Meet the 2020 SRJC-BML Interns

Bodega Marine Laboratory
Bodega Marine Laboratory

Intern-mentor pairings between Santa Rosa Junior College students and UC Davis graduate students at the Bodega Marine Lab offered a virtual twist on this normally hands-on summer experience.

For the past five years, Santa Rosa Junior College and Bodega Marine Laboratory have been partnering to support a graduate student-led internship program that gives junior college students access to grad student mentors and hands-on research experiences in the lab. This year, the program successfully tested its agility in the transition to a virtual format. Although a different experience than in previous years, the 2020 interns and mentors have built a strong, communicative cohort, and successfully developed and completed their research projects.

Read more about some of the intern’s experiences in their own words:

Sonali Langlois

I am a community college student who loves dancing, food, and science. I was drawn to this internship program because I went to visit and tour the Bodega Marine lab as part of a field trip and everyone working there seemed so passionate and involved in their research. I immediately knew I wanted to be a part of that community!

Photo of research project
Photo by Sonali Langlois
Sonali’s Research Project:

My project measures the size of microfossils called foraminifera going back five thousand years. These little protists are able to record their habitats by shaping their shells based on things like oxygen availability, water temperature, and pH. This lets us learn about past changes in the ocean and helps understand how the ocean is impacted today due to climate change. Doing this project opened my eyes to a whole new realm of science that I could never see myself working in before. Now I look forward to studying and researching marine ecosystems in my future education. 

Advice for Future Applicants:

If you get accepted, take advantage of any opportunities your mentor suggests to you even if they seem intimidating or out of your comfort zone.  You never know what doors they might open or what new skills you might learn.

Inder B.

I am a recent SRJC graduate who will be transferring to UC Davis. I am working towards my biology degree and I plan on applying and attending med school in the future. 

Inder’s Research Project:

I decided to apply for this internship because I was genuinely interested in the effect of climate change on ocean life. Admittedly, I knew very little about this field coming in, but I have learned so much more than I thought I would. I was introduced to a new, remote way of research that proved to be effective. We studied the effect of ocean acidification on the calcification of shells for many different marine animals. I found it very interesting how some animals proved to respond differently to the treatment conditions, and the vast amount of information we could extract from this. Most of the research focused on acidification conditions that are very likely to occur due to climate change in the near future. Therefore, the work that is being done at the Bodega Marine lab is very important, as it will help us understand and prepare for the upcoming future.

Advice for Future Applicants:

My advice would be to actually take an interest in the work. Doing so will allow you to be more efficient and have a greater impact on the team and the project. 

Hannah Sullivan

I am currently a student at Santa Rosa Junior College studying biology. I am interested in marine biology specifically because I aspire to be an aquatic veterinarian. I have always had a love for animals and spend my free time volunteering at animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centers as well as working at a veterinary clinic! This internship was a great opportunity for me because I was able to gain a stronger background in the marine science part of aquatic medicine.

Hannah’s Research Project:

This summer I feel grateful for all of the experiences and skills my mentor Ashley Smart and the SRJC-Bodega Marine Lab Internship Program have given me. I enjoyed getting to be a part of Ashley's project, where she is researching how stressors such as ocean acidification can affect animal behavior. She used the sea slug species known as Aplysia to run her experiments. I also value the professional skills the program taught me such as networking, resume writing, and communication. I know I will be able to take all of these learned skills into my future endeavors, and I feel inspired to continue my exploration of marine science and marine animals!

Advice for Future Applicants:

Don't be afraid to ask questions! You can learn so much from your mentor and the other people you will meet. It is valuable to talk to others who have gone through pathways that you may be considering. This internship is a great way to explore career options in science and see what is interesting to you while building connections in those fields.

Pemba Sherpa 

I recently graduated from SRJC and will be attending UC Davis in fall 2020. I am currently following a pre-health track and will be majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. However, I am trying to explore different fields and expose myself to research experiences.

Pemba’s Research Project:

In the eight weeks of internship, we focused on California mussels, and how their shell width has been decreasing over time. We focused on data collected from Bodega Bay from the last decade. Throughout the internship, I learned a lot of skills such as using ImageJ to calibrate images to measure the growth bands of mussels. I also learned how to use Rstudio to graph plots, datasheet management skills, and analyze graphs. 

More to Explore:

Find out more about the Internship Program
Read more about previous years' internships here
Make a gift to the SRJC-BML Internship Program