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Science Boot Camp 2017 – Scholarship Recipient Blog Post 4

Posted by on September 7th, 2017 Posted in: Commentary
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This is the forth blog post in a series authored by individuals who received scholarships to attend the 2017 Science Boot Camp held at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst on June 14-16, 2017. Please watch for more posts about this event and from scholarship recipients in the upcoming weeks. Read the first post here, second post here, and third post here.Science Boot Camp 2017 Logo


I want to start by saying thank you to everyone at this years Science Boot Camp for being so friendly and helpful. As someone who is contemplating a career in librarianship, I was welcomed with open arms. You all really made the experience enjoyable. It’s a priority to me to begin a career knowing that I’ll be working alongside intelligent and diverse minds who will challenge me in multiple ways. I now feel confident knowing that if I do decide to become an academic librarian, I will be surrounded by the best and brightest.

I found that the boot camp schedule was organized in a way that optimized my ability to understand each of the lectures. The subject overviews taught main concepts that aided the specific research to follow. The first lecture covered mathematics and statistics which I, being completely honest, had little prior knowledge of. I appreciated Adena Calden’s explanation of applied vs. pure math and the humor she brought to a very complicated subject. Dr. Julie Blackwood’s presentation on periodical cicadas and rabies transmission in vampire bats followed the broad introduction perfectly, and I was especially surprised to learn just how much math can be used to understand complex ecological dynamics. Applied math may have gained a new fan.

The next session of lectures covered geosciences and the related research and subdisciplines. Dr. Isla Castaneda did a great job of briefly discussing an obviously complex topic; geosciences is much more than just studying rocks! I enjoyed learning about the important link between geosciences and global climate change, especially given current events. I was also interested to learn about the intersection between geosciences and public health, two topics that I never thought to connect. Dr. John Woodruff followed with his lecture on storm and tsunami reconstruction from coastal lagoons. I plan on watching “Chasing Ice” based off the clip he showed. It’s amazing how much you can learn about the past, present, and future based off a little sand!

After eating some lunch, which I appreciated much more after Britt Florio’s talk on UMass’ sustainability initiatives, we learned about the fascinating world of biomedical research. Dr. Wilmore Webley astonished us with the latest in stem cell research and Dr. Michele Markstein added some welcomed humor in her discussion on fruit fly research. Who knew those pesky flies around my wine are helping discover the latest anti-cancer drugs (and carry 14,000 genes?!).

Overall, I feel this was an invaluable opportunity for me to learn about the profession from librarians with a range of experience. I genuinely enjoyed all of the conversations I had and the people I met at boot camp. You are hard working professionals and I admire your passion and drive to make information as easily accessible as possible to those seeking it. Thanks again for allowing me the opportunity to attend the boot camp this year!

—– Nicole Alarie —–


For more about this Science Bootcamp or upcoming event, please visit this year’s website, or contact anyone in the NNLM NER office.

Image of the author ABOUT Martha Meacham
Associate Director of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, New England Region

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NNLM New England Region
University of Massachusetts Medical School
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This has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012347 with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

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