Mentoring undergraduates: Professors Sally Holbrook and Russell Schmitt - Lake Harding Association

Mentoring undergraduates: Professors Sally Holbrook and Russell Schmitt

Mentoring undergraduates: Professors Sally Holbrook and Russell Schmitt

By Micah Moen 0 Comment February 12, 2020

– We got interested a number of years ago in trying new places where
we could test hypotheses and ask questions. And we came here, and found
that it’s a really great place to do the kind of ecology
that we want to do. – These kinds of field stations are really the observatories for global change science,
and sustainability science. And that’s very much what
we’re interested in here. – Russ and I have always
brought undergraduates during the summer field
season, with us here. And for them, it is just
really life-changing, because even though they’ve
lived away from home, going to university, obviously, in a dorm or in an apartment, to come to a research
station in a foreign country, for many of them is just, often it’s the first time they’ve traveled much outside the U.S. And coming and living here, being in this atmosphere, for them is just really,
really life-changing. And for some of them, it convinces them that this
is what they want to do, and how they want to spend their life, and for others, it convinces them that this is not how they
want to spend their life. And so it’s really a good experience for undergrads in thinking about careers or going to grad school or not. It can really help them
make life decisions. Because they see this kind of atmosphere, and a research atmosphere. – Here, an undergraduate
gets to actually learn that science is a process. It’s not just something you read about. It’s not just a collection of facts. That you have ideas, that
you test those ideas, you have data, that there’s all kinds of
intellectual and sort of, logistics, sort of moving
parts that fit together. And they do it in an environment that’s very self-supportive, and very, willing to sort of help. And so I think the level
of interest in mentorship that a student gets
here is really intense. So, it’s really a good
experience, no matter what. And they come away much more global. One of the interns who
came for this summer said, I can’t believe
it, I get to talk to you. What do you mean, you get to talk to me? And he goes, well, you know,
you guys talk with everybody. Well you come during my office hours? and he says, that’s not the same. – [Professor Holbrook] Science,
in the last several decades, has become increasingly
collaborative and interdisciplinary, and what you’re seeing here now really reflects that. – Because there are lots
of different scientists indifferent career states, and lots of different disciplines, you talk to each other, you
get excited about things, you learn from each
other, and that’s where– – You start collaborating. – [Professor Holbrook] You
start your collaborations, and that’s where all the
excitement comes from. You can do bold new things. And that’s the exciting part, is the interface between two disciplines that really haven’t worked
much together in the past. It’s pretty exciting.

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