Julia Bachman is a senior at First Flight High School in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, and Science Journalism Intern with the Coastal Studies Institute at the ECU Outer Banks Campus. This is the first in a series of posts Julia will author to provide a first-hand glimpse into her research and outreach experiences at CSI.
My name is Julia Bachman and I am a student at First Flight High School. I am currently an intern at The Coastal Studies Institute (CSI). I am hoping to attend NC State University and study environmental science and communications. I have been lucky to have great experiences through the years, attending workshops, traveling to national conferences, participating in community events to keep our environment healthy, spreading awareness, making new connections and interning at CSI. As part of my internship, I will be writing about my field and research experiences through a series of web posts called, “Research Experiences of a High School Intern.”
Many people have an idea about what they want to be when they grow up, I was no exception.
Growing up on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, I developed an affinity for the ocean at an early age, and I chose to spend every spare moment at the beach or at the sound. It wasn’t until 3rd grade when Mrs. Rhana Paris came to my elementary school that I became interested in science. At the time, she was working with the North Carolina Aquarium. She brought a variety of species from the aquarium, species that lived within our environment. We listened to her talk about her job, the opportunities that came from it, and how her job allowed her to spend every day making our environment a better place and preserving all it had to offer. I wanted to be a part of conserving the community we all love.
Science leads us to finding out things that give us what we have today. It not only increases knowledge, but creates new technology, is a pathway for sharing ideas, and gives us all a better world view.
It wasn’t until high school that I became more seriously involved with science and concerned about the health of our environment. It is a priority of mine to become involved in as many scientific ventures as possible. Past experiences have allowed me to do so, and my ongoing internship this year with CSI is also expanding my knowledge. Initially I learned a lot from Ms. Neller, my science teacher at First Flight High School in Environmental Science class. That led me to apply for a Soil and Water Conservation workshop, which I attended at NC State in the summer of 2018. Additionally, I studied under professionals at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution doing microscope work at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL).
Working in marine science has allowed me to take advantage of living in a coastal environment. For the past two years, I have taken part in science clubs and community affairs. A personal favorite has been the First Flight High School Phytoplankton Club.
Taking a leadership role in Phytoplankton Club has allowed me to share my knowledge with other people and teach other students about microscopy, science engineering, water quality, and other applications.
I am an active contributor to The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Phytoplankton Monitoring Network and a published scientific author at age 17. The goal of the club is to detect and report harmful algal blooms. This should be important to the public because these harmful blooms can affect our water and marine health. The ocean is one of the Outer Banks’ most important tourist attractions and provides food all over the world. The entire economy of the Outer Banks is dependent upon the health of the ocean.
Through my internship at CSI I have been able to expand my knowledge and work with educated researchers on important matters within our community. For example, studying how plants influence aquatic environment and help sustain life within our local marine estuarine has been stimulating.
These past few weeks, I have been focusing on communication within the scientific community. The opportunity to go out into Currituck Sound and observe the current projects dealing with animal and plant distribution made me want to learn more. CSI is one of the few places where I would have the chance to use high tech camera and video equipment. For this field experience, I took many photos with a Canon camera and documented under water activity with a GoPro. I learned how to edit photographs and meta data tag using a variety of software like Adobe Lightroom.
People may think that the most important part of science is the research and what you find. I agree, but I also think communicating to the public and others is just as important. Through photojournalism, I have been portraying ongoing issues in order to help find local environmental solutions. By using new technological equipment, learning new techniques, analyzing/observing and gaining more knowledge, this allows me to visually share current events.
In the next few months, I will be assisting with education and outreach, analyzing in the lab, and going out in the field. I am excited to continue taking photographs and to write about my experiences with CSI for the website. I hope to apply the knowledge and skills I am gaining from my internship towards my later career opportunities and future endeavors, keep the connections I have made, and contribute to conserving our environment.