Getting here:

I arrived in the middle of the night when I visited the COA campus for the first time. When I stepped out of Seafox the next morning, all I could see, feel, and smell was the fresh sea fog off the bay. While wandering the campus, I found students barefoot in the library. I knew I was where I belonged.

Classes

2017-2018

Fall 2017
ESTEM Professional Development, two Senior Project credits

2016-2017

Study abroad at the University of St Andrews, Scotland (Plant-Environment Interactions, Animal Plant Interactions, Astrobiology, and Biochemistry), Trees and Shrubs of Mount Desert Island, Introductory Entomology, Advanced Composition

2015-2016

Changing Schools, Changing Society, Ethnographic Fieldwork, Adolescent Psychology, Ecology, Probability and Statistics, Chemistry II, Conservation Biology, Functional Plant Morphology, Bryophyte Biology

2014-2015

Human Ecology Core Course, Music Fundamentals, Marine Biology, Nineteenth Century American Women, Biology I, 2D Design, Plant Evolution, Oceans and Fishes, Biology II

Charcoal drawing in progress for 2D Design

Favorite class:

Marine Biology

Although I did not come to COA with a marine focus in mind, this class opened my mind to the intricacies of the local intertidal. Through a historical comparison study, I was able to focus on the marine macro algae of Otter Cliff which I would like to do further work on. This class was heavily fieldwork-based which has made me eager for other classes in the field. 

 

Internship:

In the summer of 2016, I took my internship with the Anderson lab assisting with a long-term field experiment at Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory (RMBL) in Gothic, Colorado. This reciprocal transplant common garden experiment is investigating the effects of climate change on Boechera stricta by relocating local plants to five gardens at varying altitudes. Find more information about this long-term study and the resulting papers at this link.

Working at a reciprocal transplant garden in Crested Butte, CO.

Senior project:

Autumn leaf color change remains a botanical mystery—how the leaves change color has been (mostly) established through biochemical analysis but the question of why persists despite numerous hypotheses. Many hypotheses focus on biological causes, such as aphids in the handicap hypothesis or adaptation to now-extinct fauna, but I hypothesize that these are secondary to the high light and UV stress a plant is subjected to during the fall. 

For my senior project, I will track the phenology of non-green leaves on the scale of individual trees as well as entire mountainsides on Mount Desert Island, Maine (MDI) during autumn 2017 to test this hypothesis. I expect to see non-green leaves earlier on the south than the north if this phenomenon adapted to combat solar stress because during autumn north and south faces receive a greater difference in solar light than during summer.

Activities, traditions, celebrations:

Workstudy

Curatorial Assistant, Herbarium
An herbarium is a library of pressed plants, each specimen a time capsule preserved by past scientists for the use of future research. My work in the COA & Acadia National Park Herbarium sparked my interest in collections-based research and continues to be a favorite activity for me.

Student Manager, Greenhouse
My work in the greenhouse allows me to work with COA’s living collection year round. I particularly enjoy working with the carnivorous plants and the young papaya trees that I started from seed. 

Outdoor Orientation Program

My Outdoor Orientation Program trip was canoeing on the Allagash with seven other first year students and two leaders. Paddling 70 miles in five days as an absolute beginner was a challenging and rewarding experience.

Passions & motivations:

botany, natural history, ecology, all kinds of fieldwork, science, greenhouse, herbarium

Adventures yet to come:

In ten years, I hope to be studying plants both in the field and through collections-based research. Possible areas of research include taxonomy, ecology, evolution, and phenology.

COA might be the right college for you if...

you love learning and are eager to curate your own experience.