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Meet Our Past Interns

Sustainability

Project:
Communications Intern at Regional Community Forest Training
Organization/Location:
Regional Community Forest Training (RECOFTC), Bangkok, Thailand
Adviser(s):


In this internship, I helped develop strategic communications materials for RECOFTC, an environmental non-profit based in Bangkok.  In developing these materials, I visited rural, community forestry villages where RECOFTC programs were active and interviewed local residents.  I compiled my research into brochures and into the organization's annual report.  My work also assisted in the production of a marketing video.

Project:
Effects of Climate Change on Coral Reproduction and Recruitment
Organization/Location:
Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS), Bermuda
Adviser(s):
Dr. Samantha de Putron, BIOS

This summer I worked in the de Putron Lab at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences studying the impacts of global warming, specifically ocean acidification and increased ocean temperature, on coral reproduction and recruitment. Previous studies have documented the repercussions on adult coral, namely decreased skeletal calcification and increased bleaching, but little research has been conducted on the effects on young coral. I also looked at whether the addition of nutrients could potentially offset the stress on the coral caused by these conditions. To do this, I collected adult corals from the reef and gathered the larvae they released. I then raised the young coral recruits under combinations of decreased pH, increased temperature, and elevated nutrient levels to determine what effect predicted climate change and nutrient supplementation might have on the viability of young coral.Although thorough analysis of coral growth and health under each condition is pending completion, this study has already shown that impending climate change will likely seriously endanger the success of coral recruits, which in turn threatens the long term survival of coral reefs.

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Project:
The Importance of Native Species
Organization/Location:
D&R Greenway Land Trust, Princeton, NJ
Adviser(s):


This summer I worked mainly in the removal of invasive species from D&R Greenway's nature preserves. We targeted plants such as multiflora rose, purple loosestrife, and ailanthus (among many others) and employed various eradication methods, including cut-stump herbicide application, hack-and-drip herbicide application, and even the release of biocontrol beetles, in conjunction with the NJ department of agriculture. I worked alongside my two bosses, fellow intern, volunteer groups, and on one occasion helped to lead volunteers from a corporate group, as well as participated in actions under the auspices of the Central New Jersey invasive species strike team. Along with these main duties, I spent one to two days a week working in D&R Greenway’s Native Plant Nursery, where they grow NJ native plants in part of a comprehensive land rehabilitation strategy, re-planting natives in areas where invasives have been removed. I worked, as well, in a D&R Greenway park in Bordentown, and Trenton’s Cadwalader Park, removing invasives and landscaping for public use. In the final month of my internship, I created a website for the Native Plant Nursery in order to raise awareness about the importance of native plants as well as promote the biannual plant sales that the organization will be holding as a fundraiser.

Project:
Using the Past to Preserve the Future–The Role of Archives in the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation
Organization/Location:
National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC
Adviser(s):
Gary Krupnick, National Museum of Natural History

The National Herbarium, housed at the National Museum of Natural History, contains approximately five million plant specimens. Currently, only a fraction of these specimens has been electronically catalogued, an important step in much of the research that is currently being done there. The project I worked on this summer was concerned with using the herbarium's collection, once digitized, to expedite the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation’s goal of having a preliminary conservation assessment for all plant species by 2010. To accomplish this, an algorithm was developed by my advisor and his colleagues that uses the historical data present in the herbarium to determine current species abundance. The number of specimens in the collection, along with when and where they were collected, is used to filter each species into one of three categories: not threatened, possibly threatened, or extinct. By creating these rough distinctions this approach has the potential to more efficiently determine which species may be at risk and require the attention of conservationists. My role in the project was to prepare the herbarium's collection of West Indian Poaceae for analysis by digitizing the relevant information. During my ten weeks at the museum I was able to catalogue approximately 3,500 specimens. While this was only a portion of the herbarium’s West Indian Poaceae and the digitization of the family will have to be completed before it can be used, I am pleased to have spent my summer positively contributing to an effort that may improve global plant conservation practices.

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Project:
Field and Lab Research Technician in Environmental Science
Organization/Location:
PEI, Princeton, NJ
Adviser(s):
Eileen Zerba

My internship project focused on monitoring water quality and ecological balance across the University and within the surrounding Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed, especially Lake Carnegie.  Specifically, my project investigated how land use changes, driven by the Campus and Sustainability Master plans, will impact the biological, chemical, and physical characteristics, and, thereby health, of Lake Carnegie and the surrounding watershed, especially the Washington Road Stream. Particular emphasis was placed on determining the input point sources of fecal coliform bacteria such as E. coli by monitoring their levels at Carnegie Lake sites.  The project concluded with an EPA-set level of confidence that E. coli levels were unsafe for primary recreation activities such as swimming.  Another project involved investigating whether the variation of zooplankton across lake sites reflects the relative concentrations of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus, and, thereby, the nutrient preferences of the phytoplankton upon which they subsist, which fall roughly but not uniformly around the Redfield ratio of 106 C:16 N:1 P.

Project:
Provisioning Ecosystem Services in UNESCO Biosphere Reserves
Organization/Location:
United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, Paris, France
Adviser(s):
Alan Mann

Ecosystem services play an important role in multiple aspects of human wellbeing from providing people with such vital materials as food and water, to producing a healthy physical environment and a place for good social relations, to helping people feel secure and promoting freedom of choice and action. Services, such as the capacity of the soil to purify water, the contribution of pollinators to angiosperm reproduction and crop yield, and the role that pristine natural landscapes play in cultural or religious traditions, have been considered free for centuries. Such a perception unfortunately permits the unregulated exploitation of many natural resources. Increasing pressures from human development require innovative solutions that promote the sustainable use of ecosystem services and the use of alternative sources of income for communities which depend on degraded services for their livelihood. UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, as “living laboratories” for sustainable development, are particularly suited to innovative ecosystem service management approaches. Unfortunately, biosphere reserve management committees and stakeholders are often not aware of ecosystem services or how to preserve them. My assignment as an intern for The Man and the Biosphere Program was to create a database of ecosystem service management approaches undertaken in biosphere reserves so far, as to ultimately create a collection of case studies that could provide valuable examples for biosphere reserve management worldwide. Through various methods of research, mainly reading publications, online documentation, and consulting experts in the field, I assembled case studies from across the world, with a particular focus on Payment for Ecosystem Service (PES) schemes. Pulling together detailed management-oriented examples from biosphere reserves that describe mechanisms for dialogue, stakeholders, payment mechanisms, costs and benefits, etc…, my project aimed to present very accessible guidelines to using ecosystem services in a holistic management approach in biosphere reserves,  so as to simultaneously preserve the environment and promote sustainable development.

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Project:
Lunar Periodicity and Reproductive Ecology of the Coral Porites Astreoides
Organization/Location:
Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS), Bermuda
Adviser(s):
Dr. Samantha de Putron, BIOS

I was one of two PEI interns in the lab of Dr. Samantha de Putron, a coral ecologist at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences.  I worked with Julia Lawson, a returning intern in the de Putron lab from Dalhousie University, on a project focused on the lunar timing of the reproduction of Porites astreoides, a reef-building coral native to Bermuda.  We collected adult colonies from two hand-picked sites, where the reef is exposed to very different light and sedimentation levels.  Over two lunar cycles in July and August, we observed the reproductive cycle of these colonies by counting the number of larvae released by each colony each night.  We sought to discover relationships between several variables and the lunar timing of release, including the size of the larvae, the size and growth rates of spat (the new coral polyps into which the larvae develop), and the density in the larvae of zooxanthellae (the photosynthesizing, single-celled symbionts that allow coral to derive energy from sunlight). A major focus of our experiment was to study differences in the reproductive strategies of corals from reefs subjected to different sets of conditions, to gain insight into the potential for coral reefs to adapt to the increasingly changing ocean ecosystem.  Dr. de Putron plans on incorporating our results into a paper to be submitted for publication.  In addition to the chance to work on such a fascinating research topic, this internship has granted me the opportunity to explore the beautiful island of Bermuda, to learn to SCUBA dive, and to live and work in the unique and exciting intellectual community at BIOS.

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Project:
A Green Summer in Princeton–Sustainability and Dining Services
Organization/Location:
Dining Services, Princeton University
Adviser(s):
Stu Orefice, Dining Services

My internship revolved around two main components. First, I tracked the sustainability of Dining Services purchases over the past year, in an effort to increase the amount of sustainable purchasing for the next year. In addition, I visited local farms that Dining Services receives food from, and created short videos, which will soon be up on the Dining Services website, in addition to a map showing all of the local providers Dining Services purchases from.

