Kristen MacFarlane joined Wave Hill as High School Programs Coordinator at the beginning of June, joining current Coordinator Charlotte Henderson through the summer. Charlotte moves on from this 14-month position in the fall. Kristen graduated from Cornell University a year ago, and just received her Masters in Geographic Information Science at Lehman College.
Since I’m almost finished with my second week as High School Programs Coordinator here, I would like to introduce myself and reflect on my amazing time so far. As a Bronx native, I’ve been visiting Wave Hill with my family for many years and working here is literally a dream come true!
I’m working with Barry Kogan, the Forest Project Manager—and with Charlotte this summer—to coordinate Wave Hill’s two high school internships, the Forest Project and the Woodland Ecology Research Mentorship (WERM) programs.
The highlight of my first week was attending the Science Research Mentoring Consortium’s Colloquium last Thursday at the American Museum of Natural History. It was great meeting both former and current members of our WERM program, as well as students from other institutions in the consortium.
The event began with Edmund Griffin, MD,PhD, an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University, who spoke about overcoming self-doubt and navigating the field of scientific research. It was particularly interesting hearing about his experiences because he had gone through a similar mentorship program as a teenager. After this inspiring speech, we had the opportunity to listen to presentations by students who have finished their research in their respective institutions.
Following the presentations, we had a delicious meal in the Museum’s Hall of Northwest Coast Indians, where WERMs presented their posters, showing the research they have conducted during their time here at Wave Hill. Using the skills they learned in our ecological restoration and GIS courses, they have developed and carried out projects that range from looking at forest-canopy health to examining erosion. It was a real pleasure to hear them discuss their projects with so much passion and energy—some of that comes through in this photo of two of our WERM presenters. I was truly impressed by their knowledge and the extent of their accomplishments, especially since these were projects that they worked on last summer. I can’t wait to see the work that they come up with while working with their mentors this summer!
I am excited to continue working with the current WERMs, and with the newest cohort, who start on Monday, June 29, along with the new crew of Forest Project interns!