Danielle Siegert ('17, Marine Biology)

Danielle What do you do for your undergraduate research?

I am currently working with Dr. Robert Condon at UNCW's Center for Marine Science (CMS). In 2014, I completed a Directed Independent Study (DIS) using the Cape Fear River as a model to investigate the sinks of terrestrial dissolved organic matter (TDOM). I am beginning work on my honors project investigating the effects of climate change on seagrass communities, specifically impacts on seagrass community structure and metabolism in response to changes in UV light and temperature. In addition, I will be completing an internship in the summer of 2016 working with seagrass in Padilla Bay, Washington for my NOAA Hollings Scholarship.

What made you want to pursue an undergraduate research project?

Research is a long-term interest of mine. I became involved in undergraduate research my first semester at UNCW, assisting with graduate and undergraduate level field work. I really enjoyed working on those projects, but it is especially rewarding to work on my own research project.

How did you start your research project?

After taking Introduction to Marine Biology with Dr. Condon, he approached me about a research opportunity over the summer. It provided a great way for me to get involved in research and explore the field. Dr. Condon's lab is a great fit for me in that it allows me to include all my interests in projects.

Was doing your own research fun? Be Honest.

Collecting samples for and running my experiment at CMS were a lot of fun, and putting together a poster to present and share with other undergraduate students and researchers was very rewarding. Some aspects of research can be frustrating and obstacles arise often, but problem solving can be rewarding in its own way.

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

I have been fortunate enough to work in more than one lab as an undergraduate, which has allowed me to learn a wide variety of skills and see how labs can function very differently. I now have a better understanding of what I want to research, as well as what I do not. Some of the techniques used in my lab are specific, but many others will be applicable in almost any lab setting. Having first-hand experience with these skills makes me a better candidate when applying for graduate school and beyond.

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

I have received a CSURF supplies award for my work with terrestrial dissolved oranic matter. I also received the NOAA Hollings Scholarship which provides funding for my research experience in the summer of 2016.

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

After I receive my degree from UNCW, I hope to obtain my MS and PhD in Marine Science. Continuing research is important to me, and I hope to follow a career path that will allow me to continue contributing to marine science research.

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