With the new year quickly approaching, I’ve decided to take a look at what I’ve accomplished this year.

  • Started this blog!
    • I started this blog in February of 2016, and I’m so glad I did! It was an amazing way to share my research and related experiences with my friends, family, and fellow scientists. It’s also invaluable because it has stored my stories for me to remember years and years from now.
  • Successfully planned and conducted my thesis research!
    • I can’t tell you how awesome this is to me. I was so worried I would’ve ruined everything, but everything turned out fine! No matter how many times the forest tried to kill us! And now I simply can’t imagine working on research that is not my own.
  • Presented formally three times!
    • Once nationally in Portland, OR, once in regionally Toledo, OH, and once internationally in Orlando, FL. It’s been wild and scary, but I feel so accomplished having done it. Not to say my informal presentations, like the one I gave at the FOPA lodge, weren’t just as amazing.
  • Successfully crowdfunded my research!
    • I really think this is incredible. Crowdfunding is a bit rare in the academic world, but I pulled it off. Academic grants are hard and very competitive, but by doing this I gave my family and friends the opprotunity to support me and be more involved in what I was doing. It was a challenge to make my research understandable to the general public, but it also helped me learn that I loved science communication.
  • Got four companies to sponsor me!
    • Even more rare but totally worth it! Though I was initially looking for funding, I ended up meeting some wonderful people and being able to try out some amazing products! And I can’t be thankful enough for those products. They really helped me out while conducting my research.
  • Mentored students from two different online programs and became a science pen pal!
    • I wrote letters to a aspiring scientist in New York, but I also worked with two different middle school groups on their own research project! One of those groups contained students from all across the world! This was probably one of the coolest things I’ve done yet. Helping those kids conduct their own complicated research projects and watching their love for science blossom throughout was the most amazing experience! I can’t wait for it to start up again.
  • Was a successful TA for a class I never thought I could do!
    • This past semester I TAed for Genetics. Something I thought I’d never do because I am FAR from being a geneticist. But helping those students was the most rewarding part of my semester. They are so smart and try so hard to understand the material. I enjoyed every moment of having them in my office hours. Plus to top it off, one of them anonymously got me a Christmas gift to thank me for everything I did for them. I still can’t believe it. I’m definitely going to miss them this coming semester when I’m only a prep TA.
  • Published 11 articles in the newspaper, one of which made it big!
    • The majority of these articles where columns for the BG News (which can be found on my blog). But one was shared on the BGSU homepage and another made it big! I wrote an article about Dr. Shannon Pelini and her colleagues who studied how ant communities respond to climate change, which was shared on BGSU Zoom News, BG Independent News, and the Toledo Blade!
  • Had three of my photos used as feature images on a different science blog and created “sci-art” for another!
    • My photographs have shown up on the front pages of Real Life Science three times! I also had the pleasure of writing an article for them! And through learning how to photoshop, I’ve been able to create images for Knowing Neurons!
  • Started a podcast!
    • Okay, I know I’ve said this a lot already, but this is totally the coolest thing I did in 2016.  Caitlin and I started releasing a monthly podcast this fall. We’re releasing our latest episode at the beginning of January and it’s going to be a good one! It’s been so fun creating this podcast with her, and I can’t wait to start on all of the things we have planned for 2017. Keep an eye out for it! You can also find us on twitter!
  • Finally, last but not least, I applied for a PhD.
    • HUGE HUGE  HUGE thank you to everyone who has supported me thus far. I’m really excited about the awesome opportunities that will come in 2017 with the end of my master’s and possibly the beginning of my PhD or another equally amazing route in my science career.

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