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Project:
Detecting Human Fecal Pollution in Bermuda
Organization/Location:
Bermuda Institute of Oceanic Sciences (BIOS), Bermuda
Adviser(s):
Rachel Parsons, Bermuda Institute of Oceanic Sciences

My project is about using molecular methods to detect human fecal pollution in Bermuda's Coastal waters.  We use a human-specific primer for a PCR reaction that only amplifies DNA from a bacteria called Bacteroides Prevotella that lives in the human gut.  If this DNA is detected in water samples from around Bermuda, that indicates there is fecal pollution in the water from sewage outfalls or boreholes particularly contributed by human waste.

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Project:
"Greening" Jishou–Summer of Service
Organization/Location:
Princeton in Asia, China
Adviser(s):
Kai Evenson, Princeton in Asia

Summer of Service is a program sponsored by Princeton in Asia that sends12 Princeton undergraduates to Jishou, a small city in Hunan Province, China. For six weeks every summer, Princeton students teach an intensive English immersion course to Chinese college students on the campus of Jishou Teacher's College. Most of our students are from the surrounding countryside, and almost all of them are studying to be English teachers. For many of the students, their Princeton teachers are the first native English speakers with whom they have had an opportunity to converse. This summer, with help from PEI, the teachers sponsored a "Jishou Earth Day", during which each class gave a presentation on the environment, ranging from local water pollution to art projects made of trash to songs about the environment (inspired by a lesson on Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi"). On Earth Day, we also gave each student a tote bag made from recycled materials. In the classroom throughout the summer, the students also learned about environmental issues ranging from Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" and the dawning of the American environmental movement to the dangers and benefits of ecotourism. Midway through the program, building on the work of Lisa Kelley (last year's SOS student leader), we administered an environmental survey that helped us learn more about our students' attitudes toward the environment in Jishou and China as a whole. Finally, we also offered a handful of students environmental scholarships that will allow them to carry out an environmentally-themed project in Jishou or their hometown during the coming months.

Project:
Web-Based Solutions to Biodiversity: The Encyclopedia of Life
Organization/Location:
Encyclopedia of Life, Washington, DC
Adviser(s):


At the Encyclopedia of Life, I served as the Science Writing Intern. My main task was to draft articles about EOL for other publications. I also spent a significant amount of time working on our quarterly newsletter, EOLetter. I also maintained a media database, keeping track of each time Encyclopedia of Life was mentioned in a news publication anywhere in the world. Lastly, I performed general office tasks. At the Trust for Public Land, I worked for both the Center for Land and Water and the Center for City Park Excellence. For the Center for Land and Water, I drafted case study reports of our Greenprinting projects for brochures and other publications. I also drafted responses to RFP’s and RFQ’s for open space plans. Lastly, I researched upcoming projects and assessed their viability. For the Center for City Park Excellence, I conducted research on community gardening, and verified the accuracy of our recent Parks survey.

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Project:
Environmental Challenges and Sustainable Solutions for Protecting Water Resources
Organization/Location:
PEI, Princeton University
Adviser(s):
Eileen Zerba

The project focuses on improving water quality and ecological balance across the University and within an entire watershed, with its center, Lake Carnegie. Two central questions provide the framework for this project: First, how will land use changes, driven by the Campus and Sustainability Master plans, impact the biological, chemical, and physical characteristics, e.g. health, of 1) Lake Carnegie and the regional watershed; 2) natural habitats surrounding the lake; and 3) landscapes within campus? Second, how might this information influence the University’s implementation of sustainable practices and environmental policies, e.g. reduction in energy footprint, in the future? The initial phases of this project will track the impact of three major campus sustainability initiatives on the health of Lake Carnegie: 1) restoration and extension of streams, 2) enhancement of forested and wetland areas, and 3) storm-water run-off and energy balance of Butler College green roofs. In the third phase of the project, sensors were installed in the green roofs. Temperatures readings of ground surfaces and roof surfaces across campus are compared to determine their contribution to the urban heat island effect.

Project:
Caribbean Environmental Health Institute
Organization/Location:
Caribbean Environmental Health Institute, Saint Lucia
Adviser(s):
Luisa Silva-Duarte

Tasks at the Caribbean Environmental Health Institute were varied: interns helped log information gathered by CEHI researchers via Access, assisted lab staff in routine testing of resort waters against recreational standards, summarized lengthy documents for online abstracts, and hiked the Fond d’Or watershed with St Lucia Forestry Department staff to locate sources of pollution. A common activity in both routine testing and field work in the watershed was water quality testing for pH, temperature, chlorine, dissolved oxygen, microbial contamination and other sources of pollution; the lab procedures were explained the first weeks of the internship, and reinforced in the field. Office work required some proficiency with the MS Office Suite (Word, Excel, Access) but also provided skills in database manipulation and in executive summary creation. Finally, the organization staff made it very easy to learn more about the culture and ecology of the island, including an overnight turtle-watching trip on the eastern coast and a day hike through the rainforest.

Project:
Gandhian Development
Organization/Location:
Gandhian Development, India
Adviser(s):


I composed a status report on social, economic, and environmental development in village called Bed, in rural Rajasthan. I made six trips to the field over seven weeks, interviewing NGO workers and local villagers through a translator about the status and impact of projects like communal pasture lands, water and soil conservation, womens empowerment, youth centers, and common village funds. I established relationships with some zonal workers and local villagers that allowed me to also ask about deeper social issues like the caste system. What resulted was a comprehensive overview of Bed village that will help the organization understand the area more and move on towards future development projects.

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Project:
Junior Project Researcher
Organization/Location:
Cusco, Peru
Adviser(s):


My project revolved around establishing a baseline of our clientele with which we could base the progress of our educational programs on in the future. To establish this baseline, I oversaw a team of surveyors who worked out in the field performing hour long surveys. Also, I was in charge of putting together a method to digitize the communal bank and client information. With over 1200 banks in the Cusco region, the digitizing project was a big undertaking and involved a lot of collaborating and coordinating with others.

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Project:
Bioversity International, Magazine Intern
Organization/Location:
Bioversity International, Rome, Italy
Adviser(s):


I worked for Bioversity International, an international research and advocacy organization committed to agricultural biodiversity.  My job was content development and editing for the organization's yearly publication, Geneflow.

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Project:
Harmonizing the Practice of Ocean Observation
Organization/Location:
Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, Paris, France
Adviser(s):


My internship was with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) in Paris, France. I spent the first 3 weeks credentialing and ensuring a quorum of member state representatives at the GOOS and IOC general assemblies. I also assisted with writing the reports for both conferences. I spent the next 5 weeks learning PHP and SQL - web programming languages - and then reprogramming a pre-existing, but then defunct website that displayed member state representative contact information. I was able to dynamically link the website to a bank of IOC databases that held this information. The website also displayed the member states accorded to a color-coded scheme that reflected their IOC groupings. There is a need within the IOC for communication among member states that would be useful to policy-making, and rationalizing member state groupings, so hopefully, my work should go toward addressing these two objectives.

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Project:
Land Stewardship Internship with D&R Greenway
Organization/Location:
D&R Green Land Trust, Princeton, NJ
Adviser(s):


During my internship this summer, I worked closely alongside the two land stewards at D&R Greenway, Central New Jersey's Land Trust. I assisted with the stewards' everyday activities, which mainly consisted of invasive non-native species removal, native plant nursery work, and conservation easement monitoring. During the last 3 weeks of the internship, I was given some time to work on an individual project. I designed a poster on some of the neotropic migratory birds of the Sourlands Mountain region in Central New Jersey. I gave information on 13 of these birds and constructed a post and frame so that hikers and walkers could learn about these birds while walking on one of D&R Greenway's properties. The whole internship experience was very rewarding and I learned much about land trusts' and stewards' integral role in land preservation and conservation. I also learned the importance of maintaining preserved land through stewardship activities in order to promote and preserve the biodiversity of both flora and fauna.

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Project:
Friends of Princeton Open Space Nature Preserve Stewardship
Organization/Location:
Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands, Princeton, NJ
Adviser(s):
Stephen Hiltner, Friends of Princeton Open Space

I worked to maintain biodiversity within the preserve.  My chief responsibility was to eliminate populations of invasive herbaceous species.  Mr. Hiltner and I also cultivated native plants in the Mountain Lakes greenhouse to be planted in the field.

