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CEES Intern Blog: Hello From Lauren

 Hi my name is Lauren Sercer, I’m a senior Biology pre-professional major at IUPUI. I am a board member of the Pre-med club, in the process of finalizing the establishment of the 2014-2015 Physician Shadowing Program. Currently I am doing undergraduate research for my senior thesis class under Dr. Christine Picard the Assistant Professor of the Department of Biology & Forensic & Investigative Sciences Program. Dr. Picard’s lab takes the approach of molecular genetics in a forensic science setting. My project consists of testing specific primers using DNA extractions from different generations of blowflies specifically from the genus and species, Cochliomyia macelleria, with special consideration into the molecular differences in what causes fast and slow development. In addition to research, I enjoy teaching science to kids’ k-8 every summer at Marian University’s Math and Science Summer Camp and volunteering at IUPUI events. My academic goal after I graduate in May of 2015 is to pursue a Master’s in medicinal and molecular genetics.  

While taking Ecology K341 under Dr. Wang, I began participating in the CEES Service Learning Projects that took place starting in September and ending in November. After every project I came away with more of an appreciation of the public parks in the Indianapolis area, along with a personal interest in how invasive species that release nitrogen in their leaves, specifically that Japanese Bush Honey Suckle, contributes to the algal bloom causing the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

For the fall of 2014, I have been involved in almost every service learning project that has been offered, but my favorite project was the cutting of back of invasive Japanese Bush Honeysuckle at Sodalis Park in Plainfield. Named after the Indiana Bat, Myotis sodalis, Sodalis Park is home to roughly 150 bats that nest in the bat boxes or trees in the area. The dense invasive brush not only out competes native plants but prevents bats from swooping down to feed on insect.

By working for CEES I hope to gain not only personal contacts in the field of environmental science but also explore future learning opportunities that will lead me to possibly pursuing a career in the improvement of the overall health of our communities through environmental changes. By working together to make environmental changes, communities can improve their air and water quality, thus leading to improvements in their overall quality of life.

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