Summer Internship: Sandra Melgar '22

August 29, 2021

Name: Sandra Melgar
Class Year: 2022
Major: Geology
Hometown: Houston, Texas

Internship Organization: Summer Science Research
Job Title: Research Intern
Location: Bryn Mawr College

My research opportunity consisted of observing and analyzing rocks personally collected during a fieldwork trip to western Utah. These rock samples date back to ~494 million years (the end of the Cambrian period) which contain preserved fossil fragments we can observe under a microscope. These fossils allow us to interpret the environment we could have expected to see during this time period. From this research opportunity I was able to explore a different side of science that involved working with machinery in the lab, which included a very long process of cutting and sanding down rocks. From this process I learned how delicate rocks are and how valuable even the smallest rock can be. Geology drives my curiosity and I appreciate the guidance and attention I received during this summer to better understand my main goal.

Being outdoors allows me to think about the endless number of geologists who are somewhere out in the world looking for ways to answer the many questions we all have about Earth. Even though it may sound easy to come up with questions, I found it difficult to do so from the top of my head. But once we arrived at the locality of research, I was able to connect with the environment and knew right away that I could get through this research with no problem. There are so many questions that came up during our time in the field and that just proves how curiosity and commitment can take science to another level. Geologist for example even go out of their way to collect data to answer these questions knowing they sometimes are putting their lives at risk by performing dangerous task while doing field work. I personally had never been in a desert and my experience really impacted my appreciation for them. It is simply not easy to accommodate to extreme hot temperatures and I learned to be patient with myself and put my health above anything. Communication was key through this whole research experience and for this I appreciate the appropriate precautions taken by our professors when we must needed their support.

As a geology major, I get to see and interpret the world with a different eye, and it amazes me how much potential I have in the scientific world. It is very inspiring to read about scientist always working hard to answers we derive with on a daily basis and I would like to one day see my name on a published paper and help others better understand science. But first, understanding how to read and decipher scientific papers was one of those skills I had to work on, and I am glad to say I improved so much. I also learned to better manage my time and identify other areas of improvement. As I get ready to take on my senior project, I will definitely allow myself to be more attentive to little details and for the most part be patient with how fast or slow the project evolves. This experience connected me closer to the reason why I love science and why I want to continue being curious even at the little things.

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