Project:
Sustainable Fisheries Management, Trade and Agriculture Directorate
Organization/Location:
Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (COECD), Paris, France
Adviser(s):


As a stagiaire of the Trade and Agriculture Directorate, Fisheries Division of the OECD, my responsibilities were to research and analyze the approaches and policies for rebuilding fishieres in Regional Management Fisheries Organizations, to draft a shapter on Regional Fisheries Management Organziation for OECD publication, for an inventory of national and international approaches to fisheries rebuilding, and research and develop case studies of fisheries rebuildling plans, including those in developing countries. I created documents, compiling information as the basis for such analysis and for circulation to contacts in the Regional Management Fisheries Organzations for validation and completion, and researched suggestions made by consultants and made recommendations based on my research. I also reviewed options for European Union and United States case studies and developed those as well.

Project:
Reef Sediment Microbiology
Organization/Location:
University of Hawaii, Manoa, Hawaii
Adviser(s):
Eric Gaidos, University of Hawaii, Manoa

This summer I was helping to continue the reef sediment microbiology research of Eric Gaidos at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. We collected samples of reef sediment at the Kaneohe bay on the Island of Oahu.  From these samples we were able to extract solutions containing microbial cell populations that we then ran through filters.  Using a process called FISH (fluorescent in situ hybridization) we were able to label specific microbes on filter sections with specific RNA probes and measure the number of each subset (for example Nitrosomonadales) compared to the relative number of cells on the filter.  Certain subsets participate in the nitrogen cycles in different ways, and we hoped to gather information about the nitrogen cycle in this particular bay based on how many cells of each population we observed. The results were inconclusive with a high margin of error, mostly due to the FISH process.

Project:
The Use of Agrobiodiversity to Manage Climate Change – Charting Experiences from Rural Communities and Indigenous Peoples
Organization/Location:
Platform for Agrobiodiversity Research Rome, Italy
Adviser(s):


As stipulated in the terms of reference, my primary task during the course of the internship was, by making use of a variety of resources, gather and organize information related to agrobiodiversity as a provider of adaptation and mitigation strategies available to rural communities for meeting the challenges by global climate change. This was an activity of the Platform for Agrobiodiversity Research. As part of the Platform, I accomplished the following:" Created an online database of agrobiodiversity-based strategies employed by indigenous and rural communities in adapting to climate change. Actively participated in the management of the Platform’s blog and other discussion forums, encouraging dialogue among the Platform’s members and other stakeholders. Compiled a technical report for the International Workshop held by the Platform in Chiang Mai, Thailand on the use of agrobiodiversity by indigenous communities in adapting to climate change. Assisted in the creation of and contributed to a briefing paper for presentation by the Platform at the UNFCCC Bangkok Climate Change talks.

Project:
Intern to International Rivers' Mekong River Campaign
Organization/Location:
International Rivers, Bangkok, Thailand
Adviser(s):
Burton Singer

International Rivers has led the way in using research, education, and advocacy to address the many ways river development projects harm the environment: their successes include leading the creation of the World Commission on Dams, initiating the International Day of Action for Rivers, and protecting communities in countries as diverse as Brazil, Lesotho and Nepal. My work with International Rivers focused on investigating how water development projects -- specifically the dams proposed to be built on the Mekong River -- will have negative consequences for the environment and human health. Living in Bangkok, Thailand, I devoted most of my internship to piecing together how building the dams will block fish migrations and thus eliminate an estimated 62% of the Mekong river’s fish trade. Since the Mekong River is currently the most productive inland fishery in the world, this drastic reduction in fish would increase malnutrition and harm regional food security. My work concerning the importance of an undammed Mekong River to regional food security, and thus human health, will be visible in two ways. First, the Mekong Program on Water Environment and Resilience (M-POWER) is funding a documentary to raise awareness about how the Mekong River is important to human nutrition throughout the Lower Mekong Basin; the literature review I compiled for the film crew will be important in determining the most valuable scenes to film and facts to present. Second, I wrote an eight-page briefing sheet concerning how the Mekong dams will affect the nutritional status of millions of people; this will be published by International Rivers in November and distributed to government officials, locally active NGOs, and concerned lay people. Hopefully the documentary and briefing sheet will draw attention and action to these important issues I spent my internship researching.

Project:
Trichodesmium Response to Climate Change
Organization/Location:
Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS), Bermuda
Adviser(s):
Francois Morel

I investigated the effects of ocean acidification on trichodesmium, a diazotrophic cyanobacteria that lives in the subtropical and tropical Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans. Because they fix nitrogen and contribute to the ocean carbon pump, the future heartiness and behavior of Trichodesmium as average surface ocean acidity increases are important environmental variables. With assistance from Professors Francois Morel and Mike Lomas, and Princeton graduate student Dalin Shi, I collected Trichodesmium thiebautii field samples from the North Atlantic Ocean.  Bacterial colonies then incubated in three discrete pH levels: 8.1 (contemporary average surface ocean pH), 7.8 (estimated pH for 2100), and 8.4 (pre-industrial scenario).  The experiment was repeated throughout June, July, and August.  After incubation, samples were analyzed for particulate nitrogen, particulate carbon, particulate phosphate, nitrogen fixation rate, carbon fixation rate, and chlorophyll a concentration per colony.

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Project:
Political Climate–Watching Stakeholders Watching Waxman
Organization/Location:
House of Representatives, Washington, DC
Adviser(s):


The intern followed climate legislation though the House of Representatives and Senate, attending relevant hearings and meetings around the Capitol. She prepared several memoranda on such meetings, including collaborative projects with other research fellows and a capstone memorandum on the past, present, and plausible future scientific, policy, and political issue of emissions from land use change induced by biofuel production.

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Project:
Outreach Intern at the New York League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV)
Organization/Location:
New York League of Conservation Voters, New York, NY
Adviser(s):


As the NYLCV outreach intern, I was given tremendous responsibility in developing and implementing the organization's summer outreach plan. I used my familiarity with NYC politics and demographics to help the organization with their goal of making environmental protection a top priority with elected officials, decision-makers and voters by evaluating incumbent performance and endorsing and electing environmental leaders to office in New York State. When looking to increase our volunteer base in the north Bronx, I traveled to a science high school in the district and spoke to students in an environmental justice class. When trying to increase our membership base, I coordinated tabling events at greenmarkets, parks and the annual Heritage of Pride Festival. When looking for potential new donors, I ran an outreach table at an event for affluent young professionals on the upper west side of Manhattan. When touting our scorecard that objectively rated the environmental records of NY City Council members, I tabled at the gates of City Hall Park to ensure that politicians could see that they were accountable for their votes. No matter the outreach objective, the responsibility for implementation laid with me. As the point person on outreach, it was my task to ensure we had sufficient volunteers and supplies for each initiative. In addition to coordinating the outreach effort, I also engaged in editorial writing, blogging, phonebanking, preparing talking points for media events, writing candidate environmental profiles and editing publications. In summary, interning with the NYLCV was an excellent experience.

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Project:
A Communications Conundrum: China, the Environment and the Media
Organization/Location:
Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Beijing, China
Adviser(s):
Kai Evenson, PIA

NRDC is a leading environmental NGO which has been working in China for the past decade. The internship involves working with the Communications team of NRDC's Beijing office, working to increase awareness of media coverage of the NGO and helping organize public relations events.

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Project:
Urban Sustainability in Developing India
Organization/Location:
Parisar, Pune, India
Adviser(s):


This summer, I worked with a local non-profit organization, Parisar, on sustainable development as it relates to transportation policy in Pune, India. Along with a college-age Indian intern, I directed the 'Cycle for Pune' program, which aims to raise awareness about urban development strategies and the role bicycling can play in bringing about a more livable, developed city. We facilitated, and then presented workshops about Pune's current development trajectory to 7th-10th grade students in Pune schools. Afterwards, the students and principals sent a form letter and petition to the local government asking for better bicycling infrastructure so that students can cycle to school safely. In five weeks, we gave eight workshops at six schools, reaching 1300 children and collecting 2500 surveys from students and parents about cycling in the city. I also did considerable work systematizing Parisar's methods of operation. I designed and managed new forms and a spreadsheet for organizing information about participating schools, updated our surveys, and devised a system for recording and evaluating our workshops throughout the summer. My co-worker and I also completed a manual documenting our procedures so that new interns can successfully continue the 'Cycle for Pune' program during the fall.

