Engaging in your field and writing an honors thesis will undoubtedly be the most difficult academic pursuit of your undergraduate career, and dually the most rewarding. Beyond studying in depth the subject of my thesis, I have gained insight into how the scientific community functions, how to improve my writing skills, and how to read and view things critically. I am interested in bird behaviors and the complex relationship between freshwater parasites and their definitive avian hosts. This project has potential to introduce novel ideas regarding parasite-host relationships, the importance of biodiversity in an ecosystem, as well as the effectiveness of large-scale environmental manipulations.
With support and mentorship from the Johnson lab, I was lucky enough to collect my own data for this honors project, which has kept me invested and engaged through the daunting analysis and drafting process. Conducting independent fieldwork as well as working on a field team provided me with the opportunity to see science outside of the lab and the classroom. I was able to directly explore the systems in which I was interested and get excited about what I was studying. I would encourage any student, especially in the sciences, to get involved in research in any capacity possible. Through my experience, I was able to indulge my curiosities about the natural world, build connections and friendships with other scientists, and learn more about potential future career paths I may want to peruse. What it boils down to is field work is FUN, working with other science geeks always interesting, and being part of a lab community is an invaluable experience here at CU.