This year's crew of NSF-funded microfossil collections interns would like to take a minute to introduce ourselves before diving into the nitty-gritty of our first week on the job. We will regularly update this blog throughout the summer, as we work our way through revitalizing AMNH's long-neglected microfossil collections.
Now, meet the team:
Courtney is a graduate student at Western Illinois University pursuing a degree
in museum studies. This is her second summer working on the Invertebrate
Paleontology rehousing project and is excited to be back. She will be
returning to the Midwest after this summer to start an internship at the
Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE. After graduating she is hoping to work
in natural history collections and is looking forward to what the future
Nicollette is a Bronx native who is no stranger to invertebrate life
forms. While she studied geology at Oberlin College, she had the
fortune of studying bivalves, gastropods, and even fire ants. Becuase
she has never studied invertbrates that can't be seen with the naked
eye, Nicollette looks forward to working in the microfossil lab this
summer. Nicollette is especially interested in applying the fossil
record to the study of paleoclimate and change over time. She loves the
intersection of science and society and hopes to be a part of the
discussion of climate change in the future. This fall, she will begin
her Masters in geoscience at the University of Arizona (Bear down!).
Shaun recently graduated with a B.S. in Geology from University of Houston and has a strong passion for geology and computers. He has also been working on georeferencing collection data to modernize the museum's databases. He is originally from Houston, TX.
Farallon is very happy to be a part of the microfossil intern
team. Next fall she will be going into her third year in the College of
Creative Studies at UC Santa Barbara, where she also does research on
apicomplexan octopus parasites in the Kuris Lab. She is from New York
City, where she lives with her family and four cats.
Rebecca just graduated from Oberlin College, where she studied geology (officially) and a smattering of other subjects, including Javanese music. Originally from Downingtown, PA, Rebecca is excited to explore the "real world". This summer of microfossil curation is actually her second position at AMNH. She's glad to be back. Future plans may include a stint in the National Parks, a fellowship in Indonesia, or anything else that comes her way.
After going through the inevitable paperwork that comes with a new job, Bushra gave us a tour of the invertebrate paleontology collections, which include the subset of ostracods and forams that we are working with. We were then each given our own projects. These were overwhelming at first, but we soon settled into a rhythm of writing out new labels, cleaning off dusty old slides, databasing, photographing, and cataloging specimens.
The picture below shows the sorry state some of these slides were in after almost a century of storage. The cardboard of the slide decays and falls into the well with the specimen, and must be cleaned out very carefully with a small paintbrush. The ostracod pictured below is about half a millimeter in length.
Also in our first week, we went on tours of the vertebrate paleontology and anthropology collections. We were able to see some of what goes on behind the scenes at the museum. Preserving collections as extensive as those of AMNH is no small feat; we were able to see the care and thought that goes into collections management (not to mention the shelves full of triceratops skulls, a dinosaur brooding a nest of eggs, an incredibly well-preserved 2,000-year-old Andean carpet, and countless shelves full of incredible anthropological artifacts).