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Project:
From Earth's Hope to TEDxPedition
Organization/Location:
Environmental Education Media Project for China (EEMP), Beijing, China
Adviser(s):
Michael Collins '07 and Leon Chen

I interned in Beijing first as a Communications intern at Environmental Education Media Project for China (EEMP) for three weeks. But due to the organization's obligation to go to Mongolia for a World Bank film on energy sector, I got transferred to work as the Director of TEDxPedition, a countrywide expedition(Sept. 4th to 20th) with multiple regional conferences under the official license of TED). While at Earth's Hope, my responsibilities included researching and writing letters to potential sponsors for a new film Earth's Hope, compiling film distributor list, publicizing EEMP documentaries in Ghana, preparing for EEMP's North Korea trip to promote sustainable building as well as translating sponsor letters and key documents into Chinese. These tasks have given me a good scope into a start-up NGO and allowed me to  better understand the urgency and challenges in communicating sustainability in China and around the World. In the later phase of my internship, I assisted Leon Chen of Oxford to organize TEDxPedition in China, including four conferences in Beijing, Xi'an, Chengdu and Beijing. This green expedition involves visits to sustainable initiatives and case studies around China, such as the Loess Plateau Rehabilitation Project(also the main work of EEMP) and green business giant, Broad Airconditioning in Changsha. Our expedition goes across 9 provinces and extends over 2000 miles. In addition, the conferences focus on climate change, sustainability and social entrepreneurship. In Beijing, our conference themed around climate change: its challenges, solutions and opportunities. We engaged speakers such as Maurice Strong, former UN vice secretary and founder of UNEP and attracted participants from top universities in China and abroad. Organizing this event has showed a different yet effective way to communicate sustainability and to engage young minds to discuss and care about environmental problems.

Health

Project:
Health Systems and Concerns for Ex-Mineworkers
Organization/Location:
TEBA Development, Johannesburg and Eastern Cape, South Africa. Maeru, Lesotho.
Adviser(s):
Joao Biehl

TEBA Development is a non-profit organization that gives back to mineworker communities by providing home-based care (HBC), including psycho-social support and referrals to local clinics, for ex-mineworkers who have had to leave their jobs at the mines due to ill health (mostly HIV/AIDS and TB). My project focused on the HBC program and I observed the home visits and structure of the program in different regions (Lesotho and Eastern Cape). I traveled with the HBC Coordinators of the different regions and the local fieldworkers to the homes of the HBC patients; I interviewed the patients about the effectiveness of the program and their perceptions of illness and the role of biomedicine in their healing and coping processes. One of my goals was to understand the health systems and their limitations, the perspectives and opinions of local people and the challenges they face. In Lesotho I assessed the cost and challenges of changing the HBC structure to be as it is in the Eastern Cape, where TEBA employs their own nurses and care supporters instead of using those in the local clinics. I assessed the effectiveness of the current program, the cost of switching the program structure in Lesotho and challenges that will be faced in the transition. I provided recommendations based on my observations of the differences between the two regions.

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Project:
Independent Study of Nanoparticles for the Delivery of TB Drugs
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton NJ
Adviser(s):
Robert Prud'homme

The purpose of this internship was to research with the Prudíhomme group a novel drug delivery system for the administration of tuberculosis therapeutics. This delivery system, which can be incorporated into current therapeutic regimens, will quickly and efficiently kill off a large percentage of the infection in a short time, reducing the duration of therapy and frequency of dosing needed. The improved performance of this regimen is derived from the design of the NP system.  Usually, there is little control over the release and biodistribution of combination therapy drugs in circulation.  A NP system which co-encapsulates active drugs and is efficiently taken up into macrophages ensures controlled release of both drugs at the infection site and thus more efficient killing of the bacteria. We utilized a Flash Nano-Precipitation (FNP), a continuous process developed by the Prudíhomme group for the encapsulation of highly lipophilic active pharmaceutical ingredients in polymer protected NPs, to co-encapsulate a currently marketed anti-tubercular drug (rifampicin) and recently discovered peptidoglycan-inhibiting drugs (SQ641, SQ922, SQ997). Active targeting techniques, such as receptor-specific ligands, were incorporated into the NP design to provide control over biodistribution of NPs. NPs were tested for stability and size distribution over time. Additionally, we tried methods to concentrate suspended NPs in solution.

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Project:
Modeling Antibiotic Resistance
Organization/Location:
Resources for the Future, Washington, DC
Adviser(s):
Simon Levin and Ramanan Laxminarayan

The spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria has led to bacterial infections that are more difficult and more costly to treat. Understanding the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria is a necessary precursor to implementing effective measures to control the transmission.  Much of my time at RFF was spent updating a model of steptococcal transmission in day care centers that made use of an extensive database containing data from an intervention project in Sweden.  The model, coded in R, showed the effects of various policies in containing penicillin-resistant pneumococci.  I also developed a model of the transmission of antibiotic resistant bacteria during a flu epidemic, for which I hope to gather empirical data this fall.

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Project:
HIV/AIDS Along the U.S.-Mexico Border
Organization/Location:
Pan American Health Organization, El Paso, TX
Adviser(s):
Joao Biehl

This summer I worked for the Pan American Health Organization in El Paso, TX. While I was on the US-Mexico Border I worked specifically on projects related to chronic diseases such as childhood obesity and diabetes. I conducted large systematic reviews of obesity legislation in both the US and Mexico and compiled studies that use mass media campaigns to combat the obesity epidemic. In addition to my internship I spent my time outside the office learning from promotoras (community health workers) specifically trained in HIV/AIDS. These promotoras had a lot to say and I learned a lot about health disparities in general along the Border and the importance of culturally-appropriate care. I also had the privilege of working with the Teen Advisory Board of Thomason Hospital on the weekends. These teens opened my eyes to a new  alternative way of disseminating important information relative to public health. They educate their parents and peers and shared with me some of the horrific common misconceptions they hear when discussing topics like HIV/AIDS in their communities. These experiences will serve as the basis for my independent work this upcoming year.

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Project:
Health Solutions Through Theater-Based Community Outreach
Organization/Location:
TEARS Group, Kenya
Adviser(s):
Mahiri Mwita

With the support of Health Grand Challenge, I traveled to Kenya to work with TEARS Group Kenya.  For a quick word of background about the organization, TEARS is a local NGO based in Nakuru, Kenya that grew out of a youth group that used theater as a means of affecting behavior change as it relates to HIV/AIDS.  My work with the organization was focused on two projects: research into the successes and shortcomings of TEARS’ theater-against HIV/AIDS efforts, the primary objective of the summer, and implementation of a breast cancer awareness pilot project.  With both projects, there were plenty of moments of celebration, and also plenty of moments of frustration.  If I were to leave a recommendation for future students and administrators organizing Grand Challenges projects in the developing world, I would emphasize the importance of good communication with the partner organization before arriving, particularly concerning objectives and expectations, as many of my frustrations came about when I had trouble getting TEARS to move on the program work-plans.  I leave Kenya, though, with a wealth of data and experience with their theatrical efforts, from which we are currently compiling a report for the organization, and with the groundwork for the breast cancer project in place, and would like to extend my sincerest gratitude to Grand Challenges for affording me this opportunity.

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Project:
Amazon Indigenous Health
Organization/Location:
Child Family Health International, Puyo, Ecuador and surrounding communities
Adviser(s):
Jonathan Gold

In this internship, I participated in clinical rotations in various clinics and hospitals in Quito and Puyo, Ecuador and their surrounding areas.  I visited and lived with two Amazon indigenous communities, Kichwa and Shuar, and learned their culture and traditions and healing practices.  The purpose for this internship was to conduct my Senior Thesis research comparing Amazon indigenous healing practices with Western medicine, and this internship allowed me to get into contact with the communities that would be essential to conduct such research.  In the clinical rotations, my preceptors were medical doctors who took the time to explain why they made every decision that they made and step that they took.  The indigenous communities were welcoming and willing to travel by foot for a total of ten hours to meet me to take me to their community five hours into the jungle.  Overall it was an amazing experience and I learned so much about some of the many cultures that exist in Ecuador, and most importantly, I learned about myself and to be more comfortable in my own shoes when dealing with difficult and new situations.

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Project:
Reducing the Malaria Burden–One Village at a Time
Organization/Location:
Infanta Malaria Prevention Foundation, Ghana
Adviser(s):
Kristina Graff

This summer, I served as an intern for the Infanta Malaria Prevention Foundation. Infanta Malaria is a Non-Governmental Organization dedicated to raising awareness about malaria prevention and treatment by providing education, services, equipment, and medication to the most vulnerable group – pregnant women and children in remote, rural villages. My responsibilities included: data collection; training on malaria prevention; short residencies in villages with Infanta Malaria’s partner organizations; research that assisted in fund raising activities; and attending seminars or other venues that assisted in Infanta Malaria’s efforts to stay abreast of new information. Though the internship constituted my first experience in public health, I played an active role in impacting the community. Using some of the resources and contacts that I made, I was able to arrange for an ophthalmology team to visit the village in which I was living, where we provided eye screening and cataract surgeries to the villagers at no cost. The best part of the internship was the flexibility and freedom that allowed me to travel the country and to develop personal projects to help the cause. For the duration of my stay, I worked to design malaria educational materials for children ages 4-7 because early exposure to even the most basic facts about transmission and prevention could significantly increase long-term awareness and knowledge about the disease and preventive measures. By reaching out to the children, I would hopefully be making a contribution that could have a long-term impact for generations to come.

