My internship at the National Tropical Botanical Garden

This story was published in FIU News by Isabel Gamarra. 

Name: Elizabeth Martinez

Hometown: Pinar del Rio, Cuba

What is your major? Biological sciences, Global Learning Medallion student

Where did you interning? The Kampong, National Tropical Botanical Garden

What was your title? Research intern

What projects did you work on? : I worked on estimating current and historical populations of peacocks in Coconut Grove, and examining social perceptions of peacocks among residents of the neighborhood.

How does your internship connect back to your coursework? Coursework, such as data analysis, allowed me to interpret my results efficiently. Classes like Marine Field’s Ecology and Public Speaking gave me the confidence to present my project at the Tropical Conservation Internship Symposium.

What is the coolest thing about your internship or that has happened during your internship? One of the most exciting things that happened during my internship was having the opportunity to develop our research project from the beginning.

What have you enjoyed most about your experience? Estimating peacock density in Coconut Grove was an exceptional and fun experience that allowed me to do fieldwork while biking established transects doing surveys. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work alongside a great partner, Cynthia Fussell, and for being closely guided by our incredible mentors: Elizabeth Anderson, Christopher Baraloto and Adrian Figueroa.

What have you learned about yourself? From this experience, I’ve learned to never give up on myself. Being a competitive program, it took me two attempts to get accepted, but instead of getting discouraged, I improved my materials and applied a second time.

What advice do you have for those beginning the internship process? The Tropical Conservation Internship is an excellent opportunity for undergraduate students who want to obtain research experience. It’s a project to be taken seriously, but above all it’s incredibly fun and rewarding.

How has the position increased your professional confidence? This internship increased my professional confidence by expanding my communication, critical thinking and problem-solving capacities while working in a professional setting. It also enhanced my research qualifications, preparing me better for future investigations as an aquatic veterinarian.

How has the internship expanded your professional network? The Tropical Conservation Internship allowed me to interact with professionals in the science field and gain new connections. I had the opportunity to attend discussions about science-related topics that introduced me to a variety of resources. It also helped me to acquire references and professional mentorship.

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