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Name: Natalia E. Padillo-Anthemides

Birthplace: My mother is from Greece and my father from Spain, but I was born and raised in the US mostly in Miami.

Who is your major? Certified Marine Biology in Middle East and Asia Studies; Global Learning Medal Student

Where did you practice? Bermuda Ocean Science Institute (BIOS), St. George, Bermuda

What was your title? National Science Foundation (NSF) – Student Internship Research Experience (REU).

How did you get your internship?

I heard about this through the FIU marine biology lists managed by Laura Garcia Barcia. I found out about this a week before the deadline, but decided to try to figure it out. Had it not been for the speed and zeal of my phenomenal professor Heather Bracken-Grissom to help me, this certainly would not have happened.

What were you doing there? In the BIOS, I was working under the mentorship of benthic marine ecologist Yvonne Sawall studying carbon cycling in reefs.

What projects have you worked on?

My project investigated the predominant gum photosynthesizers – common Bermuda corals and algae – and total carbon uptake and production. Using a combination of oxygen, light and temperature sensors in outdoor aquarium rooms, I measured gross photosynthesis and respiration. The aim of the research was to create a model for the daily (daily) model of oxygen-carbon dynamics for application in the carbon budget of coral reefs, which face degradation and elimination due to ocean acidification, oceans of heating, bleaching, eutrophication and coastal erosion.

How does your practice relate to the course assignments?

My practice greatly enhanced my work and vice versa. From diving into books during the late nights of study and the days at the end of my knowledge test to diving into the waters of a pristine country, the experiences engraved all the lessons learned at FIU. This experience has strengthened my determination to go to grade school soon after graduation, as I fell in love with my routine and daily work.

What is the most interesting thing that happened during your internship?

The most interesting thing that happened was the spearfishing! I was on my last dive in Bermuda a week before the program ended; Alex Checker, the charismatic diving security officer at BIOS, organized our last diving / diving recreation trip; and, without fail, he always takes with him the Lionfish spear and prison.

What did you like most about your experience?

I enjoyed learning from all my friends and their research projects and perspectives, and, in the background, making mistakes throughout the process. It brought me closer to my mentors. Receiving criticism can seem daunting to face and expose your mistakes; in reality, I felt empowered and motivated to take action for my future.

What have you learned about yourself?

I learned that I can do nothing alone, in the same way, that marine science requires “all hands on deck”; we all, with different interdisciplinary backgrounds, need to work together in order to really advance science and improve communication. Many times, I sought their analytical input as well as physical assistance to help with my project. For practical skills, I learned that I need to better organize information when I read countless research worksheets, which I will use later!

What advice do you have for those starting the internship process?

Take responsibility and do not suppress your enthusiasm. Act on instinct! I think it comes best when a mentor / student reaches out first, no matter when and what it is, to show a willingness to work. When you are interested in your project, it shows. So do not try to hide it!

Moreover, I encourage you to apply for anything and everything! Once you have edited and perfected (with the help of friends and colleagues) your resume, CV, and made a basic structure of your cover letter, the hard part is done!

Next, look for opportunities! LinkedIn, Handshake, FIU Career Services, FIU advising, Global Learning Office, FIU professors and their labs … there are so many choices!

How has the position increased your professional confidence?

Although my project is the improved part of a preliminary experiment from a REU 1 year ago, I still felt like I owned the project and felt the responsibility to carry it out successfully, and my mentor was patient with my learning curve. project- relevant skills. This project experience allowed me to present my research several times in an auditorium, to communicate concepts and data to different audiences (friends / other researchers, senior scientists, school children, etc.)

By writing a research paper, I feel much more confident about getting future projects in labs and beyond, which prepares me to ultimately gather all of these skills, adjust well, and then apply for future solo Ph.D. pune!

How has the internship expanded your professional network?

One of the goals of the practice highlighted in the REU program is to expand our network. All other selected REUs were from across the country, with diverse academic backgrounds.

BIOS also hosted Canadian collaborators of BIOS interns (CABIOS), and have an existing history of a number of technicians and researchers from around the world! Within this environment, we have had seminars for scientific development and networking to connect professionally with the staff in the BIOS as well as activities and recreational activities to relax and have fun. All the contacts I have made will stay with me and I hope that in the future they will be at their service as they have been with me so far in providing so much support, advice and opportunities!

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