Weekly WISE #6

Welcome back! This is the final week of the 2022 Student Summer Employment Program. Our last few reflections this were written by Natalie, Susannah, and Sarah. If you were interested in checking out everything we’ve done this summer, make sure to take a look at the 2022 Program Highlights page. Thanks to WISE NL for such a great summer!

Natalie W, Science Program Assistant

Hello! My name is Natalie, and I have just completed my sixth week of the Women in Science and Engineering Student Summer Employment Program. I work at Grenfell Campus, as a Science Program Assistant with the Kids University Summer Camp. My job consists of working with children aged five to twelve, and educating them on a variety of topics through fun activities. 

In my sixth week, we learned all about sharks. We had some fascinating presentations, which taught campers fun facts about all of the different species of sharks. One of my favourite parts of the week were the experiments we got to participate in. I led campers in an experiment about salt water density. We dissolved baking soda, sugar, and salt in different cups of water, and left one with plain water. Campers got to take turns dropping grapes in the cup, and guessing which solutions would make the grapes float or sink. Another experiment we did was about how sharks float. We dropped a bottle of oil and a bottle of water into a large tub of water, and saw that the water filled bottle sank, but the oil filled bottle floated. This taught campers that since sharks don’t have swim bladders, they use their oil-filled livers to help them float. Participating in these experiments taught me lots of cool things, and also helped me with my presentation and public speaking skills. We had lots of fun learning about sharks, and ended the week with a shark themed game show, to put the campers’ knowledge to the test!

There are many skills that I have improved on during the summer, such as organization, communication, and decision making. I have met some awesome people, and gained some valuable work experience. I am very grateful for the opportunities that I’ve had through the Student Summer Employment Program!

Susannah P, Interdisciplinary Lab Technician

Hello! My name is Susannah (she/her, settler) and I have been working as an interdisciplinary lab technician for the past few weeks at CLEAR in the Department of Geography. CLEAR stands for Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research and is a lab designated for studying plastic pollution, as well as creating new feminist and anti-colonial methodologies in science. The CLEAR values are humility, accountability, and collectivity. 

I have had a wonderful experience at CLEAR thus far with a large range of tasks and responsibilities. In a typical week there is lots to be done, ranging from sample processing seal, arctic char, mackerel or ice for micro plastics, to logging fish tag data from tags from a variety of different places. I really like the CLEAR working environment, especially being around my coworkers who are incredibly knowledgeable and willing to answer any of my many questions. 

I am sad that my time in the lab is coming to a close as I have learned a remarkable amount. Not only have I learned about practical data extraction skills, I’ve also discovered the kind of scientist I want to be, and the type of environment I want to work in: An environment where everyone has a voice, whether you are a PhD candidate or a high school student. I will always remember this opportunity with very fond memories, thank you!

Sarah T, Nursery Assistant

Hello there! I am Sarah, a grade 11 student currently working with the WISE program at the MUN Botanical Garden. As my final week comes to a close, I feel accomplished on what I have completed throughout my seven short weeks here at the MUN Botanical Garden. My role as a Nursery Assistant has given me many opportunities to learn as we start new projects every week. This week my coworker and I have finally convinced my supervisor to create Alpine troughs for our plants. These troughs hold alpine plants which naturally populate places such as mountains or places with high altitude. This means they do not have a lot of nutrient soil to grow in and grow at extreme elevations making them a hardy plant. By keeping these plants like this, it mimics their habitat because of the rocky and porous material it is created with. As the summer is coming to close, the plants will soon be exposed to the cold and harsh elements of Newfoundland so it is time to propagate the plants. This is one of my favorite activities because we get to create more plants and start new growth through the three different types of propagation. Propagation by division is the most popular type and is also my favorite type because it is essentially cloning the plant by separating the plant in sections so their “DNA” is the same. So, there is lots going on this week and I am happy that I have gotten a chance to be a part of it.

Weekly WISE #6
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