Friday, December 13, 2013

Undergraduate Research Fellowship Spotlight: Andrea Alvarez

Each semester, Wyoming EPSCoR selects and funds twenty or more Undergraduate Research Fellowships. These fellowships are excellent opportunities for students to gain quality experience in research, prepare for graduate programs, and obtain practical knowledge.

As a Petroleum Engineering student at the University ofWyoming, Andrea Alvarez was interested in the relationship between water with oil and gas extraction.

Andrea Alvarez
This interest led her to Dr. Ginger Paige, a professor in Ecosystem Science & Management at UW. As an EPSCoR Undergraduate Fellow, Andrea has the opportunity to study and conduct research under the direction of Ginger.

“I’m studying water quality analysis on the Wind River Indian Reservation,” says Andrea. “When people think of petroleum, they don’t really think of water, they think of oil and gas. But in reality, they’re very closely related.”

Although she’s conducting research in a field different from petroleum engineering, Andrea has enjoyed the challenge.

“The most challenging part is the fact that I don’t know much about water quality,” she says. “I came in from a totally different field. But it’s shown me my strengths and weaknesses when it comes to working in a field that I don’t know.”

Throughout her time as a fellow, Andrea has learned a lot about water quality, but she’s also learned about herself and the world around her.

“Doing this really gave me a better idea of what grad school would be like,” Andrea says. “It showed me where I would be lacking and where I would have advantages. It kind of just broadened my horizons overall.”

For other students thinking about applying for fellowships, Andrea encourages others to give it a shot.

“Get out of your comfort zone,” she says. “Try everything once.”

By Robin Rasmussen 
Photo courtesy of Andrea Alvarez

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