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Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program

Aaron Berdanier

Aaronnow

What Summer did you participate in the K-State REU Program: 2006

Highest Degree Earned: M.S. in Ecology, Colorado State University, 2010

Current Position: PhD Student Duke at the University supported by NSF GRF

Website

Photos: Now (right)

Briefly describe your REU research project. 
I increased soil nitrogen inputs via pulsed (one time, large) and pressed (reoccurring, small) additions and examined how these treatments influenced soil and plant nitrogen concentrations throughout the summer.

What did you learn from this REU project?
 
I learned about the logistics of designing a field experiment and analyzing data. This was the first time I graphed and analyzed a large data set that I collected, and I learned about the value and challenges of dealing with field data.

What was the best thing you remember about your summer in Manhattan, KS? 
Going to the Little Apple Brewing Company every week with the other REU students, and watching a thunderstorm one night on the Konza Prairie from the REU van.

Briefly describe how the REU influenced your development as biologist
My REU introduced me to a wide range of biological topics and was my first experience doing actual ecological field research. The excitement that I felt after plotting my data and learning new knowledge that no one else knew changed my life direction.

Did your experience in the REU significantly influence your career goals?  If so, how? 
Yes, my experience in the REU convinced me that I wanted to pursue a career in scientific research. The connections that I made in my REU helped me make a decision about graduate school and opened up opportunities that I wouldn't have had otherwise.

Did you publish or present your REU research?  If so please provide the details.  
I presented the results at a regional undergraduate conference, the 2006 Midstates Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Biological Sciences and Psychology.