Friday, October 25, 2013

Undergraduate Research Fellowship Spotlight: Wil Chapple

Each semester, Wyoming EPSCoR selects and funds 20 or more Undergraduate Research Fellowships. These fellowships are excellent opportunities for students to gain quality experience in research, to prepare for graduate programs, and obtain practical knowledge. Throughout the next few weeks, our blog will be highlighting various students participating in the EPSCoR Undergraduate Research Fellowships program.

Wil Chapple
Wil Chapple, a senior in the Rangeland Ecology and Watershed Management department is studying water and isotopes.

“I’m tracing water through the ecosystem in the Snowy Range,” says Wil. “And also, how the glacial history that helped shape the Snowies has affected the soils that similar ecosystems rely on.”

To trace the water, Wil is using various research methods to collect data.

“I’ve been collecting soil samples and taking isotope measures of the water in the Snowies,” says Wil. “I’m looking to see if there are similar isotopic signatures in certain depths of the soil.”

Wil has been working in the Stable Isotope Facility for three semesters. His faculty mentor is Dr. David Williams, a professor in the Departments of Botany and Ecosystem Science and Management and Team Lead in WyCEHG.

“I’m lucky to get a lot of support and help from Dave and fellow grad students,” says Wil. “I’m really thankful for that!”

Through his fellowship, Wil has gained many valuable experiences, but a few things stand out above the rest.

“I’ve gotten a glimpse into what graduate school would be like,” says Wil. “I’ve also learned what it takes to do good science. I’ve learned a lot of patience.”

By: Robin E. Rasmussen
Photo courtesy of Wil Chapple

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