Hi all! My name is Catherine Zhou and I am one of the high school interns in the Field Museum's DNA Research Summer Residency. I will be a senior at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools in the fall of 2012. I was so excited when I found out about this program because 1) you get to explore the world of DNA, the very thing that connects all life on Earth, and 2) you get to work at the Field Museum! What could be more awesome than that? Science has always held a special place in my heart becuase I always loved knowing the "why" and "how". Why do we look the way we look? How are we similar to bats, squirrels, lizards, etc.? Why is it that we walk on two legs whereas primates walk on all four? The answer to all those questions lie in (drumroll, please)... science! With science, we are able to solve innumerable questions about life. I never quite realized this before this program, but after thinking about the vast diversity of life forms on Earth, we humans are such a small part of this world. Living in the city, I often forget that there are other living organisms out there besides dogs, cats, rodents, cockroaches, and weeds. This program has really taught me more than I have ever imagined and it's a blast too! Never is there a quiet moment in the lab (there is either techno music playing or buzzers going off..and other strange things).
Working alongside me is Audrey Putman, another high school intern, and Anna Simpson, a high school science teacher. Together, we are conducting research as part of a larger project currently going on called the Emerging Pathogens Project. We are working with samples from rodents collected from Africa. To learn more about what we do in the lab, Audrey and I, along with two other high school interns, have written an iBook available to download onto your ipad!