My interests, academic and otherwise, continue to bounce all over the place, which is why the LAKES REU initially attracted me. I’ve found the interdisciplinary working and learning environment super exciting, and it’s fun to get to work with everyone and learn new skills and ideas. I’m on the Sociology team, but by this point I’ve been able to spend some time helping out both the Economics and Geography groups, doing everything from stuffing envelopes while watching The Office to getting a GIS tutorial to learning about different kinds of regression.
|How we all feel about the LAKES REU|
Rene showed me the maps he has been making and walked me through his project. He is working on a map of land use changes (grass land to crop land) over the past few years and has additional data that will help him estimate the amount of soil loss, and phosphorus runoff over time. I believe he has another map showing current land cover in the Red Cedar Watershed, and is also working on one where he looks at the locations of streams and croplands to see where buffers are being used and where they can be used. When making these maps, he also has to look at aerial imagery to ground truth what is actually there, called remote sensing.
I’ve always been really into maps and geography, but I did not know a ton about it as an academic discipline before I came here because it’s not offered at Wellesley, so it’s been neat to learn more about it. It was especially cool to see how GIS works because technology has become such an important part of geography now, and Rene has a talent for explaining a complicated computer program in a clear way. I’m also so excited about the fact that Gunther is able to use previous Sociology data and do something new with it because a) that’s just cool and b) it really captures the spirit of interdisciplinary learning, c) it helps inform what kind of data we collect now, since we have better insight into the kinds of interdisciplinary application it can have and d) it means I get to work with the geography group!
(But the Econ team deserves a shout out for teaching us STATA, regression, solving our coding problems, and giving us an excuse to watch The Office all day :)