Leigh-Anne Kemp, a 2nd year STARS PhD student, reports on an International Knowledge Exchange visit.
I recently completed a month-long international interdisciplinary internship at Ohio State University. I was invited to work with Dr Bennett’s lab group focusing on the effects of selenium leaching from mining activities on microbial communities.
My internship was twofold. First a two-week field trip spent at various locations in Colorado Western Slope collecting soil samples, indicative of selenium contamination, for processing back at the lab. Including field techniques for freezing soil to carry out molecular work in the future. These sites were all remote areas of land which allowed the group to further develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills to overcome inevitable hurdles often faced during field work.
The field trip was Followed by two weeks working in the lab with Scott Kelsey preparing the soil samples for analysis and Dr Antonino Malacrino focusing on basic processing techniques for metabarcoding. This was a great opportunity for me to expand my field and labs skills and gain a foundation knowledge in molecular methods which I will build on during the remainder of my PhD.
Overall this internship was an excellent opportunity for me to gain valuable experience in areas of soil science I had previous no experience in. I am very grateful to STARS and Dr Bennett for providing me with this opportunity, the lab group are a diverse group of people who welcomed me not only professionally but also socially. Allowing me to establish a network of peers in the USA and see some stunning geological formations, beautiful flora and fauna.