Tag Archives: Science and Technology

Tech Virtual Career Fair: Aug 16-20

During the Tech VCF, students interested in coding and programming will have the opportunity to connect with employers in the finance and consulting industries for technical roles.

Tech VCF updated colorways

Cool what’s next? Students with demonstrable coding skills & majors in Computer Science, Engineering, and Math should sign up for Tech VCF with the button below. Details about the Tech VCF speakers and schedule of sessions releases the week of August 9.
Opt-In for Tech VCF

Article: Bezos’ Rocket Company Loses Challenge to NASA SpaceX Moon Contract

By Kenneth Chang and Catie Edmondson, July 30, 2021

Jeff Bezos’ rocket company carried him to the edge of space last week. But it won’t be flying NASA astronauts to the moon’s surface, at least for now.

The Government Accountability Office on Friday rejected protests challenging NASA’s decision to go with just one spacecraft lander design for its return of astronauts to the moon, a $2.9 billion award that went to Elon Musk’s rocket company, SpaceX.

The competition for the contracts was seen as a battle of billionaires between Mr. Musk and Mr. Bezos, the founder of Amazon who also started a rocket company, Blue Origin. A third company, Dynetics, a defense contractor in Huntsville, Ala., was also competing for the contract.

In a twist, the loss of the protest may actually help Blue Origin. If the G.A.O. had upheld the protest, NASA may have had to redo the competition, which seeks a system that can take astronauts from lunar orbit to the surface of the moon and back. Redoing the competition would most likely have taken months.

NASA officials can now decide whether to take up Mr. Bezos on an offer he made in an open letter to Bill Nelson, the NASA administrator, on Monday: to effectively slice $2 billion off the $6 billion proposal from Blue Origin, which collaborated with Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.

When the competition was announced, NASA officials said they wanted more than one design to ensure both competition and redundancy in case one of the companies stumbled.

Middlebury Summer Research Spotlight: Emma’s Stream Ecology Experience

What are you doing this summer?

This summer I am working in Eric Moody’s lab as a stream ecology research assistant. Our lab is working in conjunction with Molly Costanza-Robinson’s lab here at Midd and several other institutions in 3 different states on a project called STOICH which is examining the ecological stoichiometric relationships in inland freshwater ecosystems across the US. 

How did you find your position?

My position started in the spring semester and then continued on through the summer. I took two classes with my current boss, Eric Moody, in the fall and spring semesters, Aquatic Ecology and Biostats. He sent out a flyer in the spring to people who had been in his classes, and other biology students, looking for people interested in joining this new project and working in his lab. I applied, interviewed, and then started working in the spring semester! 

What does your typical work day look like? How often do you work? 

I work the classic 9-5 (shoutout Dolly Parton). I have two kinds of typical workdays. Most days, I work in the lab looking at samples from different sites across the US. Most of my time on lab days is spent at the microscope identifying aquatic invertebrates (essentially insects, small clams, and the occasional snail). Once we identify them, we dry the insects and then process them to figure out how much phosphorus is in them. When we’re not in the lab, we work in the field doing different things. Some field days we go and collect invertebrate samples in Vermont streams. Other days we go to a pond on campus and do projects there. Field days are always a ton of fun because they’re very hands-on and we get to swim a lot of the time. 

What do you do in your free time? What is Middlebury like in the summer? 

Middlebury in the summer is amazing. I really cannot recommend it enough. The weather is beautiful and having no homework means you can go adventuring or hang out with friends after work. I spend most of my time with my housemates. We love to play games and go swimming. We also like to sample all the different cremees. 

Internship Highlight: Brett Gilman, 2024.5 – Ecotype Project Intern at the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut

“I am constantly surprised and enthralled by nature’s unending ability to amaze. This summer, I am interning at the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut, where my work is specifically focused on the Ecotype Project, an initiative working to create sources of truly local native wildflowers in Ecoregion 59 by sustainably harvesting and growing wild-collected seed. Ever since I first learned of the Ecotype Project back in my senior year of high school, I have been absolutely dedicated to native plants and pollinators. They are my passion. This internship has provided me with the opportunity to delve deeper into that passion by learning from the best. My task is to meet and interview many of the key stakeholders (farmers, nurserymen, botanists, non-profit organizations) that are involved in the initiative to learn from them how they do what they do. This will allow us to make protocols for each stakeholder archetype as the Ecotype Project builds this movement towards a replicable model. 

Each week, scientists from the Connecticut Agricultural Station visit the home-base farm for the Ecotype Project. At this farm, rows of 200 individuals per wildflower species are grown to create living seed banks. The scientists perform pollinator surveys on these plots each week as they bloom throughout the year, and I had the opportunity to shadow them and help them with their study last week. The most fascinating thing I learned was about an observation we made as we watched the luminescent pink blooms of Swamp Milkweed. We watched a miniscule one-millimeter hoverfly circle the bloom, bouncing from leaf to leaf, but never going for nectar. This was extraordinary, in the original sense of the word. After wild bees like bumblebees, flies are the most important pollinator group. A few days later, I was sitting on my front step watching the new blooms of my Black-Eyed Susans when a hoverfly appeared. It circled the bloom, bouncing between the leaves of abutting plants. And I watched it and followed it and photographed it. All of a sudden, a female hoverfly landed on the bloom. The two became entangled, and they zoomed off to a nearby leaf. At that moment, I realized I had just observed the behavior that the scientist had explained to me back at the Swamp Milkweed. Male hoverflies emerge earlier than the females, and they employ a mating strategy called patrolling that involves circling new blooms and waiting for females. I was absolutely fascinated, and quite thrilled that this extraordinary event had taken place right outside my door, all because I had planted the right plant in the right place, had opted not for ornamental and sterile traditional plants, but instead for native plants fit for these majestic wild pollinators.”

Internship Highlight: Cindy Cardona, 2022 – Animal Care Intern at the Niabi Zoo

What surprises you the most about your work experience?

I was surprised to see how involved zookeepers are in the lives of the animals they care for. It’s beautiful seeing how developed the relationships between them are. The animals even recognize the zookeepers’ voices, granted it could be because they associate it with food, but I’d like to believe it goes beyond that too.

What helped you to prepare for success during the internship and what are you most proud of achieving?

Communication and research were extremely helpful in my preparation, whether it was asking my supervisor questions before beginning the internship or looking into the company’s website for information. I am most proud of how capable I have been of providing proper animal husbandry to a variety of different animals. Summer internships are not very long so I am especially prideful of all that I have learned so far.

How are you developing personally and professionally throughout the internship?

This internship has allowed me to have hands-on experience with animals and develop various professional relationships. It has also provided me with a great deal of confidence and clarity in my future career decisions.

Do you have any advice for future interns?

It’s easy to doubt your abilities and compare yourself to other students, however, you were picked for a reason. Prove to your supervisors and to yourself that they were right in choosing your application out of the many that they received.

Go back to the Internship Stories.