Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Faces of SRAP: Blandon Su, Emily Oaxaca, and Kim Barrios

The Summer Research Apprentice Program has officially come to a close, but we will still be featuring a few SRAP participants on our blog! Stay tuned!

Blandon Su, Emily Oaxaca and Kim Barrios have spent their time at SRAP studying in the Ecosystem Science and Management department with professors Ginger Paige and Scott Miller.

“They got an introduction into a whole bunch of field hydrology and geophysics the first week,” said Dr. Paige. “They were in the field a lot.”

Emily (left), Blandon (middle), and Kimberly Barrios (right)
conduct field research
After their time in the field, Blandon, Emily and Kim each came up with a different research project to complete.

Blandon, a junior from Chicago, Illinois chose to study a stream, saying “My project is investigating a stream at Blair-Wallis. It’s funny, because one day, there’s a lot of water in the stream, and the day after, it’s starting to lose water, so my project is really open-ended.”

Understanding how water gets to the stream, and where it goes when it leaves the stream is a question that has long puzzled scientists.

“The great part about Blandon’s project is that it’s one of those hydrologic conundrums where we have to look at multiple avenues of investigation to figure out what’s going on,” Dr. Paige explained. “One approach doesn’t necessarily give you the right answer, you have to do this multiple times and figure out the complexities of what’s going on within the system.”

Emily, a junior from Denver, Colorado is working on a project that includes her fellow SRAP participants.

“I’m going to interview my fellow SRAP students about their thoughts and opinions on climate change,” she says. “I want to learn if it depends on gender, or age, or other factors.”

Emily hopes to become a better researcher in her time at SRAP, and wants to understand how different factors can influence people’s perceptions.

“I want to learn how to ask the right questions,” she says. “I hope to learn how to get better at talking to people.”

Kim, a recent high school graduate from Rawlins, Wyoming chose to examine rainfall and soil moisture.

“I’m measuring soil moisture and rainfall,” she says. “I’m also comparing different types of rain gauges and moisture sensors, to see which ones are more appropriate for different uses.”

Kim’s research will help WyCEHG scientists better understand the capabilities and limitations of the equipment they use.

Kim has decided to attend the University of Wyoming in the fall to pursue a degree in Architectural Engineering. Both Blandon and Emily plan to attend college after they graduate from high school, although neither has decided what they would like to study.

SRAP is a six-week, intensive research program for high school students. It is based at the University of Wyoming and is sponsored by Wyoming EPSCoR. For more information about the program, click here, or search “SRAP” in the archives.

By Robin Rasmussen
Photo courtesy of Dr. Ginger Paige

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