Geology major spends summer conducting research in Cape Cod

August 27 2008

Emily Pugh spent her summer on the beach. But instead of soaking up the sun, she was busy sampling the air.

Pugh, a junior geology major at Indiana State University from Cory, participated in a Research Experience for Undergraduates program this past summer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Cape Cod, Mass.

Woods Hole is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to research and higher education; it is the biggest non-profit ocean research and engineering education organization in the world.

"Learning experiences such as summer-long internships in premier institutions are typically life-changing," said Tony Rathburn of the geology department at ISU. "The value of these experiences for students interested in science cannot be overstated."

Pugh was interested when she first heard about this opportunity while working in the ISU biochemistry lab. In order to obtain a spot at Woods Hole's program, Pugh had to submit an application along with a personal essay. Shortly after applying, she received the opportunity to participate at Woods Hole conducting her own project entitled, "N2O Fluxes from West Falmouth Harbor: Are Coastal Fluxes underestimated'," which had her collecting air samples and running tests.

"Being in charge of my very own project really developed my critical thinking and leadership skills," said Pugh. "I was responsible for collecting data, planning field days, analyses, working with data and writing a final report."

Each day at Woods Hole consisted of collecting air samples and testing them for greenhouse gases. Once the samples were obtained, it was then her duty to convert the concentrations of the gases to flux measurements. Along with these everyday duties, Pugh also participated in activities such as spending the day aboard the Tioga, one of the Woods Hole research vessels.

"I got to see and use some of the instruments that the scientists use to collect samples out at sea. It was a blast," said Pugh.

Pugh said that her favorite thing about the internship was getting to be outside in the Cape Cod weather every day by the ocean and paid to do the things she loves.

"I think it is really helpful to expose yourself to your field as much as you can," said Pugh. "The project was a lot of work but also a lot of fun."

Pugh added that she would recommend this experience to other students at Indiana State who are interested in the field of oceanography.

"Overall, the experience, from every aspect, changed my life and made me a better person and scientist," said Pugh.

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Writer: Jennifer Spector, Indiana State University, media relations intern, at jspector@mymail.indstate.edu or 812-237-3773

Photo: http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/photos/358914541_Ux6se-L.jpg  

Cutline: Emily Pugh, Indiana State University junior geology major, collects air samples in Cape Cod, Mass., as part of a research opportunity at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.

Photo: http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/photos/358914541_Ux6se-L.jpg  

Cutline Emily Pugh, Indiana State University junior geology major, spent her summer in Cape Cod, Mass., as part of a research opportunity at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

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Story Highlights

Emily Pugh, a junior geology major at Indiana State University from Cory, participated in a Research Experience for Undergraduates program this past summer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Cape Cod, Mass.

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