James Walsh, Biology '08
This past summer, the Eli Lilly Foundation, through their grant to Augustana College, allowed me to explore ecology candidly through direct experience. My project took known lab results and applied them to a natural system to compare the effects of herbicides in an ecosystem. This kind of work is important because although lab results can tell a valuable story, they may in no way resemble what happens in an ecosystem, which is so necessary to understand.
Becoming familiar with research was not the only positive experience of my summer project. Interacting with the community of scholars in the Science Building was an awesome benefit. Listening and participating in conversations with people at a scholarly level I might end up pursuing myself was as beneficial as the research. Actively participating in discussions with my professors was like looking into a window to see what their careers really were; it provided me the chance to ask myself if I would like a similar career.
The summer cumulated in a trip to Washington University in St. Louis to present my project at the Midstates Consortium of Science. It was a positive experience where I was able to present my findings at a research conference, and interact with the scientific community.
Though I don't yet know the next step my life will take, the Lilly Student Summer Research Fellowship strengthened my convictions in my goal of expanding my education, past my baccalaureate, in biology. With trials and tribulations only available through experience, I have learned some of the nuances of research, and they have sparked my interest in further understanding the natural world.
James' PowerPoint presentation can be accessed here.