Crooked Creek White Mountains Research Station

July 11 – 19, 2016

By Andrea Calderon
St. Edwards College
August 9, 2016

I was initially introduced to the Doris Duke Conservation Scholarship Internship by a professor at my university, Professor Peter Beck. Professor Beck personally knew about my passion for conservation and sustainable development after having been my instructor on a course that focused on human impacts on the environment and the many unprecedented consequences. This class helped me define my dream job: to help develop impoverished areas sustainably with green energy as a sole source. I was unfathomably pleased when I was accepted as a Doris Duke Conservation Scholar for the opportunity it provided to get hands-on experience in the field of conservation. Even though field research isn’t precisely what I want to do, the knowledge and skills I have gained are complimentary to the career I will pursue.

Calderon

Andrea Calderon ’19

The White Mountains Research Station was a personal favorite location for me. The scenery was breathtakingly beautiful with mountain ranges that carried on for miles and jaw-dropping sunrises that illuminated their presence. The research I conducted here was equally thrilling. I had the opportunity to collect data on Pinus longaeva, also known as, bristlecone pine trees. I hypothesized that global warming had a direct effect on bristlecone pine tree habitat. The data I collected displayed the presence of more seedlings at higher altitudes. The results supported my theory that there is an elevation shift upward of the bristlecone habitat. Between having the opportunity to do research on the worlds oldest living organisms and my unforgettable early morning hiking excursions, the time I spent at the White Mountains will remain in my fondest memories as a Doris Duke Scholar.

Prior to this internship, I had never designed a research study, much less conducted one. However, after five weeks of hands-on experience and intense immersion at varying research stations, I have gained invaluable skills and knowledge on the research process as a whole. However, being a Doris Duke Scholar has done much more than teach me these skills, it has connected me with 19 other individuals who are equally passionate to bring diversity into the field of conservation. As a part of the 2016 Doris Duke Cohort, I am confident that the skills we have attained will be essential in our attempts to bring diversity into to the world of conservation. Endlessly, we will pursue to attain diverse cultural inclusion as a main priority in our attempts to “make the world a better place and have fun doing it”.