The summer is a great time for students to become involved at the Mid-Florida Research and Education Center (MREC). Megan Killer, a senior at UF, is a biology and sustainability major. Taking her final class online before she graduates in August, Megan has also been gaining some final research experience.
“I’ve always passed by MREC and wanted to know what was going on. I had some research experience in the past, but it didn’t convince me to go down a research path. I decided to try one more time and reached out hoping to get more experience,” Megan says. With her last class being online, she had some time at home and was close to MREC.
She has been interning alongside Dr. Pearson as a research assistant. During this time she has been helping with three different projects. The first project is helping a Ph.D. student conduct research on butterfly pea used as a tea. Adding acid to the tea leads to a change in color, so it acts as an indicator. The next is with fennel and light concentrations needed for growth. Lastly is research on a medicinal plant and testing concentrations.
She also checks on all of the plants’ general care daily and takes measurements of over 100 plants. It will sometimes take all day to record all the measurements.
One of her best days during her internship was after they finished fertilizing all the plants on a particularly hot day. To cool down, they took a ride on the golf cart around the property.
“That was one moment that will stick with me, although I’ve enjoyed all my days here. There was never a time where I really felt like I wanted to go home,” Megan recalls.
“I am definitely more open to research now. Although I don’t see it as an end goal in my career, I am able to consider more schooling to eventually end up as a professor. I still need more experience, but feel like I can handle graduate school now,” Megan states. She is taking some time off school to travel, but thanks to her time at MREC feels comfortable to eventually return to a research setting.