Weekly WISE #1

Our first Weekly WISE posts are written by Chloe K. and Jessica S.! Check out what these students have been up to for the first couple of weeks of the program!

Chloe K., Atlantic Puffin Research Assistant

These past two weeks I have been working with Pierre-Paul Bitton, as well as Master and Ph.D students, assisting with their research on puffins and storm petrols. I was definitely challenged during my first week; I was given the task of find a software that could be used to analyze images of puffins, as well as make qualitative annotations. I was very lost at what to do and how to start, never before had I been given so much independence and so little instructions for a project, my high school teachers usually took us through projects step by step. I was skeptical, but after two days spent in the library, I figured it out. Pierre-Paul was there to guide me whenever I hit a wall, but otherwise I did it solely on my own. 

Last Friday I got the privilege to go see Great Island, where the students conduct most of their research in the field. It was my first time seeing a puffin, and they’re not penguin sized like I always thought, but actually just little, tiny birds (that might just be me though). It was surreal to see them all flying above, I couldn’t believe how many there were not only in the air, but also sitting on the banks by their burrows. Although I only got to go for a quick trip, I am very excited to go overnight hopefully next week and get the full field work experience!

This week I have continued working on figuring out how to use the software and creating an SOP for it. It was very rewarding to finish a weeks long hard work. On Thursday we all went and toured the Marine Institute. We got to use some of the simulations, and it was like playing a very advanced video game. It was a lot more fun than I had thought going in, and it definitely opened my eyes as to other ways I could take my career. 

Already two weeks into this job, I have been taught so many life skills I’ll take with me forever. Not only that, but I was actually surprised to make such great friends this week! I found we all have things in common, and we all get along great, I can’t wait to get to know them more. I’m excited for what the rest of the five weeks have to offer!

Jessica S., Research Assistant in Reproductive Health & Exercise Science

During my first two weeks of work, I quickly learned how important it is to connect with people and make friends outside of your comfort zone. During my first week, my supervisor, Dr. Katie Wadden, introduced me to so many new people across campus that I am so glad I got to interact with! Over the course of my first week, I had the opportunity to attend many lectures and presentations, and I even got to sit in on a fertility study meeting that I now get to help out with! On my first day I got to sit in on a Neuroscience lecture being given at the Bruneau Centre. I enjoyed sitting in on this and getting to hear about all of the projects that people were working on. One of my favorite days from my first week was attending the Female Founders, Funders & Fortifiers Breakfast at the Emera Innovation Exchange at Memorial University’s Signal Hill Campus. The talk was so inspirational, and I enjoyed it so much. At the talk, I also got the chance to meet the Founder of the WISE Program! She was so sweet and I’m so glad that Dr. Wadden introduced me to her. After the talk was over, Dr. Wadden took me to lunch at the Battery Cafe where we worked on my summer project. I also had the opportunity to attend Dr. Kevin Power’s talk at the NL Sports Centre about having a positive mindset as an athlete. I definitely learned a lot from this talk as I am an athlete myself. During the second week, the WISE group got to go on a tour of the Marine Institute on Ridge Road. The tour was really fun and it was great to see the other girls in the program again! My favorite part was the boat simulation because it felt like you were inside a real boat, and you also got to see all the same controls that would be in a real boat! We ended the tour off by doing some fun trivia and there were prizes given out. Also, during the second week I had the chance to job shadow a Pharmacist for the day which was amazing! I really enjoyed this opportunity because I am interested in Pharmacy for when I graduate, and I ended up learning a lot of things like how to properly package medications and how patient documents work. I’m really looking forward to getting to know everyone in the program better as summer goes on and I am also looking forward to continuing to learn from Dr. Wadden, as well as help out with the Fertility Study!

Weekly WISE #1
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