My meaningful experience would not have been possible without the support of the L&C community.
Can you tell us what you’re doing this summer? What are your basic duties as an intern?
During the summer of 2018, I assisted Diane Bland and John Christy with maintaining the Portland State University (PSU) herbarium, a collection of about 20,000 preserved vascular plant, bryophyte, and lichen specimens. My predominant responsibility was to mount the PSU student backlog and City of Portland invasive plant voucher specimens. I filed, accessioned, and imaged specimens to produce digital records in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database. Additionally, I georeferenced specimen records without estimated GPS coordinates in the CPNWH database. All of my experiences were documented, reported, and, for some activities, compiled in an educational resource for future curators. The voucher specimens I mounted will inform the next version of Urbanizing Flora of Portland, Oregon, 1806–2008 that will publish the species composition of the Portland metro area to the present.
How has Lewis & Clark supported you in the process of finding, securing, and funding your internship?
My meaningful experience would not have been possible without the support of the L&C community. Parvaneh Abbaspour, Lewis & Clark’s science and data services librarian, connected me with my PSU mentors, with whom L&C natural history students have partnered with in the past. However, my internship at PSU is a volunteer position. Thankfully, I heard about the Fowler and Levin Internship Award from the Career Center. Parvaneh, with additional support from the Career Center, successfully guided me through the proposal application process.
How do you see this internship leading to a career in your chosen field and aiding in your overall career development?
I am confident in my training and feel prepared to curate herbaria across the country. Additionally, much of the organizational, research, and problem-solving skill sets honed via herbarium management are applicable to any scientific discipline. Though it is unclear if I will gravitate toward research, management, or teaching, working in the herbarium substantiated my interest in plant biology, transitioning my academic curiosity to an occupational goal. Regardless of which direction I follow, this experience has inspired me to pursue graduate study.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your experience thus far?
It was a thoroughly rewarding opportunity to get involved with the plant biology community at PSU and the Portland area. I am thankful to the Fowler and Levin committee for making this experience possible.