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Undergraduate Research Focus at NE GLEON Regional Conference

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The Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON) is supported in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Grant Number DBI RCN 0639229 and MSB 1137327, 1137353 and other generous donors. This blog receives technical support from the Center for Limnology (CFL) at University of Wisconsin-Madison and Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. Any information, opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this blog are those of the individual author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of NSF, CFL, Cary Institute, GLEON or GLEON Student Association (GSA).

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By Blaize Denfeld

The 2nd Annual NE GLEON conference held at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, NY, from April 15-17, gave students and professors representing 11 universities and colleges in northeastern North America the opportunity to experience a “mini” version of a GLEON all-hands meeting. Although undergraduates were the focus of the weekend meeting, comprising nearly half of the 32 participants, graduate students and faculty members also gathered to share data and plan regional research activities for the coming year.

Photo: NE GLEON Participants. Credit: L. Borre.

NE GLEON participants included 15 undergraduates, eight graduate students or early career scientists, and nine faculty advisors or research scientists. A full list of participants’ names and affiliations can be found at the end of the post. (Photo credit: L. Borre)

“I had the amazing opportunity to attend the regional NE GLEON conference. There were several students from various institutions with a wide array of majors, backgrounds, and interests. Although this was my second time attending a NE GLEON meeting, I was still greeted with enthusiasm, almost like being reunited with old friends,” said Brian Kim, an undergraduate student from Colby College in Maine.

The meeting started with an introduction and overview of the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON) and continued with short presentations followed by interactive discussion. For undergraduate student Shane Murphy from SUNY-Fredonia this was his favorite part of the meeting. “The conference was wonderful! I’d say a helpful part was the cool lakes and projects presentations – it allows professors to briefly get across what they are doing and students to present in a very nurturing environment,” he said.

Photo: NE GLEON conference. Credit: L. Borre.

Kameron Dry and Shane Murphy, undergraduates from SUNY-Fredonia, present their research. (Photo credit: L. Borre)

Participants then had the chance to take part in working group discussions. Karen Baumert a graduate student from Bard College Center for Environmental Policy enjoyed the working groups. “It was nice being able to discuss different issues affecting lakes, and really great to discuss research we can do to help solve these issues,” she said.

Photo: NE GLEON conference working groups. Credit: L. Borre.

Working group discussions are where new research projects are planned. (Photo credit: L. Borre)

Kim added, “One component of NE GLEON that I absolutely love is the integration and cooperation between both professors and students at the undergraduate level. Not only did I present my research to experienced researchers, but all the members of GLEON treated me and the other students with respect and as colleagues. With an environment that fosters communication and collaboration, NE GLEON provides an incomparable platform for students to develop crucial skills for a future in science.”

In the afternoon Rachel Pilla from Miami University, Ohio, led students through an R workshop, highlighting some R tools developed by GLEON. That evening a professional development session gave students the opportunity to ask questions about the professional journeys of Kevin Rose (RPI), Kiyoko Yakota (SUNY-Oneonta) and me, representing the GLEON Student Association (GSA) and Uppsala University in Sweden. “I also really enjoyed talking about career development, and how people make decisions and have family/work harmony,” said Baumert.

Photo: NE GLEON conference working groups. Credit: L. Borre.

Student team presenting working group reports. (Photo credit: L. Borre)

The following day working group discussions continued. To close out the conference all working groups convened for a working group report back and discussion. Common themes and opportunities were identified:

  • regional variability and landscape drivers of ecological change,
  • coordinated field experiments,
  • citizen science and community engagement through use of tools such as the Lake Observer mobile app, and
  • metadata analysis and development of standardized measurements for cyanobacteria blooms.

The NE GLEON conference was a success for a second year in a row, as Kameron Dry, an undergraduate student from SUNY-Fredonia, noted, “NE GLEON gave me a chance to meet new people and connect with students and professors who are all interested in the same topics that I am. It was a lot of fun because our aquatic department at Fredonia is fairly new so it was really neat to be surrounded by limnologists.”

The conference was supported in part by the Research Foundation for SUNY-Fredonia. Thanks to Jen Klug (Fairfield University), Dave Richardson (SUNY-New Paltz), Lisa Borre (Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies), Denise Bruesewitz (Colby College), Courtney Wigdahl-Perry (SUNY-Fredonia) and Kiyoko Yokota (SUNY-Oneonta) for organizing a great conference. We look forward to a 3rd annual NE GLEON meeting next year!

Blaize Denfeld received her PhD from Uppsala University, Sweden and her B.A. and M.A. from Clark University in Massachusetts, USA. She is originally from Connecticut, USA. Her participation in the NE GLEON meeting was a nice way to stay connected to her roots in the northeastern US, while at the same representing the GLEON Student Association (GSA) and graduate studies abroad. 

NE GLEON 2016 Participants

Karen Baumert (Bard College); Holly Ewing (Bates College); Lisa Borre and Kathleen Weathers (Cary Institute); Brian Kim and Rebecca Chmiel (Colby College); Jen Klug and Coleman Macuch (Fairfield University); Rachel Pilla (Miami University); Kevin Rose (RPI); Shane Murphy and Kameron Dry (SUNY-Fredonia); Dave Richardson, Michael Forcella, Anthony Hollander, Mathew Farragher, Bobbetta Davis, Brian Wilcove, Krista Micelli, and Julia Herton (SUNY-New Paltz); Shannon Donohue, Alexa Tumbarello, and Kiyoko Yokota (SUNY-Oneonta); Rachel Fowler, Jasmine Saros, Kate Warner and Nora Theodore (U-Maine); Blaize Denfeld (Uppsala University, Sweden); Allison Hrycik, Jason Stockwell, Hannah Lister, and Haley Grigel (UVM). Virtual Participants: Courtney Wigdahl-Perry (SUNY-Fredonia) and Jim Rusak (Dorset Environmental Science Centre, Ontario).

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