IGERT Students in Panama

Hello everyone,

We are first-year Ph. D. students at the University of Illinois in the School of Integrative Biology. Our interests range from pollen and plants to bees and birds. We are spending our spring 2013 semester in Panama thanks to NSF-IGERT VInTG fellowships (National Science Foundation, Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship: Vertically Integrated Training with Genomics). This fellowship gives us a chance to spend time outside of a laboratory and learn more about how organisms interact in the field. According to the IGERT website, “Our goal is to produce a new generation of biologists with novel training that provides a modern blend of genome-enabled biology and taxon-centered expertise, with specific emphasis on how the genome and the environment interact to give rise to diversity.”

The program in Panama is in two parts. For the first month, we are taking a tropical biology course that involves a series of seminars and field trips to various Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) research stations. After the course, we will all be conducting our own individual research projects  at STRI, and you can follow our progress at our blog webpage! http://igertstriillinois.wordpress.com/

Written by Kelsey Witt, edited by Cassie Wesseln (IGERT VinTG Fellows)

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