ferocity, I had an allergic reaction to some of the things that stung me.
As you can see in the photo, my left eyelid was completely swollen. However, to give you a sense of how bad the swelling was, I was actually stung at the far end of my eyebrow, and not right above my eye, as the picture may suggest. During my internship, I had this kind of bad allergic reaction multiple times on different spots of my body, and I totally hated it. This last one (at least I hope it is the last one) was the worst and it made me think it was this coastal place telling me to leave as soon as possible and never come back.
The other parts of this week went well, though. I processed the last of my samples in the order of weighing-powdering-weighing-burning-reweighing, and obtained the organic/inorganic ratio of this one-month data set. In addition to that, I also cleaned more than 250 tubes and cups that I used during sample transporting and processing. For the final part of my learning assessment plan, I spent the majority of this week sitting at the library desk sorting and making graphs with my data. Tracy and I looked over the graphs and had a short discussion about them so that I would be able to show them to my three mentors early next week. Thanks to Erik, I was able to sort the one-month data and obtain the total inundation time for each plot in a more efficient way. After I finish graphing the data, four of us will look at them and I will then make adjustments according to our discussion. John will come pick me up next Friday morning to show me the main USC campus in Columbia and he will then give me a tour in the city next Saturday before I leave on Sunday morning.
It has been a really great experience for me to be here, meet and work with all the awesome people in the lab and the field, learn the skills to operate different pieces of equipment, and most important, to become a tougher and stronger person. Special thanks to Tracy, one of my mentors whom I worked most frequently with. She made the hard times here bearable and the pleasant times even more memorable. I am especially grateful for the generosity of Dr. John Dean, who made it possible for this experience to happen, and the kindness of my advisor and faculty sponsor, Rhawn Denniston. The visit with his family was refreshing and much needed. Lastly, I’d like to thank Erik, Ani, Dennis, Wendy, Jan, Susan, Michelle, Angie, Kathy, Paul and all the other people treated me like family and who invited me to all sorts of events. While the humidity and the bugs will not be missed, all these wonderful people will.
As I go to say goodbye to the South Carolina sun I know that, despite my ever-nearing absence, the colorful birds will continue singing, the alligators will continue to splash around the ponds as they feast, the turtles will maintain their easygoing pace, the endless number of fiddler crabs in the Spartinas will continue to scuttle along; Oblivious of my existence, the marshes will continue.