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Project:
Mosquito Net Distribution in Sierra Leone
Organization/Location:
Unicef, Sierra Leone
Adviser(s):
Burton Singer

I distributed 4,000 long lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets in the Malen chiefdom in Sierra Leone. In a team of eleven college students I walked to a total of 35 village with populations ranging from 26 to 850. In each village we held a town meeting with the town chief and our local partners: Red Cross 'Malaria Keep Up' volunteers, high school and college students from the chiefdom and representatives from the District Health Management Team. The meeting served to introduce our group and to educate the locals people about the importance and correct usage of the nets. Our group then split into 4 teams and we visited each household in each village. We gave nets based on the number of verified sleeping spaces and reinforced the lessons from the town meeting. We put nets up in their homes to demonstrate how it can be hung from the ceiling to cover any part of a room, and how it must be tucked under a mattress/mat. Two weeks before and one week after the distribution, I was based at the UNICEF office in Freetown preparing and following up on the distribution while consulting with their team of experts. The best part of the experience was definitely that we had a big impact on health in the chiefdom, a result we achieved with few resources. Our only major expense was the nets; every one on our team was a volunteer and we used our own resources for food and lodging, which in my case was funding from the Grand Challenges program and the Princeton Class of 1978 Foundation. The Malen chiefdom offered us housing as their contribution to the project. We even decided to walk the 110+ miles to and from the villages instead of renting a vehicle.

Project:
Sex Reassignment Surgery in Porto Alegre
Organization/Location:
Grand Challenges Project, Porto Alegre, Brazil
Adviser(s):
Joao Biehl

This summer I worked with a center for sex reassignment surgeries provided for free by the Brazilian health system located in a large federal public hospital in southern Brazil. In 2007, a legal action initiated by a group of transsexual patients from this public hospital succeeded in a federal court of appeals, forcing the Brazilian government to make sex reassignment surgeries available. The rationale, which referred to the universal right to health as well as the right to human dignity and freedom from discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation, raised questions about the meanings of fundamental rights and the way that rights discourses and gender norms shape public healthcare in Brazil. During my time in Porto Alegre, I conducted interviews with the lawyer who represented the transsexual patient group and the federal appeals judge who authored the opinion in favor of the group, as well as other legal professionals and scholars working in this area. I also observed the treatment facility, interviewing the medical and psychiatric staff that worked there, and I gathered individual stories from patients participating in the program. I am interested in the ways that public healthcare is organized and access to healthcare resources is structured by the politics of gender identity and ideological struggles in the judicial and medical establishments. My research is focused on the unique experiences of transgender individuals, and how those experiences are mediated by institutions of care and the ideological commitments that shape them.

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Project:
Perioperative Pain Protocol and Infection Diagnostics
Organization/Location:
Lankenau Institute for Medical Research, Pennsylvania
Adviser(s):


My internship position was responsible for assisting Dr. Deirmengian in what turned out to be multiple research opportunities. The two primary focuses were to gather all past and present patient information for a long term study to assess the success of pain management on revision hip and knee replacement surgeries. The Second research proposal was to gather information regarding the success of current ways to detect infection in pre-surgical patients, and compare the current statistics to the new system that Dr. Deirmengian has discovered. My primary responsibility in the second proposal was to gather the current information and present it in a way that could be compared against the statistics that the newer system produces.

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Project:
Who Governs the Microbe? Governance of Infectious Disease in South Africa
Organization/Location:
Grand Challenges Project, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Adviser(s):
Evan Scott Lieberman

In this study we primarily sought to address three questions regarding infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS, and Tuberculosis in five municipalities in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. How and why do elected and non-elected leaders respond to and prioritize policy problems in different ways? Why do different types of authorities respond to different problems? How and why does this vary across time and space? We utilized several methods of data gathering. A closed ended survey was distributed in 8-12 municipalities with a goal of 200 responses. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with councilors and various types of authorities in 1 metropolitan area and 3 local councils. We spent time in the library doing newspaper research to find reports that highlight the politics of the governance of infectious disease. We also made passive observations, of what we saw in local meetings of councils/committees, other relevant information. While the data from this study has yet to be analyzed, our fieldwork made it apparent that there are many logistical, organizational, cultural and political barriers to effective prevention and medication distribution problems. Even though actors other than the government including churches, businesses, and non-governmental organizations are also playing an active role there remains a large population of citizens who are vulnerable to infectious disease.

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Project:
Health Systems and Concerns for Ex-Mineworkers
Organization/Location:
TEBA Development, South Africa and Mozambique
Adviser(s):


I interned with Teba Development, an NGO based in Johannesburg that gives focused development services to the mining community of Southern Africa. It offers care and support to ill-health retired mineworkers with conditions such as TB, HIV/AIDS, injuries, etc. through delivery of medical kits, referrals for treatment, voluntary counseling and testing (VCT), family awareness education, and care for orphans. During my time in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, I interviewed the families of ex-mineworkers and collected data regarding overall health, living conditions, and livelihood strategies of the households. In Mozambique, I worked with the Partnership on HIV and Mobility in Southern Africa (PHAMSA), which aims to reduce the HIV incidence and impact of AIDS among migrant and mobile workers and their families. I accompanied community agents (members of community that educate members about safe sexual practices, health, promote education, counseling) on their daily rounds to Teba clients and assisted with community outreach such as drama plays that stimulate discussions and debate.

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Project:
Histone Modifications in Plasmodium Falciparum
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
Adviser(s):
Manuel Llinas

Plasmodium falciparum causes malaria in over 300 million people each year yet little is understood about the parasiteís transcriptional regulation. In the parasiteís asexual stage, the parasite undergoes a 48-hour cycle of red blood cell (RBC) invasion, which causes the clinical symptoms of malaria. Only a handful of transcription factors have been identified in P. falciparum so epigenetic factors may play a significant role in transcriptional regulation.  Chromatin modification, predominantly via methylation or acetylation marks, is one form of epigenetic mark and has been shown to be involved in transcriptional regulation in many organisms. The marks are classically found on nucleosomes, which are comprised of DNA and histones, the proteins around which DNA are bound.  As an example, certain histone post-translational modifications (PTMs) such as lysine trimethylations and acetylations have been found to be strongly associated with silent or active genes. Through a mass spectrometry-based approach, we have identified a novel histone PTM, H3H39me1. My work centers on using chromatin immunoprecipitation against this modified histone and the DNA that it binds to allow us to map where this modification occurs genome-wide.  Ultimately, the goal is to correlate the presence of this mark with active or silent genes, thus further establishing a correlation between chromatin state and gene expression in P. falciparum.

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Project:
Global Antibiotic Resistance Partnership
Organization/Location:
Resources for the Future, Washington, DC and Kenya Medical Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya
Adviser(s):
Ramanan Laxminarayan

The problem of antimicrobial resistance has received relatively little recognition in many developing countries, at the same time that it has gained immediacy in high-income countries and this is largely because of poor surveillance for resistant microbes. The death toll of resistant bacterial infections may, in fact, be largest in low- and middle-income countries. Two million children under 5 years of age die each year from pneumonia, nearly all in these countries and this mortality is undoubtedly greater because of increasing resistance of the main bacterial causes of pneumonia (Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenza) to common antibiotics, but the limited laboratory capacity and lack of national surveillance that characterize most developing countries has kept this problem hidden. However we can contain/delay/slow down the development of this resistance by taking action in the activities where humans contribute to this development. In my internship, I was posted in Kenya by Resources for the Future, DC, to help in the creation of a country profile/situation analysis, in order to set the context for policy solutions and opportunities for dealing with antibiotic resistance. In particular I was working in a Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) alongside Dr. Sam Kariuki, a molecular microbiologist to collect information on the epidemiology of antibiotic-treatable diseases and levels of antibiotic resistance in Kenya. This information was mainly got from literature and studies done locally. It was found that antibiotic resistance levels to first line treatments were quite high among patients. These results and outcomes were presented at a 2 days conference that sumarized the way that antibiotics (and drugs, generally) flow through the country (including how they are acquired by patients), legal and regulatory requirements for antibiotics (and drugs, generally), and surveillance systems that capture information on aspects of antibiotic use and resistance patterns in the country. I enjoyed my experience in Kenya. I learned a lot about antibiotics and how the problem of resistance is a really big issue. I hope to work in a field such as this after I graduate.

