Honors Summer Adventures: Anna’s Summer in Ames

Hello all, my name is Anna Wilcox; I’m a sophomore in Nutritional Science and will be an FHP leader this fall. A long, long time ago I ate a cinnamon roll in the Jischke Honors building and have been recently reminded that because of that I owe Emily a blog post. Contrary to the other posts I have read about summer plans, I have not been changing lives, exploring the world, or even licking dinosaur bones (I’m looking at you, Justin Miller). I don’t have many fascinating stories to share, and for that I apologize. This summer I opted to stay in Ames. Coming from a town of 1000 people, my only summer job options in my hometown would have been working at our local gas station or Pizza Ranch. As intriguing as those sounded, I was sure that I could find something more worthwhile in Ames. I am currently working for the USDA in the National Lab for Agriculture and the Environment (NLAE) on campus. Before I could start working, I had to jump through a lot of hoops to become a “government worker.” I had to get my fingerprints taken, attend a 2 ½ hour orientation, and do countless safety training modules that lasted a few days. Once that was over I could finally start working. While I have been working there this summer I have done everything from plant a garden (take a look at that picture and check out the tomato cages I crafted!), test Costa Rican soils, count every single seed in a mustard plant, and work with a rainfall simulator. A lot of what the NLAE does involves studying agricultural practices that will be profitable but also environmentally friendly.

Wilcox tomato cagesMy tomato cage I made at the Kelley farm west of Ames

I do something different every day and my schedule is usually unknown. I like the diversity of the different projects that I get to work on. I have met and helped some pretty awesome people in the lab, and listening to them talk about their research is really interesting. Along with working full time this summer I also took a genetics class in hopes of freeing up my fall semester a little bit. Since I was able to get a class done in the summer, now I can focus more on being an Honors leader. I am excited to meet our section (big shout out to K1, holla!) and start working with the best co-leader ever, Jill Schomers. As you can see from the picture below, summer class wasn’t my thing. I was in the wrong mindset, because come on, who wants to study and do homework in the summer? In retrospect however, I’m happy that I took it even if I have promised to never ever, in my life, take another class in the summer.

 Wilcox geneticsStudying genetics in the summertime

All in all it was a great decision to stay in Ames this summer. Campus has been quiet which has been strange but really nice; however I think it’s about time that you all come back now. Thanks for bearing with me through this post. In return I will reward you with a picture of my newborn nephew, the classiest baby you will ever see:

Wilcox liam 2‘scuse me, I mustache you a question


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