Saturday, February 28, 2015

Anna Meyer heads west to pursue new adventures

Anna Meyer defended her thesis in December 2014 and is graduating in May 2015.  She has been a perseverant, joyful, and all-around bright student to advise.  On behalf of the entire lab, I wish her the very best in future endeavors!  Below, she provides us with some thoughts on her time at TTU and her future plans.                  

                  After two years, I’m leaving the Verble Fire Ecology Lab.  I defended my thesis in December and snagged an amazing job opportunity in Washington.  After a long semester of spending fifteen hour shifts in labs and of finishing my thesis, I’m heading for the West Coast to gain some new experiences.  I leave tomorrow to volunteer at an extraordinary ranch in Central Texas for two weeks, and I’m excited about all of the new opportunities presenting themselves this year.

Anna at Camp Bowie
                  These two years have flown by.  They were daunting at the start, and I greatly underestimated exactly how much determination and effort I would need (I started at a flippant 22 years old).  Having reached the end of my Master’s, I feel like an entirely different person.  This degree has taught me the importance of communicating, planning ahead, being resourceful, jumping on opportunities, and developing interpersonal and business relationships.  Even in the process of applying for jobs and graduate opportunities post-Master’s, I feel that the skills I’ve learned here have made me a far more desirable candidate now, and in the future.

                  One of my dad’s favorite sayings is that in every experience, you find out what you like and what you don’t like.  In this experience, I’ve discovered that I love the physical aspects of research: outreach, education, field work, and trying to encourage networking between people.  Most of all I’ve found that I love nutrition studies, disturbance ecology, and working with prescribed fire.  (On the topic of things I don’t like, I’ve found that I don’t like being awake for over 48 hours at a time or finding scorpions in my bed.  Please don’t judge me).

                  My goal now is to find a job or a PhD opportunity on the West Coast, specifically in California.  I have a summer position lined up as a naturalist with a whale watching tour group in the San Juan Islands, and I cannot express in words how excited I am to have this job.  I’ve been applying to whale watching tours for six years (since my freshman year of undergrad), and I finally got in.  After that, I hope to find further jobs in the Pacific.

Cat-- found as a very tiny kitten during the field season, now thriving with Anna
                  First, I want to thank Dr. Verble, who I feel has been largely responsible for a lot of my growth as a researcher and who tried to steer me in the right direction when I was running into intellectual walls.  I want to thank Dr. Perry, my co advisor, for providing me with several incredible opportunities while I was at TTU.  I want to thank my parents for buying me food when they visited and providing emotional support when I was having a rough time, usually at 1 AM in a lab somewhere.  I want to thank all the awesome Texas Tech grad students who made this experience not only educational but also fun.  I really, really want to thank Rachel Granberg, my partner in crime and science, for teaching me a lot about planning, camping, and generally being self-sufficient.  Also, thank you for the cat (I hope to see you in Washington).  My landowners and land managers were great, I’ve never met so many interesting and outspoken people.  I hope to see you guys around.  Thanks to all you guys for the opportunities, and for the experience, and for the cat.

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