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Project:
Health and Medicine Program
Organization/Location:
Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, Washington, DC
Adviser(s):


The projects that I was working on were specific to the Summer of 2009, in which healthcare reform legislation was being crafted on the Capitol. Dr. Blumenthal sought to impact the reform debate as much as she could, so that public health and disease prevention programs would be central to reform, not just changes to health insurance. I conducted background research and wrote a background brief for a Working Group of biomedical research experts who were crafting recommendations for policy makers. I also attended conference at other think tanks and meetings on the Capitol to learn about hot topics in health policy. Dr. Blumenthal also works to shape the internship to your own interests – for me, that meant helping Dr. Blumenthal to write several Op Eds that were published on the Huffington Post. I would strongly encourage future students to intern with Dr. Blumenthal, whether she remains at the Center or whether she takes another position in government.

Project:
Who Governs the Microbe? Governance of Infectious Disease in South Africa
Organization/Location:
Grand Challenges Project, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Adviser(s):
Evan Scott Lieberman

In this study we primarily sought to address three questions regarding infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS, and Tuberculosis in five municipalities in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. How and why do elected and non-elected leaders respond to and prioritize policy problems in different ways? Why do different types of authorities respond to different problems? How and why does this vary across time and space? We utilized several methods of data gathering. A closed ended survey was distributed in 8-12 municipalities with a goal of 200 responses. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with councilors and various types of authorities in 1 metropolitan area and 3 local councils. We spent time in the library doing newspaper research to find reports that highlight the politics of the governance of infectious disease. We also made passive observations, of what we saw in local meetings of councils/committees, other relevant information. While the data from this study has yet to be analyzed, our fieldwork made it apparent that there are many logistical, organizational, cultural and political barriers to effective prevention and medication distribution problems. Even though actors other than the government including churches, businesses, and non-governmental organizations are also playing an active role there remains a large population of citizens who are vulnerable to infectious disease.

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Project:
Independent Research Project into HIV and the Role of Religion
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, South Africa
Adviser(s):
Joao Biehl

Based at a rural hospital in South Africa, my research is focused on understanding the interaction between religion at the hospital and the treatment and recovery of patients who are HIV positive as well as how conceptions of religion affect interpretations of health care and HIV stigma. Patients grapple with disease and suffering, negotiating different descriptions of the world given by traditional African religion and Christianity. Many patients associate the hospital with Christianity and their recovery on ARVs with the work of God. Religion is important to many of the hospital staff too, with nurses and patients gathering each morning to sing hymns and pray. The ARV roll-out at the hospital has been successful, with almost 1000 people on ARVs, yet stigma around HIV persists and the hospital wards remain filled with gaunt patients infected with TB and HIV.

Project:
Malaria Policy Research–Effect of Bed Nets on Mosquito Transmission
Organization/Location:
Resources for the Future, Washington, DC
Adviser(s):
Ramanan Laxminarayan

I spent 8 weeks at Resources for the Future (a non-profit, nonpartisan think-tank dedicated to sustainability, environment, and health) working with the malaria researcher David Smith. I did an independent project evaluating the impact of insecticide-treated bed nets on malaria transmission factors in Sub-Saharan Africa, a topic that is much needed in research and scientific knowledge, yet has not been extensively explored. I am hoping to publish my review paper in the Malaria Journal.

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Project:
Who Governs the Microbe? Governance of Infectious Disease in South Africa
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Adviser(s):
Evan Scott Lieberman

In this study we primarily sought to address three questions regarding infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS, and Tuberculosis in five municipalities in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. How and why do elected and non-elected leaders respond to and prioritize policy problems in different ways? Why do different types of authorities respond to different problems? How and why does this vary across time and space? We utilized several methods of data gathering. A closed ended survey was distributed in 8-12 municipalities with a goal of 200 responses. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with councilors and various types of authorities in 1 metropolitan area and 3 local councils. We spent time in the library doing newspaper research to find reports that highlight the politics of the governance of infectious disease. We also made passive observations, of what we saw in local meetings of councils/committees, other relevant information. While the data from this study has yet to be analyzed, our fieldwork made it apparent that there are many logistical, organizational, cultural and political barriers to effective prevention and medication distribution problems. Even though actors other than the government including churches, businesses, and non-governmental organizations are also playing an active role there remains a large population of citizens who are vulnerable to infectious disease.

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Project:
Investigating Slow-Growth Inducing Fosmids of B. Pseuodomallei
Organization/Location:
Genomic Institute of Singapore, Singapore
Adviser(s):
Jason Kreisberg and Patrick Tan

The bacteria, Burkholderia pseuodmallei, which causes the disease melioidosis, is a disease that is endemic to Thailand and Northern Australia.  The bacteria live in the soil, are highly resistant to antibiotics, and cause respiratory infection.  If not treated properly, the fatality rate is 50%.  Melioidosis has been a neglected disease but has potential as a bioterrorism weapon.      Certain fosmids made from the DNA of B. pseudomallei that when inserted into E. coli bacteria, cause slow growth in the E. coli bacteria.  In order to test if the fosmids were causing the slow growth, the E. coli were cured of the fosmid to see if they returned to wild-type growth.  Electrocompetent E. coli bacteria were also transformed and tested to see if they acquired the slow growth phenotype.  As a control, E. coli were also grown while maintaining the presence of the fosmid.  Even though most of the E. coli were able to be cured and transformed, the slow growth phenotype was difficult to maintain.  This could be due to the E. coli overcoming the cause of slow growth over time.      One fosmid was able to be maintained, and transposon mutagenesis was performed on this fosmid to see if the wild type rate of growth could be recovered.  While this did not occur, two of the transposed fosmids grew more slowly than the original 15B23 strain.  The 15B23 fosmid is currently being sequenced and perhaps then a gene or genes can be identified that are responsible for the slow growth.

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Project:
Preliminary Characterization of a Putative Flagellar Localization Complex in Pseudomonas Aeruginosa
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
Adviser(s):
Zemer Gitai

Studies of bacterial protein localization give insight into the fundamentals of intracellular structure and provide opportunities for developing novel antimicrobial therapeutics. Studies of polar flagellar localization in the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa have shown that a polar-localized protein, FlhF, is responsible for localizing the flagellum to the pole. Motility screens of a P. aeruginosa transposon mutant library isolated three proteins necessary for polar localization of FlhF and, thus, the flagellum.  These proteins, PA0406, PA2982, and PA2983, are homologous to the components of the conserved TonB energy transduction complex, suggest- ing a flagellar localization complex with functional homology to the TonB complex. Current work is focused on demonstrating complex formation by co-precipitation of the component proteins, and on establishing a system for direct observation of the dynamics of related proteins, including FlhF, during the process of Pseudomonas pathogenesis in the amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum and human tissue culture.

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Project:
Multidisciplinary Program on Disease Management – Global Antibiotic Resistance Partnership
Organization/Location:
Resources For The Future, New Delhi, India
Adviser(s):
Ramanan Laxminarayan and Simon Levin

Antibiotic resistance is known to be a major public health challenge in developed countries, as increasing rates of antibiotic overuse render these drugs less effective.  It is believed that antibiotic resistance is a major problem in developing countries as well, however, there is very little precise information about the levels of antibiotic resistance and the factors contributing to this resistance in the developing world.  Last summer, I studied levels of antibiotic resistance in New Delhi, India as a summer intern for the Global Antibiotic Resistance Partnership developed by Resources for the Future.  I spent eight weeks at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, a private tertiary care hospital in central Delhi.  Most of my work involved organizing and managing all of the drug resistance data that hospital had gathered over the past 10 years.  I was able to assist in the research, writing, and editing of a review article examining the problem of antibiotic resistance in India and strategies that are currently being used to reduce levels of resistance.  I also had the opportunity to assist with the organization of an international conference on antibiotic resistance in India, which I attended at the end of the summer.  Through my internship experience, I was able to learn a lot about the practice of medicine in the developing world in general, and the Indian health care system in particular.  I was also able to gain a comprehensive understanding of the cultural and socioeconomic factors contributing to the development and spread of drug resistance in India.

