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This summer I participated in an internship with Dr. Stan K. Doty, a local dentist who practices in the Findlay area. Most of the internship was conducted in his private practice but there were also a few days where I went to the free dental clinic, a pediatric dental office, and finally finishing out the last week in EL Salvador on a medical mission trip.
Most of the work I got to do in the beginning of the internship was sterilizing instruments and observing the doctor. I observed the doctor conducting procedures such as amalgam fillings, tooth extractions, composite fillings, crown seatings, and tooth whitening procedures. As I spent more time in the office I was given more responsibilities like measuring out stone and impression powders, assisting the doctor, and sterilizing rooms before and after patients.
When I assisted, I ran the suction and the air and water hose. I also got to use a mirror on certain procedures and I handed the doctor the instruments he would need for the next part of the treatment. While we would be doing treatment on a patient, Dr. Doty would explain to me the different types of treatment that each patient could choose from and also how to interpret x-rays for infection and faults in the tooth structure. Lastly, I got to take an impression by myself and pour up the stone to make an impression for a denture. While I was doing all of this work I also conducted a study on how age and sex affect the amount of dental caries present. I also studied how personal habits like smoking and weight affect amount of dental caries in individuals.
I worked in the free clinic and pediatric office to address some issues I was having with different dental atmospheres, and working with child patients. Working at the free clinic taught me the difference between private practice dentistry, and clinical dentistry. The pediatric doctor taught me some tips on how to deal with unruly children, and how to just deal with nervous children in general. Finally the trip to EL Salvador showed me how primitive dentistry was just a few years ago. It also showed me the difference in care there is between the US and other countries.
During the summer I had an internship at Alloway Environmental Testing in Lima, Ohio. This company provides testing for a variety of clients to ensure they are following their National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. This is done in a various ways. For most municipalities Alloway test the waste water being released from the effluent into nearby streams. For companies, the same testing is done but in addition to wastewater testing, storm water is also tested. Depending on the clients permit requirements a biological assessment test is also performed.
My internship was mostly focused on collecting the samples and the bioassesment portion of Alloway. I would go out into the field and measure field parameters, such as dissolved oxygen, pH, conductivity and temperature, then collect some samples to be tested for different analytes.
When I had to collect samples there were two different types to collect, grab and composite. Grab samples were collected at one time while the composite samples required at least 24 hours to collect. Usually I went out to the site the day before and set a sampler to collect a small amount of water at various times throughout the day. This was mixed and used as the composite sample.
In the biological assessment area of my internship I worked in the lab measuring the effects of the effluent water on either fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) or water fleas (Ceriodaphnia dubia). This is done to measure the water quality as a whole and not just for a single toxin. For the fathead minnows certain standards needed to be met depending on whether it was an acute or chronic test. In acute test survival rates were measured and in chronic test growth was measured. For the water fleas the number of offspring produced was measured.
My internship was completed with the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve: Volunteer Turtlers.
My main responsibilities included monitoring the beach every morning at dawn for Loggerhead Sea Turtle activity from the previous night and logging the data from each individual crawl as well as talking with the public and giving a “Turtle Talk” on sea turtles. This included the species of turtle that made the crawl which I would deduce by examining the tracks and looking for specific patterns and the width of the crawl.
I monitored approximately three to five miles a day along a twelve mile stretch of St. George Island. I worked on locating the egg clutch within the nest site without damaging the incubation habitat or any of the eggs and marking off the section with a predator proof screen and strakes to limit predation and disturbance from humans.
I worked closely with the research reserve on various projects ranging from field research to GIS mapping. I participated with a survey of Brown Pelicans in order to gain valuable population data for the State of Florida on a small island located in the Apalachicola Bay area. I also assisted in a few trawling activated at twelve predetermined sites to look at biological diversity throughout the bay. One of my main projects was taking all of the turtle data from St. George Island and Little St George Island from 2001 to 2011 and mapping it using GIS software. This map had each year set as a different layer and allows for comparative studies to take place.
Weather also played an important role in my internship with the experience of Tropical Storm Debbie and Florida’s fickle weather. Throughout the end of July and the beginning of August, it rained every day. This limited our field work and caused many activities to be postponed. The weather also damaged the work we had done previously with protecting the turtle nests. Just with Tropical Storm Debbie, we lost one hundred and sixty-eight nests. As a result, this summer was educational and valuable experience for me.
