The conclusion of the 2018 STARTNOW summer internship

It has been a long and hectic summer, and finally it is just about wrapping up.  It is now time to spend the final summer party days, and organize for the upcoming regular academic activities in Fall 2018.

At this time, just about all of our 2018 STARTNOW student interns have completed their Research-based Summer Internship or Professional-based Summer Internship.   In the Research-based summer internship, three students, Alexandra, Cristina and Crystal went on a two-week academic agricultural-environmental tour of Costa Rica, staying at various places locales including Texas A&M Soltis Center in San Isidro.  Dr. Martínez and I, each spent part of our time on the trip, and along with other professors from University of Texas El Paso, Texas A&M Kingsville, and Florida International Univeristy, shared some of our experiences, ideas, thoughts, and …yes frustrations with the students.  At the same time, three students from each of the mentioned universities formed an excellent group of students whom got to know each other and the faculty both on an academic and personal level.  This is a great group of students whom I hope will continue their professional and personal networking.  I thank the Soltis Center staff, especially Dr. Eugenio González, Dr. Ronald Vargas, and Francisco (Chico) for all of their attentions at Soltis; it’s not easy to host 12 teenager and other crazy professors.  After two years visiting Costa Rica, saying good-by to all those good people (especially Sandro, our designated driver and good friend) is starting to get difficult.  Alexandra continued her summer internship at USDA-ARS National Laboratory in Beltsville, MD, under the direction of Dr. Jude Maul.  Cristina, completed her summer internship at the Molecular Science Research Center under the direction of Dr. Carlos Cabrera.  Crystal participated in the NEON program, under the direction of Agro. Yamil Toro.

The professional-based internship program group was also very successful.  Alejandro completed his internship under the direction of Agro. Samuel Ríos, in the USDA-NRCS Caribbean Area Soil Survey Division.  Elvin worked at the USDA-Forest Service in Rio Piedras.  Sofía carried out her internship, also at the USDA-ARS National Laboratory in Beltsville, MD.  Mariangeli, completed her internship at USDA-ARS-TARS in Mayagüez, rotating under their different programs.

We will have monthly activities for these interns, and hopefully they will collaborate in an research/observational project and collaborate with other graduate students in my laboratory, until December 2018.

Congratulations to all of the 2018 STARTNOW interns for a successful summer program completion.

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