Tuesday, July 20, 2010


countdown: approximately five weeks

just got this...

"Project description: Participate in field studies for characterizing underwater noises related to the operation of hydrokinetic energy devices and lab studies related to electromagnetic field effects on fish."


hell yeah!

Monday, July 19, 2010

foundation-less fear

countdown: approximately five weeks

i've been getting heaps and heaps of ORSS-related emails recently. they're mostly boring, logistical drivel: fill out this form, check out this website, etc. etc. that is, things that have to get done for me to be involved in the program, but that are not very exciting.

today i got an email that was cleverly disguised as more bureaucratic business but actually contained the tidbit of information i've been waiting for ever since i was accepted to the program. hidden amongst the numerous instructions and links was this sentence: "Mark Bevelhimer will be your host".

i think this guy is going to be my mentor!

there appears to be quite an emphasis on physics, quantum mechanics, computers, and the like at oak ridge. which are awesome things, don't get me wrong, i just know nothing about any of them. i've been increasingly worried that there would be no opportunities for a lone bio major like myself at oak ridge and they would kick me out of the program.

okay, maybe that's an excessively paranoid thought. nevertheless, that worry has now been squashed!

mark bevelhimer is an aquatic ecologist. he appears to do most of his work on fisheries and hydropower. this placement may actually work out great for me. aquatic ecology is a pretty big focus at lawrence because of bart de stasio (and sumner richman before him), and as a consequence i've wound up doing aquatics research this summer, which will lead into an independent study on aquatics next winter, which may lead into an honors project on aquatics.

so if my research at ORSS is on aquatics, it will fit nicely into my situation. i will get more experience with the field and hopefully be able to do some networking. it's actually pretty perfect...wuhoo!

i have a hunch that this placement isn't mere coincidence, though. i think that whoever makes these sort of decisions was definitely paying attention to my resume when trying to find a lab for me.

even though some of these logistical details are a little annoying, it seems like there are some good, competent people working for this program and the details are just a result of their meticulous attention to detail. which rocks.

summer is halfway over, which means my time in tennessee is creeping closer and closer. and i'm way more excited now that i have an idea of what i'll be doing.

Monday, July 12, 2010


countdown: approximately 6 weeks

i'm spending this summer on campus, at lawrence university, doing research under my professor, bart de stasio. i'm measuring the amount of microcystin, a cyanobacterial hepatotoxin, in green bay.

also, reading a lot, surfing the web for hours, and going out to eat with the few friends who are still around. bart is busy all the time with the bazillion other projects he's heading, so i have a ridiculous amount of downtime. that's okay, though. summer is a time for regeneration and contemplation of the universe...right?

i've really started to understand, in the last week or so, that i'm not going to see most of my friends for six months. half a year! it seems like such a long time.

nevertheless, i'm super stoked to start the oak ridge program. i get to do real research, in a real lab, around real scientists. i'm going to figure out if my intended career path is right for me.

i'm also pretty pumped about living in an apartment. no more of this sharing-a-tiny-kitchen-with-tons-of-dirty-college-students thing. i might actually learn how to cook! or not! we'll see.

actually, all i've really been thinking about these past few days is backpacking and going to shows. thankfully, both activities will be happening in tennessee!

oak ridge is like an hour and a half from the great smoky mountains section of the appalachian trail. this is fabulous luck for me. after graduating from lawrence, i'm planning on thru-hiking the AT, so i'm definitely planning on taking advantage of some solo weekend backpacking on the trail this fall. woot!

some sweet shows are happening near oak ridge while i'll be there too. i had been fearing that my summer concert kick would have to end abruptly with a change in location...no way!

august 31-explosions in the sky in louisville
september 7-this will destroy you AND the deftones in knoxville
september 13-the ascent of everest in nashville
september 28-backdiamondskye tour (deftones, mastodon and alice in chains) in atlanta

see? no worries, plenty of options already! granted, i have no idea what my schedule is going to be like. i'll probably be pretty busy, and i won't be able to go to shows willy nilly, but i'll do what i can.