Studying Biology in Belize
Katherine Jordan's studies in biology, specifically her class "Field Studies in Tropical Biology," brought her on a two-week research expedition to Belize. Now, Katherine is working with Dr. Brian Penney in his lab and recently, she was awarded an NH-INBRE grant to assist with her research.
Her success has come, in part, from the valuable skills and lessons learned while abroad. During the trip Katherine applied her classroom knowledge to real world situations and better developed her time management skills succeeding in a course which packs an entire semester worth of material into a two week period.
Upon returning to Saint Anselm for her senior year she realized how much her experience (leaving the country and her comfort zone) had positively influenced her personal growth.
"In doing this, I can now look at something under a microscope and pick out key details; I can draw and sketch detailed pictures in a small amount of time; and I can quantify and understand something I look at better in my labs now," says Katherine.
"I love anything to do with evolution, prehistoric life, and invertebrates, so I was instantly drawn to Dr. Penney's research on sea slugs."
In Dr. Brian Penney's lab Katherine assists him with his research of nudibranchs, or sea slugs, and their skeletal systems and phylogeny. I is believed a new type of skeleton is observed in sea slugs and that their basal species (lower in the phylogeny/ancestors) evolved to have these different spicule skeletons for a variety of reasons.
New technology is becoming to available to analyze fossils. As part of her research, Katherine will work with the Micro CT scanner at Dartmouth College.
"I feel as though my research will help me with my career goals in paleontology and evolution and if anything give me good dinner conversation!"
A Fascination for Dinosaurs
Katherine plans on attending graduate school next year and hopes to eventually earn her Ph.D. "I really want to work with bones and phylogeny in a museum setting or do research and be published."
With the skills and knowledge of herself and her field discovered in Belize it's possible that Katherine can evolve into just about anything she wants.