This educational collaboration between Washington University's Tyson Research Center and the Missouri Botanical Garden's Shaw Nature Reserve is designed to engage St. Louis area high school students in scientifically-based exploration of the natural world. Linked programs of field training (SIFT) and field research (TERF) provide teenagers with experiences that realistically reflect research in environmental biology. Participating teens learn a variety of field investigation skills and then have the opportunity to put those new skills to work assisting career scientists with real research projects.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Behind the Scenes of TERF: The Story of the New Intern

As we get closer to another summer of SIFT & TERF I guess it is time to introduce a familiar face to this blog.


My name is Jessica Plaggenberg and I am a former SIFTer and TERFer. I am now back for this summer as the TERF intern. Throughout the summer I will be driving the TERF Mobile from WashU to Tyson everyday, as well as keeping the blog up to date on all of this summer's happenings. But I'll first go ahead and talk about who I am and what this amazing program did for me.

I am a proud St. Louis native who graduated from Incarnate Word Academy. I just finished my freshman year at Truman State University where I am majoring in Biology. I absolutely love science, which leaves me to my career dilemma of wanting to research infectious diseases as well as aquatic ecosystems.

During high school I participated in both SIFT Cohort 2 and TERF Cohort 2, and it was here that I realized I loved science and wanted nothing more than to be a researcher. These programs transformed me from a very shy, quiet person, to an outspoken person who was actually able to work with people. I met a lot of goods friends throughout my years in SIFT and TERF and also did a lot of networking which has helped me in college.

I've been working on this summer's TERF session for about three weeks now, and let me tell you, it sure is different being behind the scenes. I never realized how much planning and organizing went into these programs. Since working with Susan Flowers, I have learned how to write lesson plans, how to prepare materials for incoming students, and most importantly, how to use a copy machine! The past few weeks have certainly been an adventure, and I'm positive it will become even more fun when the new TERFers arrive at Tyson next week.

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