For a while I had been looking around at different internships and was having a difficult time finding one that interested me. It wasn’t till I found about the LAKES REU project that really spiked my interested. Naturally I applied and I couldn’t be any happier that I was accepted. On the plane ride over here I found myself glued to the plane window gazing out at the landscape. It was almost shocking for me to see actual trees and not just some cactuses or small shrubs. Coming from living in an area that is situated in the Sonoran Desert to the town of Menomonie has been quite a drastic change for me. However, I find myself adjusting well to the area and enjoying all greenery.
The town of Menomonie reminds me a lot of the town of Benson that I grew up in Arizona until I later moved. I didn’t realize how much I missed the feeling and seeing the connections that these small towns can bring. It’s refreshing to see the relationships between the town people and how everyone seems to know each other. Everyone can identify specific landmarks or the best places to go in town. Another thing that’s exciting to see it how many people within the community care about this research on the watersheds that we are doing, other projects like this, as well support for the students. Just by attending a couple of meetings it’s clear that there are great individuals here who truly care about the environment and area that they live in and are willing to make a change.
Continuing with the town I learned that there are several cafes and restaurants located all over. I had the chance to visit the Acoustic Café on one of the first days that I got here and went in to get some ice cream (Because I was dying from the humidity). Needless to say the ice cream was great and the café was really nice to relax in, probably good to work in as well. I’ll probably go back and visit again when I have the chance. In addition to café I also ate at the Waterfront Bar and Grill and I can see why my professors like it so much. I ended up having the special they had that day and I’ll tell you it’s definitely worth going. Lastly another place that I recommend going if you haven’t already is the Tabby’s Catfe. Amber Georgakopoulos who is also participating in the LAKES REU program opened up a cat café and I had the time to go in and see the cats they had. I totally recommend going and playing with the cats if you have the chance, it’s a fun place to go.
As for the LAKES program itself I feel that I’m learning about the Red Cedar River as well as the situation dealing with the phosphorus that affecting the water quality in the surrounding areas. I’m enjoying talking with the other students about their own research and look forward to what we can all bring to the table. Tina Lee has been extremely helpful with explaining all the details for our research as well as providing tips on what we should be focusing on. There’s a lot of material that we’ve been covering this week, but everything has been insightful and important for next phases of our project. I’m glad that I have this opportunity to work along such great people and expand my own knowledge as well.