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March 1st, 2013 by Rachael Martin

Just a casual conversation…

Before I proceed any further with this blog, I want to transition from referring to “Dr. Hibbett” and “Dr. Gazis” to referring to “David” and “Romina.” Of course when meeting a new professor or instructor it is important to respectfully refer to them using their professional title, and depending on the person, this may be the title you continue to use. However, both David and Romina prefer first names in the classroom, so I think for the purposes of this blog using their first names will be more natural.

Last week everyone met with either David or Romina to go over their project ideas. They suggested methods we could use to answer our research questions. Today our written proposals were due. We went around the room talking about our proposals for around five minutes each. Five minutes seems like nothing, but it was long enough to make me nervous. David wanted it to be more of a “casual conversation,” but I had a hard time looking away from my outline. Despite being nerve wracking, it was helpful to talk about our projects. David and Romina offered suggestions, and classmates were able to ask questions, so we got a sense if we were presenting the information clearly. It seemed to go well, and I was happy to go in the beginning of the class so I could actually listen to other people without being worried about my presentation. Those of us in David’s lab are doing projects about fungi, of course. These projects will examine many different fungal groups (more about my project to come!). Some of the other projects topics include: human influenza virus, MC1R (a gene involved in skin and hair color), Nitrate-reducing bacteria, and Banksia a genus of Australian flowering plants. These projects will utilize several different methods which we will discuss in upcoming classes.

Next week we have spring break! This will give me much needed time to catch up on my work and enjoy some time at home.

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