A Year in Review: Perspectives from an Undergraduate Researcher

Hi! I’m Elaine Alberts, I am an undergraduate research assistant in the Parks Lab. I have been a part of the lab for just over a year, and it has been one of the most fun and eye-opening experiences of my entire life.

When I sat down for a meeting with Dr. Parks on a sunny afternoon last February; working in a research lab hadn’t even crossed my mind. A week later I was dipping my toes into research for the first time. My first hands-on research experience was working in the “cricket room” with Gryllus bimaculatus and Teleogryllus Oceanicus. I have always been TERRIFIED of insects, so needless to say, my first couple of weeks working in the cricket room were pretty comical.

I began to learn the basics of bioacoustics, and about research as a career. Working in Parks Lab has given me countless opportunities, including spending a semester at Stony Brook Southampton focusing my studies on different research projects centered around marine ecology.

female researcher looking at jar, male researcher looking at papers

As cheesy as it may sound, working in research has given me the chance to do a lot of soul searching and has helped direct my focus onto my career goals.

A year ago, I had absolutely no clue what I wanted to be when I grew up. After one year of being fostered by the Parks Lab, I know that I want to help ensure sustainable marine conservation practices via policy. Although I will probably not be a researcher forever, I have an incredible amount of respect for scientists who ask tough questions, and help us understand our world. I look forward to helping bridge the gap between science and reliable policy, and continuing to collaborate with scientists as a part of my job. This journey of self-discovery would not have been possible without the constant support of the Parks Lab, especially Dr. Parks and Julia Dombroski.