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I am 22 years old, and am in my third year of undergraduate study at the University of Chicago, double majoring in Biology and Anthropology. In 2000, I was selected from a pool of thousands of applicants as a Student Argonaut for the JASON XI Project (Going to Extremes); the position involved visits to local schools to describe the Argonaut Program, interacting with teachers at 'teacher training sessions' at NASA Ames, and conducting research at home prior to a two week scientific expedition off the coast of Key Largo, Florida, and in Houston, Texas, studying two "extreme" environments: deep sea and space, with the help of a team of world-reknowned scientists, including Dr. Robert Ballard, Dr. Ellen Prager, Dr. Mark Patterson, Dr. John Shebalin, etc. We completed five live broadcasts per day to Primary Interactive Network Sites around the world from the Aquarius, the world's only underwater live-in laboratory, to give hundreds of thousands of students the feeling that they were actually taking part in a scientific expedition. We also conducted research on the seasonal variations in the growth rate of Halimeda, a single-celled underwater algae; these data were gathered underwater using SCUBA, by dyeing the specimens with Alizarin Red and measuring the segments of old and new growth after a seven day period.
In 2001-2, I was invited to host the JASON XIV Project Prologue Video, a video that is distributed to teachers with the JASON Project curriculum and is shown widely in classrooms. Filming this video involved traveling to California's Channel Islands (San Miguel and Santa Rosa) and assisting researchers with studies of endemic wild foxes as well as elephant seals; the position of Video Host required a great deal of curiousity, creativity, and enthusiasm, as I was effectively acting as a 'middle ground' between the researchers and the many thousands of young students who would later watch the video in class. This adventure gave me a great deal of experience with working in front of, and engaging with, a video camera.
Since then, I have worked in several research laboratories on the University of Chicago campus (studying such diverse topics as infant cognitive development, color vision, and the crayfish nervous system), and, during a year off between high school and college, taught English to elementary school students and physics to high school students in South Africa. The excitement and challenge inherent in travel is something that I absolutely love; since high school I have lived in or visited eleven countries in Africa, Europe, the South Pacific, and Central America. As for my language skills, I took a year of college Spanish during my freshman year in college, and spent all of last summer studying Spanish intensively (five hours of one-on-one instruction with a teacher per day, five days a week) in Guatemala.
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