i. What were your goals for the course in Peru? To what extent did you realize these goals? Please give specific examples if possible. We’d also like to know the extent to which covid-19 affected your ability to realize your goals.
My goals for the course in Peru were to learn as much as I could and to become more familiar with taking plant trait measurements, the LiCor equipment, and with R coding. By being in Group 4, I had plenty of exposure to the carbon flux measurements and was able to learn about the LiCor equipment. I really valued the time spent out in the field and had many hands-on learning experiences with my group. One specific example of these hands-on learning experiences was simply witnessing the changes in the carbon dynamics on the computer screen as we were collecting the photosynthesis and respiration measurements of the plots. I did have some exposure to the trait wheel and was able to perform a couple of the measurements, but I still wish that I would have had more time with the trait wheel. The goal that was most affected by COVID-19 was my goal to become more familiar with R. The lectures given via Zoom were valuable, but as an R beginner, I needed more help. The lecture helped me gain more knowledge of my resources available to me for data analysis, but unfortunately COVID-19 made my goal to learn how to navigate through R better unreachable. Despite the chaos around COVID-19, I believe that I learned a great deal from this course and met so many absolutely wonderful people. I also believe that I will be able to apply my newly gained knowledge to my future graduate project.
ii. What did you learn about yourself during this course?
One thing that I learned about myself during this course is that I have a lot of loved ones that will help me in a time of need. While we were in Wayqecha and trying to figure out what was going on with the world, my family and friends were doing everything they could to try and bring me home safely. For this, I am so grateful and blessed to have people like that in my life. I also realized during this course how much I love science! Being able to conduct research with people from all over the world is something that I will always cherish.