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Project:
Clinical and Sociocultural Factors that Affect Treatment of Histoplasmosis at a Free Clinic in Guatemala City
Organization/Location:
Clinica Familiar Luis Angel Garcia, Guatemala City, Guatemala
Adviser(s):
Joao Biehl

I spent this past summer at Clinica Familiar Luis ingel Garcia, a small HIV/AIDS clinic within a larger public hospital in Guatemala City. The clinic provides free ARVis, regular medical consultation, laboratory tests, and psychological services to people of all ages living with HIV/AIDS. I spent my time at Clinica Familiar in varied ways, trying to familiarize myself with the many services of the clinic and conducting a project on a common opportunistic infection called Histoplasmosis. I observed the medical consultations of the adult doctors and the initial blood tests performed by the clinic psychologists. Outside of the clinic itself, I participated in the required workshops for new patients of the clinic and for individuals who have not been adherent to their medications. These observations offered a richer context to tmy project on Histoplasmosis, a fungal infection that has a high mortality rate among PLWHAis in Guatemala and in other regions of Central America. My project was based on interviews with individuals who had been diagnosed with the infection, doctors, and social workers at the clinic. In my interviews with clinic patients, I sought to learn more about the backgrounds of the individuals diagnosed with Histoplasmosis, their understandings and perspectives of the disease, and their culturally mediated understandings of the symptoms, diagnoses, and treatment of Histoplasmosis. My project also involved studying patient records and interviewing doctors to learn more about diagnostic and treatment procedures, as well as the infectionis evolution in the clinic since its inception 20 years ago.

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Project:
Direct Approach to the Functionalized Propellane Core of Pleuromutilin, Towards Possible New Antibiotics Against Tuberculosis
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
Adviser(s):
Erik Sorensen

Pleuromutilin is a natural product with antibiotic activity against tuberculosis, but that has never been approved for human oral administration because of poor pharmacokinetic properties.  We have been synthesizing the first pleuromutilin derivatives that include changes to the architectually novel propellane core of the molecule, in hopes of creating analogs with improved activity and metabolic stability sufficient to allow them to be explored from a clinical perspective. This summer I worked on optimizing our route towards our key intermediate compound and developed a novel in situ silyation protocol which appears to be generally applicable in the stoichiometric Nozaki-Hiyama-Kishi reaction.  Though an adaption of this protocol we are now able to gain access to enantiopure material, and work continues in our laboratory towards synthesizing and testing racemic and enantiopure pleuromutilin derivatives.

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Project:
Elucidating the Significance of ApiAP2 Transcription Factors in the Malaria Parasite Plasmodium Falciparum
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
Adviser(s):
Manuel Llinas

Despite its widespread impact, Plasmodium falciparum, the causative agent of the most virulent form of malaria, is a parasite whose biology is one of the least understood among infectious agents. The parasite exhibits a highly adapted lifestyle that involves a 48-hour intraerythrocytic development cycle in humans during which the parasite undergoes significant morphological transformations. Such a complex developmental process necessitates a sophisticated network of genetic regulation that has yet to be fully understood.  Even so, the promoters and transcription factors necessary for transcriptional regulation have for the most part remained elusive.   Previous research has identified for the first time a putative family of P. falciparum transcription factors, the Apicomplexan AP2s (ApiAP2s). My project has employed a multifaceted approach to help further elucidate their role in gene regulation. In order to clarify the in vivo activity of ApiAP2s, I am studying the stage specific importance of ApiAP2 proteins by gene knockdown as well as a suspected ApiAP2 DNA-binding motif using luciferase expression assays.  These experiments will build on in vitro and computational work with the goal of elucidating in vivo some of the first minimal transcriptional networks in P. falciparum.  As an additional project, I have used protein binding microarrays to characterize the in vitro DNA-binding preferences of a previously uncharacterized ApiAP2, uniquely found in the malaria parasite Plasmodium vivax.  Studying the regulatory targets of this ApiAP2 may help reveal genes that are specific to this parasites pathogenicity.  Together, these experiments will help further articulate the importance of ApiAP2 transcription factors, while also opening many new avenues for further inquiry.

Project:
Exploring Global Antibiotic Resistance
Organization/Location:
Resources for the Future, Washington, DC
Adviser(s):
Simon Levin and Ramanan Laxminarayan

My internship at Resources for the Future was centered around antibiotic resistance policy. While I worked in DC, I co-wrote a policy brief about the possibility of using bacteriophages (viruses that kill bacteria) as an alternative to antibiotics and perhaps as a part of the solution to antibiotic resistance.  I learned so much about antibiotic resistance (which poses a very scary threat to the health of our global society) and the multilateral approach to solving this problem. I analyzed the market for phage therapy and FDA hurdles it would have to overcome.  While phage therapy seems to be a viable solution, its regulation and administration is unlike that of any other therapy that is FDA approved.  After completing my 8-week stint at RFF, I travelled to China, where I collected research papers (in Chinese) on antibiotic resistance. I also interviewed a few people in hospitals and universities on the extent of antibiotic resistance in hospitals and rural areas.   I learned that antibiotic resistance is not well documented in rural areas, and that its levels are extremely high in the case studies that have been conducted.  Additionally, the levels of antibiotic resistance in Chinese hospitals is often higher than those in the US.  In China, I was able to gain a better understanding of the impact of cultural and social behavior and perceptions of antibiotic resistance.  I learned so much about antibiotic resistance and the policy needed to combat it this summer, and I am thankful Grand Challenges allowed me to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.

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Project:
Investigating the Mechanism of Naphthalene 1,2-Dioxygenase in Whole Cells
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
Adviser(s):
John Groves

The hydroxylation of unactivated hydrocarbons is one of the most difficult chemical reactions known. Yet despite its complexity, many organisms are able to use hydrocarbons as their sole energy source, and an wide array of enzymes have evolved to facilitate these reactions. Naphthalene 1,2-dioxygenase (NDO), a Rieske protein homologue that catalyzes the stereoselective oxidation of naphthalene to (1R,2S)-1,2-dihydronaphthalene-1,2-diol is one such enzyme. The cis-1,2-dihydroxylation of olefins and arenes carried out by NDO is of immense synthetic interest; NDO has the ability to catalyze the creation of two chiral centers in a reaction that proceeds almost to completion.      Despite all the work on NDO in recent years, the mechanisms for itsdi- and mono-oxygenations have not been elucidated. In vitro work had suggested that mono-oxygenation proceeds through a radical pathway, indicative of the formation of a high-valent Fe(V)-oxo-hydroxo species before substrate attack. I have demonstrated that the same mechanism is at work in vivo using an even wider range of diagnostic substrates than used in vitro. As further evidence of the formation of a Fe(V)- oxo-hydroxo species, I performed studies using 18O labeled water and showed that there is non-trivial exchange into the iron center based on product analysis; oxo-hydroxo tautomerization, expected for a high- valent Fe(V) species, would result in this solvent exchange. I have also synthesized a range of selectively deuterated materials to serve as intramolecular probes of NDO's kinetic isotope effect. This represents one of the first instances of a KIE being determined solely by product analysis for an in vivo system.

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Development

Project:
Ghana School Library Initiative Implementation Trip
Organization/Location:
Engineers Without Borders, Ashaiman, Ghana.
Adviser(s):
Peter Jaffe

As the Ghanaian economy shifts from secondary to tertiary industry, strong English and computer skills will be in high demand. Ghana’s education system, though, fails to provide many children with a solid grasp of these skills.  Engineers Without Borders (EWB)-Princeton believes that it can help address this need with sustainable partnership with local groups.       EWB–Princeton has partnered with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church to build a library at their school in Ashaiman; the library will serve both students and the local community.  Last summer, I was the project manager among a team of four Princeton students who built the first portion of the library;  the entire building will be done next year.  The library will have 3000 books, many donated and shipped from the United States.  The library will also include a computer lab with a shared internet connection.       EWB–Princeton is committed to environmental sustainability.  For example, the walls of the library are constructed from landcrete blocks.  Landcrete blocks, made mostly of the clay-like material laterite, dramatically lower the carbon emissions related to building construction when used in place of concrete blocks.  We have also used pozzolana ash to substitute for one-third of our cement, and we are actively researching how to modify a shipping container to make our roof.       EWB-Princeton will hand off the library to its local partner once construction is completed and the books and computers are provided.  This incentivizes the local partner to make the project economically sustainable--that is, make sure that the library pays for itself.  Each local partner will have different ideas on how to pursue this goal; the EP Church plans to charge visitors to access the internet and will offer computer classes for certain fees.  Once the library is completed in Ashaiman, EWB-Princeton plans to build a second structure elsewhere with another local partner.

