The biggest component of any conducted research is communicating the results of your findings. And while the common outlets come in the forms of symposiums and conferences, there are numerous and innovative alternatives to sharing research with the public. The “conclusion” of my study, however, was a uniform national symposium with a twist, angled towards ‘Dismantling Injustice.’
The Leadership Alliance virtual symposium hosted around 300 students who shared their summer research through live presentations, ranging from scientific studies to anthropologic and all in between. I spent about 2 1/2 weeks preparing my presentation, “Habitat Suitability Mapping for Cyanea capillata in the Hudson River,” trying to hunker down on the delivery of my first independent study for my first research conference. This process provided great exercises and preparation for a future in academia and research, improving my organization and scripting skills.
The most emphasized aspect of my project has always been eliminating the distinction of who can ‘care’ about science and the environment. I found my method of incorporating this emphasis into the presentation to be fairly effective, as I used a publication and recorded interview quotes to illustrate the disdaining attitudes towards jellyfish. In practice runs days before, I noticed that the quotes actually spurred a reaction from the audience, whether those be displays of laughter or disgust.
Starting the presentation, as well as throughout, I felt the nerves ensuing and overwhelming me. I felt comfortable with the material that I was presenting, though, realizing the nerves had nothing to do with my production of work. I can’t say that the nerves were necessarily subdued, but at the end of my presentation I felt a specific sense of accomplishment that I hadn’t experienced before. The only thought that came to mind after concluding was the assurance that this was the field and future that I long for. I now see independent studies more as creative expressions, similar to art in how you shape the foundations and supporting concepts for the study to exist and have the impact which you envision.
In regards to continuing this research, the biggest impediment is grasping and efficiently working with a mapping computer program, ArcMap GIS. With a loss of resources from the Leadership Alliance, I will have to essentially teach myself how to use the program, which is the final step in ‘mapping’ a habitat’s suitability. This will be a difficult task throughout the school year, but one that I am willing to embrace and troubleshoot. I haven’t felt necessarily satisfied with my project’s close, but I believe making any sort of progress with this technological feat will provide that sense of comfort with my study.
Unfortunately, there was no recording of the presentations through Zoom. I have informal videos, but was not able to upload them here to WordPress.