What advice do you have for undergraduates who are just starting out in research?Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand a particular task. When you first start, everything is new and it’s a learning process.
McNeil, B.; Pisek, J.; Lepisk, H.; Flamenco, E. Measuring leaf angle distribution in broadleaf canopies using UAVs. Agr. Forest Meteorol. 2015, (Submitted).
When you were 10 years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was 10 years old, I wanted to be a scientist when I grew up.
What are your current plans/career goals beyond the undergraduate?
After I graduate, I plan to get my masters in Geography.
When did you get involved in undergraduate research?
Spring of Sophomore year.
How long have you been involved in undergraduate research?
I've been involved in undergraduate research for about 8 months.
Why did you choose get involved in undergraduate research?
My plan is to go to graduate school and I believe undergraduate research will prepare me to get the skills that I need to be successful for graduate school.
How did you find/connect with your first faculty research adviser?
I asked a former graduate student about any tips of preparing for graduate school. He was my teacher for Physical Geography and he mentioned a few professors that are involved with research who may need help in their research. I visited Dr. McNeil’s office and introduced myself to him, and asked if he needed help.
What is your current research?
My current research project involves measuring tree leaf angles. Leaf angles have an affect on different intensities of albedo, photosynthesis, and water loss through the leaves. During the summer we climbed five fire towers in the central Appalachian Mountains. We situated parallel to the canopy of a tree and placed a camera on a leveled tripod and took pictures. The tree images were taken in June, July and August. With a software program, I analyzed the pictures and each leaf was individually measured perpendicular to the base of the leaf. Also, I have taken weekly images of seven trees from the Pleasant Street Bridge in Morgantown, WV following the same procedures.
What skills have you learned by doing research that you would not have learned otherwise (i.e., from lecture alone)?
The skills that I learned by doing research are sanding tree core samples, tree-ring dating, and measuring the length of each tree-ring. I learned how to use a photography camera to take pictures of tree canopies in order to measure leaf angles. I also learned how to submit data entries into excel, which I didn’t have any experience before.