Audrey Taylor ('17, Geography)

Audrey Taylor What do you do for your undergraduate research?

My research focuses on reconstructing paleoenvironments using the isotopic composition and molecular distribution of plant wax compounds preserved in ancient sediments. Specifically, I've been working with Dr. Benedetti to develop a record of mid-Holocene hydroclimate variability in coastal Portugal. I'm also working with Dr. Lane to reconstruct late-Quaternary climate change in the southeastern U.S.

What made you want to pursue an undergraduate research project?

I knew it would be great experience for graduate school and I also wanted a chance to really apply what I was learning. It's the best way to figure out what you do and don't enjoy working on. The sooner you figure that out, the better!

How did you start your research project?

I started out working in the UNCW Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry lab (UNC-WIRMS) doing basic sample preparation. Because of the experience I gained working there, I was able to participate in field work and develop a related research project.

Was doing your own research fun? Be Honest.

Yes! I love research and find it extremely rewarding. It's not always fun, it can be monotonous at times, but it's definitely worth it!

It isn't required to do research as an undergrad, so what advantages do you think this experience has provided you?

I feel prepared for graduate school and confident in my ability to conduct research. It also has provided me with many opportunities to apply for grants and scholarships which have helped me learn how to articulate my research and goals for the future. Overall, I think graduate school will be less daunting for me because I've participated in research as an undergrad!

What recognition and/or grants did you receive for your research?

I've received CSURF travel awards, a research supplies grant, a SURCA grant, the Board of Visitors fellowship, the department of Geography & Geology outstanding undergraduate research award, and recognition as a 2016 Portz Scholar.

What are your plans after you receive your degree from UNCW?

I plan on pursuing a graduate degree and continuing research in organic geochemistry and paleoclimatology.

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