Out West student blog

Wrapping up with research

Amelia in the sand dunes of California. Image credit: Amelia Smith

Amelia Smith ‘21
Hometown: San Jose, CA
Major: Human Biology
Archeology Program Intern, Yellowstone National Park Archeology Program

I could not be more grateful for my experience as a Bill Lane Center intern with the Yellowstone Archeology Team. Not only do I get to represent Yellowstone National Park, but I get the opportunity to learn and grow in ways I never expected. As my internship begins to wind down, I am coming close to the final stages of my research project. The focus of my research has now narrowed to investigating plants with anti-inflammatory properties that are found commonly throughout Yellowstone National Park and are used by the ancestors of the Native tribes associated with Yellowstone. Though we cannot see completely into the past, I hope to link this paper to the medicinal anti-inflammatory plants the tribes used thousands of years ago.

With the experience of writing a ~20 page research paper, I have the opportunity to find areas of my skills that I excel at and that could use some growth. I have learned I am quite good at gathering data, diving into the research, and summarizing the results. However, I am still aiming to improve at narrowing down my focus to ensure that I am writing a research paper and not an encyclopedia. I have found it difficult to balance wanting a thorough paper that explains in depth all the biology behind the active compounds in the anti-inflammatory plants with keeping my writing simple enough for my paper to be enjoyable and engaging to the reader. It is all part of the process, and I am still learning!

Though I am disappointed to not be in Yellowstone this summer, working remotely comes with a variety of benefits. Because I am not working onsite, I am able to manage my own time in a manner that best suits me. I love working early mornings, starting around 5am, and using my afternoons to go on hikes and have family time. Living in Northern California, I have access to incredible landscapes, geological features, and nature that I get to explore, all while also “working in”  Yellowstone. 

I look forward to further engaging with the coastlines, mountains, and forests of California as I continue working on my paper with hopes of being published in the Yellowstone Science Journal. And I am excited to keep getting better every day!
 

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