Life Sciences Student Lands Summer Research Project at Harvard

June 10, 2010

Life_Sciences_Student A Saint Leo University rising senior, Margaurete Romero of Tampa, is among 33 undergraduates chosen to participate in a summer research program in ecology offered by Harvard University, the Harvard Forest Summer Research Program in Ecology. Some 500 undergraduates applied.

The intent of the program is to develop future scientists’ research skills. Students including Romero participate in ongoing research in Harvard Forest, which is located west of the Harvard campus in north central Massachusetts.

Romero didn’t anticipate this path in her college career. She came to Saint Leo as a biology student, but after taking some classes with Associate Professor Christopher Miller, discovered a love for environmental science.

She couldn’t choose between the two fields, so decided to pursue a dual major. The next step in her educational evolution was a directed-study course in the spring 2010 semester with Assistant Professor William Ellis. Romero researched the complexity of oyster clumps in Tampa Bay and presented her findings during Academic Excellence Day in April (pictured). She also found out she wanted even more experience with ecological research.

“After that, I applied for Harvard Forest and, thanks to the help of my faculty and a little luck, got in,” she said.

After her first week in the woodlands of the north, she wrote that “we have had orientation not only on how not to get lost in a forest, but also on fire safety and hazardous waste safety, and talks about the different projects they research here.”

Romero wanted to work on community ecology, and landed in a project that researches how colonies of ants are affected by changes in climate. Other species can be observed as well.

Meanwhile, her own education is progressing.

“All of these experiences have made me realize more about ecological research and how to become a better scientist,” she said.