M.S. Student/RAMP Fellow
I’m a new graduate student, Masters, working under Dr. Song with a Research and Mentoring Program Fellowship at UCF. As I embark in my journey in Biology, I am learning very much about entomology and the science associated in the field. I graduated from Apopka High School in 2003. After that I spent five years in the Marine Corps to the rank of Sergeant working as intelligence specialist so that I can go to college using funding from the generous Montgomery GI Bill. During that time I was stationed in Okinawa, Japan for three years and I have deployed to Pakistan, S. Korea twice, and Iraq. The military was a great and empowering experience for me and I am sure it will contribute to my work in Biology. After two years of undergraduate research with Dr. Song, I have helped build his lab from the ground up and have learned to use all the new equipment he has gotten with his start package including thermocyclers, centrifuges, sequencing and statistical software, EthoVision, and the Big Kahuna imaging system. I have also gained a lot of field experience and will continue to collect more Schistocerca samples, which are always an adventure to collect. I have trained other undergraduates in molecular work in colony care and look forward to continue to do so. My undergraduate research incorporated the macro-evolutionary aspects of density-dependent phenotypic plasticity in Schistocerca which is a very interesting phenomenon. As I begin my Masters, I am venturing into RNA work and next generation sequencing of density transcriptome data to understand the molecular processes behind density-dependent phenotypic plasticiy, which is largely unknown. By the end of my Masters I am looking to have four publications. I was lucky to get Dr. Song as my advisor.