Athira Reghunathan, Summer Session I: ETX/NUT 127, 2016
I choose the Summer research program at the Bodega Marine Laboratory, as my aspirations aligned with conducting an independent scientific research. This course is known for its effective small class size that offers undivided attention from the professors, Gary Cherr and Ellie Fairbairn. Both professors have exceptional teaching skills and they provide individualized guidance to ensure that each student feels supported and achieves his/her goals. The professors were also extremely helpful, approachable and even during weekends we could contact them regarding any clarifications about our research.
The course consists of inspiring lectures, engaging laboratory sessions, and an independent research project. Not only did I enjoy the classes and the challenges that it posed, but it also gave me an insight into designing my own research experiment. I believe that the interactive nature of the course adds a tremendous value to the learning experience and the individual research project gave me first hand exposure to the process of active scientific research which fueled my passion for science. With the experience I gained through the ETX/NUT 127 course, and the help of professors by providing me with strong recommendation letters, I recently got accepted as a Research Assistant at Johns Hopkins Medicine. I am glad that I took the ETX/NUT 127 over summer as it helped me move towards Biomedical research in the field of Cancer Biology and Nuclear Medicine. I would highly recommend this course to those students who are interested in any field of science, as the course offers a spectrum of research skills.
Cristina Gago, Summer Session Sequence II: ETX/NUT127, 2014
Taking the UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory ETX/NUT127 course was one of the best decisions I have made throughout my undergraduate career. Not only did this experience allow me to develop laboratory skills essential for future courses and internships, but it also provided me with the opportunity to make friendships that I know will last a lifetime. Living and working in Bodega for six weeks in the summer following my freshman year of college, I was excited to have the opportunity to work hands-on in a small classroom setting. Starting the program with several weeks of introductory toxicology coursework, every student gradually developed an independent project idea. Learning how to collaborate with others in the fast-paced laboratory setting was essential, as students worked cooperatively to complete lab tasks (i.e., Western blots, marine invertebrate spawning, various bioassays, etc.) and progressively advance in their laboratory technique. It was in these state-of-the-art Bodega Marine Laboratory (BML) classrooms and lab spaces that I learned essential skills I have utilized throughout the remainder of my college experience.
Developing an independent research project over the course of several weeks, conducting experimental trials, writing a final report, and delivering a presentation of the results served as graduate school trial run. Not only did I learn to work independently and efficiently as I ran my experimental trials, but I also learned how to effectively organize and document my findings. Although the program was fast-paced, I always felt supported by the BML community of scientists and students. Not only was it obvious that the professors were excited to provide individualized help, but it was also clear that they would do everything they could to help us learn and progress in our academic careers over the course of the program and beyond.
Providing individualized guidance to every student, the professors ensured that everyone got the most out of their time with BML. Ultimately, I feel that the skills I acquired throughout the program in writing, organization, presentation, and experimentation can be applied to every research setting. Following my time at BML, for example, I joined a public health research lab at my home university (the University of Southern California), where I utilized my BML-acquired skills on a daily basis as a research assistant, just as I did throughout my summer research internship within a public health research lab at the Fred Hutchinson Research Center. With this in this in mind, ETX/NUT 127 is perfect for all students interested in exploring research and/or considering entering graduate school in the future. Most importantly, my BML experience gave me newfound excitement for scientific research; I could not be more excited for graduate school!
Jackie Lang, Summer Session Sequence II: ETX/NUT127, 2014
ETX/NUT 127 was by far the most rewarding class that I took during my undergraduate career at UC Davis. I took the class because I wanted to get a taste of what it is like to conduct scientific research in order to get a sense of whether or not graduate school would be the right path for me. With the help of the professors (Gary Cherr and Ellie Fairbairn), we walked through the process of thinking of a scientific question, designing and conducting an experiment, presenting our findings to the BML community, and writing the results in the form of a manuscript. The small class size gave students the ability to ask for as much guidance as needed throughout the quarter and allowed the students and professors to get to know each other well on a personal level. We developed a multitude of skills including scientific thinking, teamwork, and problem solving.
Living in Bodega Bay was a fun and unique experience because the on-site dorm-style housing allows students to bond with people who have similar interests outside of class. There are plenty of opportunities to explore the pristine beaches, tide pools, mudflats, and sand dunes in the area as well as the marina and quaint downtown. I left Bodega Bay with many great new friends and experiences.