This summer I spent just over 12 weeks at West Virginia University at the suggestion of Dr. Verb. A previous student of his (Alison Anderson) had taken up graduate studies there, and she was able to expedite communications between ONU and WVU. She was a member of Dr. Todd Petty’s lab and suggested me as an intern candidate. I was interviewed and hired by Eric Miller, another graduate student in the Petty lab, in April. I was scheduled to start work May 15 and to leave on August 15.
Dr. Petty’s lab focused mainly on human impacts on waterways. Some students conducted macroinvertebrate and fish population research in impacted streams. Others studies the impacts of acid mine drainage (AMD) or restoration efforts. Others worked on modeling, mapping and preliminary observation of remote streams, and biotic indices. One of the lab’s main projects was the long term, extensive monitoring of the remote Shaver’s Fork watershed. In general, my internship experience alternated between two basic activities: invertebrate sorting in the lab and off site, extended fieldwork
Unlike professors I have worked with here, many of the students in Dr. Petty’s lab used a grid system for picking (rather than sorting through an entire sample). This system required the sample to be strained and rinsed, then put into a rectangular grid. Grid numbers were chosen at random, and those portions of the sample residing in that numbered cell were recovered for sorting. Once I removed a cell, I took it back to a binocular scope and extricated invertebrates from detrital material, keeping a count of individuals removed. The process was repeated (with multiple cells) until a given number (usually 200) of individuals are gathered. The grid system theoretically preserves random sampling while saving a great deal of time for techs and students.
I was involved in 4 major field projects this summer. The first, at the abovementioned Shaver’s Fork watershed, was led by Brock Huntsman and focused on fish populations. This weeklong project required a large number of people (12+) because it involved backpack electrofishing. Main stem sites required the simultaneous use of 3 backpacks. I learned how to both shock and net effectively. I returned to this watershed twice or three times after the first trip to assist with supplemental data collection.
A second major project, and the one I chose to focus my case study on, was an investigation of unmonitored, rural Appalachian streams. Eric Merriam, my advisor, was the principal investigator for this multi-day project. We traveled to various rural locations in Southern West Virginia and Kentucky to get preliminary data for dozens of small streams. There were 3 main components to this data: water chemistry, macroinvertebrate population analysis, and habitat profiling. At each site we would take YSI readings and collect benthic macroinvertebrate samples. I was most closely involved in the habitat sampling, however. To get a habitat profile, myself and a partner would walk a mathematically determined stream reach and record depth, current, substrate, fish cover, and retentive features at intervals derived from the reach length.
The remaining two projects were much smaller in scale. The first, which was focused on AMD impacts, involved collection of water samples (filtered and unfiltered), YSI measurements, and the collection of benthic macroinvertebrate samples. Some stream pH’s were quite extreme, with readings of 2.0 or lower. These were usually devoid of life. The second minor project fell outside the scope of the Petty lab. One of my roommates, a PhD student, was tasked with the monthly maintenance of an ongoing small mammal population study. This 3-day venture involved the setting of nonlethal traps in the riparian zone of a nearby river. Traps were set out (and baited) in 6x3 grids on either side of the river at 8 locations, then checked and reset the next day. Trapped rodents were measured and tagged (recaptures just had their tag read). The third and final day, we checked and processed the traps again, then packed them up for storage. The small mammal project is also long-term and has years of past data associated with it. This year an unusually high number of rodents were trapped.
Overall, my summer at WVU allowed me to become intimately acquainted with the many facets of graduate school and of research at a large university, and has inspired me to pursue a similar setting for my own graduate studies. Furthermore, I received exclusively positive feedback throughout the internship and, as a result, feel more confident of my abilities to succeed in a graduate environment.
I spent my summer completing an internship at OhioHealth in Columbus. I worked in the Women’s Center.
This part of the hospital is focused on aspects of women’s health such as breast cancer, childbirth, gynecology, and many other areas pertaining to feminine well-being. The focus of my internship was dealing with lactation. I spent time working with nurses on consultations, worked with assembly of breast pumps, and attended classes for new mothers.
Spending time in consultations with lactation nurses was the most important part of my internship. Patients who have recently had babies and are having difficulty with any aspect of breastfeeding are encouraged to make an appointment with one of these nurses for consultation services. The issues that patients had varied a great deal and I had the opportunity to work with the nurses to go over the best way to assist these women. The lactation center at OhioHealth received many awards on its efforts for encouraging women to breastfeed and the various benefits that allots their children.
In addition to assisting the nurses in consultations, I worked with breast pump instruction and handling. The women’s center rents hospital grade pumps to patients having trouble getting their milk supply going. Many of the women renting these pumps would also attend the Breastfeeding Support Group. I attended this meeting every Thursday and spent time discussing with the women different issues that arose in their breastfeeding experiences.