Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thanks Kai

In the month that I was able to work with Mr. Powell in Dr. Leal’s lab, I gained an extremely enriching experience. While biology at school had always been of interest to me, reading textbooks and watching Power Points can never quite compare with working with real, live lizards. At school, the most hands-on work with animals I ever did at school was with C. elegans, and in all honesty, it wasn’t quite the same. Working with the anoles, I was able to see just how complex they were, and how I, like many others no doubt, had previously underestimated their cognitive abilities. Previously, I wasn’t even aware of so many species of anoles, and had only ever heard the word “anole” in passing.
It wasn't only from working with the anoles that I was able to learn. One of the greatest things about working with Mr. Powell was being able to learn so much, not only about the anoles themselves, but also about their habitats, the way they and many other animals adapted and evolved, and even a little of how the brain works, both in lizards and in humans. I was fortunate in that I had the opportunity to read several research articles spanning several topics that Mr. Powell gave me, and also to discuss my numerous questions regarding those articles. Those discussions not only helped me understand the articles, but also gave me the chance to get many of my questions regarding various aspects of biology answered.
My learning experience at Duke was one that I will unlikely forget. Such a learning experience would be impossible to come by in high school. I am extremely grateful to Mr. Powell and Dr. Leal for giving me the opportunity to work with them, and of course for teaching me so much about anoles and so many other aspects of science. While I am still uncertain about which area of knowledge I wish to pursue, my time here has definitely strengthened my interest in biology.