Taking ETX/NUT 127 has helped me tremendously with finding jobs at UC Davis and after graduation. With the experience of taking this class and help from the professors through letters of recommendation, I landed a job as a student assistant in an aquatic health laboratory at UC Davis, participated in a summer internship at a biology field station, and most recently am now an environmental scientist at an environmental consulting company upon graduation. As an ETX/NUT 127 student, you will leave with a multitude of new skills, friends, and experiences and will always be welcomed back to the BML community.
Hannah Chung, Summer Session Sequence II: ETX/NUT127, 2012
As an undergraduate student at such a large public school, I know how hard it is to get one-on-one guidance from your professors and truly benefit from the instructional value of a course. Even my smallest classes consisted of 25 students. But there is only a handful of students who take the ETX/NUT127 course every year, so you receive considerably more individual attention from your instructors. They invest so much of their time into your work and into helping you to really grow from your studies. And on top of the valuable guidance you’re given, you have the chance to design your very own research project. Not just perform, but design every single step along the way of an original idea that you give birth to. The originality of your research is what makes it different from any other research you can conduct in a lab during your undergraduate years. Taking the ETX/NUT127 course at Bodega Bay is a unique opportunity, rare for most students to come by, and I cannot stress how glad I am to have taken advantage of the opportunity when I saw it.
Elizabeth Axton, B.S. in Biological Sciences with emphasis in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior Spring 2012, attended Spring Curriculum NPB141 and BIS122, 2011
I attended the spring undergraduate research program at the Bodega Marine Laboratory, which was one of the most memorable experiences of my undergraduate education. I was able to spend the quarter living on the beach, while at the same time gaining valuable experience in field work, lab work, and performing research. It was my first opportunity to design my own study, and I was able to present my research on physiological adaptations of Tigriopus californicus at the UC Davis Undergraduate Research Conference in 2012. Thanks to the experience I gained at BML, I later had a plant biology internship over the following summer, worked as an animal care assistant at the Center for Aquatic Biology and Aquaculture, and upon graduation was hired full-time with the Fiehn Metabolomics Lab in the UC Davis Genome Center. I was recently accepted into a Ph.D. program in Toxicology at Oregon State University, and now I can look back and see that it was all made possible by my very first research experience. Studying at BML was an amazing opportunity, and I believe that students in any scientific field will be able to gain something from it.
Johnathon Li, Summer Session Sequence II: ETX/NUT 127, 2011
A friend recommended I take ETX127 at Bodega Marine Laboratory, and it was the greatest turning point in my undergraduate career. As an Animal Science major, I had little to no experience in the area of toxicology, which didn’t put me at a disadvantage- only two of the students in my class were majoring in environmental toxicology- part of what is so unique about this class is that no matter what your background is, everyone is able to contribute what they have learned and excel in this class.
Living out at the marine laboratory taught me valuable lessons in the world of science and research, as well as teambuilding and cooperation with fellow students and faculty. You are able to completely immerse yourself in a pseudo graduate student experience while working in a beautiful and pristine environment full of amazing wildlife. (We were even able to whale-watch from the meeting room at times!) The small classroom dynamic was truly a privilege to experience and the instructors (Gary Cherr and Nature McGinn) were extremely dedicated and helpful in guiding us through any problems we had with our individual research projects. This was a unique and rare experience coming from typical large university hall-based classes. The first two weeks are full of classes and hands on labs that helped us develop skills that were directly applicable to our projects and research, such as spawning invertebrates, western blotting, and running various toxicological bioassays. Unlike many of the classes that are offered on campus, you get to experience and deal with real modern problems that scientists are faced with in aquatic ecosystems. During the last four weeks, you are free to develop your own independent research project with the guidance of the instructors, and present your findings at a research symposium.
My project, which investigated the combined effects of salinity and copper levels on developing oyster embryos, helped me realize the many pitfalls and frustrations that come with research, but more importantly it taught me valuable lessons in how rewarding it could be. After this course, I became so interested in environmental toxicology that I decided to stay two extra quarters to do a minor in it. Taking this class at BML definitely helped me shape my interests and inspired me to attend graduate school.
I would definitely recommend this course to anybody that is interested in aquatic toxicology and research. You will leave this class with a handful of new skills, friendships, and truly unforgettable experiences.