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Your Environment. Your Health.

Patriot Yang

Superfund Research Program

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Patriot Yang, an undergraduate student at Dartmouth College, spent 10 weeks in the summer of 2010 working for the Dartmouth College Superfund Research Program as part of the ARRA Student Summer Experience. She worked in Mary Guerinot, Ph.D.'s lab under the supervision of Tracy Punshon. Patriot used this summer term as an opportunity to become comfortable in a lab setting. She finds that she gets the most reward out of her lab experiences when she is able to prioritize it rather than having to balance it with academic courses and extracurricular activities. She also wanted to get a head start on a research project. During Patriot's time under Ms. Punshon's guidance, she was able to understand and become proficient in the standard procedures of bulking up on different types of Arabidopsis thaliana seeds. This included liquid sterilization of seeds, planting, maintenance, and harvesting. Patriot also tested the arsenic sensitivity of different types of seeds. To accomplish this, different concentrations of arsenate and arsenite were prepared in medium for agar plates. The growth of the Arabidopsis seeds was then observed for 4-5 weeks. In addition, Patriot had the opportunity to learn the procedure for digesting plant material for metal analysis. She prepared seeds and shoots for the MARS microwave digestive system.

 

Patriot's experience helped her gain confidence in the lab. She says that by the end of her time there, she could execute any task asked of her by her mentor without supervision. She had a lot of practice making mistakes and learning from them, and now, she says, the fundamental procedures and tasks of the lab have become second nature. Patriot also gained a basic understanding of the many methods of metal analysis in the lab.

 

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