August 29, 2013
Robert M Reynolds
From: Dover, New Hampshire
Mixing it up: I get a kick out of understanding the world—and the world involves more than one subject. At Lewis & Clark, I’ve explored chemistry, ecology, philosophy, and geology. I’ve grown gardens on campus, kayaked in New Zealand, and researched in Ecuador. Out of this marvelous mix, I’ve earned a degree titled “biology,” but I prefer “biogeochemistry philosopher of environmentalism.”
Fueled by fungi: Supported by the Fowler Internship Award, I spent a summer doing research in the Ecuadorian rainforest with a group that uses mushrooms to metabolize and clean up oil spills. I worked long days covered in tar and sweat, but I knew that my research would have tangible benefits, and it made me excited to pursue a career in research.
Small-school symbiosis: Back on campus, my interest in mushrooms led to a research position in Assistant Professor Peter Kennedy’s microbe lab, studying the symbiotic relationship between forests and fungi. This experience will make all the difference when I apply to graduate school. None of my friends who went to bigger schools have had the opportunities, mentorship, and support that I have had here on a daily basis.
Context is everything: Lewis & Clark gave me the setting to explore all of my interests and discover where my deepest passions lie. Now I’ve found this strange, specific niche, and I know where it fits in the bigger picture. It has given me the context necessary to do effective work in the world.