EWU McNair Scholar Lucia Roussa worked with Dr. Julie Keister of the University of Washington School of Oceanography on her Summer Research Internship project, Measuring from the Sky: Methods to Quantify Moon Jellyfish (Aurelia labiata) Using Aerial Photographs, in collaboration with CICOES. She contributed to research on the effect that climate change is having on jellyfish populations in the Puget Sound ecosystem. Specifically, she worked on the development of a protocol that can be followed by any researcher using image processing to collect data.
The first week of her internship, which began with remote work, included a coding bootcamp. While initially concerned about her ability to master this new skill, Lucy ultimately learned not to be afraid of something new and challenging. She came away confident that she can learn anything – a great lesson to take with her to grad school.
The last week of Lucy’s internship was in person, aboard the research vessel Rachel Carson in Seattle, which required a quarantine before sailing. For six days, Lucy and the research team conducted laboratory and field work involving Moon Jellyfish sampling.
Lucy was one of only 13 interns selected for this project. She credits her participation in the EWU McNair Scholars program for encouraging her to apply for this opportunity, and for assistance along the way with application feedback and time management support.
Lucy hopes her research and leadership in her field will come to have a global impact.
Any biological research expands our database of knowledge we have about how the world works.
Lucy encourages undergraduates interested in STEM research to remember that they are probably more qualified and competitive than they may think, and reminds them not to disqualify themselves before they have applied for an opportunity! She says that getting involved with research was a game-changer that shaped her pursuit of science. Experience in the field and in the lab helped her develop a clearer sense of what kind of work she wants to pursue as a future graduate student and beyond.