Project:
The Energy-Water Connection
Organization/Location:
International Water Association, The Hague, The Netherlands
Adviser(s):


Worked with IWA staff to develop a cost-benefit analysis for large scale water and energy retrofit programs in the US and Australia. Designed and created a tool to facilitate the creation of a Google Maps/Google Earth webpage to be used to map IWA membership information.

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Project:
Jorit Clean Water Project
Organization/Location:
Davis Peace Project, Kemissie, Ethiopia
Adviser(s):
Christina Agawu

Jorit, a semi-desert village of about 1000 people, is located in Northeast Ethiopia, 325 km from the capital (20 km from Kemissie). Residents live in mud and thatch hut, sharing space with their livestock. The average family size is eight, and the livelihoods of the people depend on subsistence agriculture and livestock raising. Due to small land holdings — 3 acre per family — and a primitive farming system that is rainfall dependent, famine, malnutrition and poverty are rife in Jorit. The village lacks basic infrastructures and services such as water, electric supply, a primary school and a health post. In fact poor sanitation is the major cause of health problems in the village. There is almost no culture of bathing in this community because of the unavailability of water. We built three hand dug wells with hand pumps in Jorit and two wells are currently being built in a different community nearby. Our project would not have been successful if it was not for the people of Jorit who dug wells, the local Water Management Bureau in Kemissie, and the Davis Peace Project which funded our project with the Global Challenges. We are very grateful for all people who made this project possible.

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Project:
International Water Association
Organization/Location:
International Water Association, The Hague, The Netherlands
Adviser(s):
Winston Soboyejo

At the International Water Association, I worked with the Development group, which focuses on water and sanitation issues in developing countries. Working with a knowledgeable and experienced team, I had the opportunity to focus my efforts on two main projects. First, I conducted background research as well as drafted a brief for workshops in disaster prone countries to integrate water safety plans into disaster preparedness planning. A water safety plan is an important system of managing risks, from the source to the tap, as well as increasing resilience of a water system. These workshops will aim to coordinate government, NGO, and community members who work in the areas of water as well as disaster preparedness and relief. I gathered information on who the major actors are as well as noted problems with current systems in Mozambique, Vietnam, Nepal, Honduras, and Peru. The other project was working with the Access to Water task force. This group aims to produce a document that highlights success factors in increasing access to water in urban areas, considering a wide range of issues including operations and management, pro-poor policy, financial barriers, and community ownership. I gathered case studies for the group and presented summaries as to aid the proceedings of the group and compile factors to be addressed. Overall, this was a great opportunity to play a role in these projects as well as learn a lot about what is going on all around the world regarding safe water and sanitation practices.  Finding all of this (in addition to a 2008 Grand Challenges Internship regarding safe water in Nigeria) really interesting and exciting, I hope to continue to work in this area after graduation.

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Project:
Field Research Intern
Organization/Location:
University of Botswana, Botswana
Adviser(s):
Kelly Caylor

The project that I was working on (with Kelly Caylor's lab and Frances O'Donnell as the "mentor") is on the dryland vegetation along the Khalahari transect, which runs north-south in Botswana. Along this transect, the consistency of the solid is the same, but the amount of rainfall varies. Thus, several sites (four) are picked along this transect and comparisons are done on how the change in rainfall affects the amount of above ground and below ground biomass. Since this is a dry environment, special attention is put in the lateral spread of the below ground biomass." "Basically, this summer I assisted in the fieldwork that is required to take the data for this project. I helped on something called GPR (ground penetration radar), a machine that sends a radar signal below ground, and by looking at the parabolas created by the radar bouncing off of the roots, you can model the roots that are underground. I also helped with root excavations and mapping.

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Project:
Karibu Kenya
Organization/Location:
African Wildlife Foundation, Wamba, Kenya
Adviser(s):
Dan Rubenstein

The Grevy's Zebra project is a branch of the African Wildlife Foundation that aims to study Grevy's zebra population dynamics in order to better understand how to protect them. Currently, there are around 2,000 Grevy's zebras remaining in Kenya, a drastic 88% drop in population from three decades ago. Dr. Paul Muoria, a Kenyan biologist heading the investigation, and his team of researchers are working together with local people of the Samburu region to determine the reasons of this stark decline in numbers, whether that be from anthrax infection, over-predation, or human-wildlife conflict. And because many Grevy's zebras migrate on lands that Kenyans now use for agriculture, the human-wildlife conflict is a particularly sensative issue; Dr. Muoria, through his research, hopes to strike a balance between eco-friendly conservationism and the Kenyan drive towards self-sufficiency and economic development through agriculture and farming.

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Project:
Kalahari Internship
Organization/Location:
University of Botswana, Botswana
Adviser(s):
Kelly Caylor

The Kalahari intern helps conduct fieldwork for a research project that studies the way differences in annual rainfall along the Kalahari Transect affect root structure, amount of above- and below-ground biomass, and soil. I had the chance to work on an independent project as well as assist professors and graduate students from Princeton, UVA, UCLA, and the University of Botswana on their projects; the intern has a great opportunity to learn from these researchers. The experience is valuable because the student is able to learn about environmental science firsthand and has the experience of living and working in various sites in Botswana. I found it to be a very supportive group and think that it is an exciting group to work for.

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Project:
Africa Grand Challenge–Trade-offs Between Carbon, Water and Biodiversity in the South African Fynbos
Organization/Location:
University of Cape Town, South Africa
Adviser(s):
Simon Levin, Ryan Chisholm (EEB Graduate Student)

The purpose of my internship was to assist Ryan with his research on the relative utility of pine plantations compared to fynbos conservation areas. I also worked on an independent project, focused on fire management in the Western Cape. In this region, fire is unquestionably the most important tool for fynbos conservation, but it's also one of the greatest threats to the forestry industry - and partly because the two camps (conservation and forestry) are largely at odds with one another, fire regulation policy is incredibly complicated and fraught with problems. To date, there does not exist a written history of all the important changes in fire management policy over the last couple of decades, and especially the CAUSES of those changes, and it is my belief that such a record would greatly improve everyone's understanding of, and ability to solve, the problems in the current set of fire management policies. Such a mutual understanding would be enormously helpful for improving relations with the forestry industry, and as a result for improving fynbos conservation in this region.

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Project:
An Investigation of the Colonization Rates of Artificial Substrates by Benthic Macroinvertebrates
Organization/Location:
Rhodes University, South Africa
Adviser(s):


We constructed 72 artificial substrates using recycled green mesh, crushed brick, gravel and shredded plastic. These were then deposited in the Hamilton reservoir- suspended from a floatline. We collected a dozen of these every week and noted the types and numbers of macroinvertebrates that had colonized them since their initial deposition. At the end of 6 weeks were able to guess which artificial substrate was best suited for assessing each macroinvertebrate. We could also use the information garnered from doing this experiment to test the impact of water pollutants on the aquatic biodiversity of the reservoir.

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Project:
International Water Management Institute, East Africa and Nile Basin Regional Office
Organization/Location:
International Water Management Institute, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Adviser(s):


I worked on an IWMI-wide research project entitled "Marketing Scientific Information: Assessing the effectiveness of how the scientific information is packaged, distributed, and promoted. "We evaluated the effectiveness of several Ethiopia/East Africa-specific  Agricultural Water Management products (conferences, policy briefs, conference proceedings, and the IWMI website) through personal interviews with several beneficiaries of the products, and worked with  Princeton interns in the India office to finalize an evaluation methodology and generate universal lessons on scientific communication for policy.

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Project:
An Investigation of the Colonization Rates of Artificial Substrates by Benthic Macro-invertebrates in the Hamilton Reservoir, Grahamstown
Organization/Location:
Rhodes University, South Africa
Adviser(s):
Dr. Tony Booth

We constructed 72 artificial substrates using recycled green mesh, crushed brick, gravel and shredded plastic. These were then deposited in the Hamilton reservoir- suspended from a floatline. We collected a dozen of these every week and noted the types and numbers of macroinvertebrates that had colonized them since their initial deposition. At the end of 6 weeks were able to guess which artificial substrate was best suited for assessing each macroinvertebrate. We could also use the information garnered from doing this experiment to test the impact of water pollutants on the aquatic biodiversity of the reservoir.

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Project:
Ghana School Library Initiative Implementation Trip
Organization/Location:
Engineers Without Borders, Ashaiman, Ghana
Adviser(s):
Peter Jaffe

Ashaiman, Ghana is a city slum of 250,000 located in the outskirts of Tema, Ghana, West Africa's major port. A product of government neglect, Ashaiman used to be known as the "City of Nonsense," a place rampant with armed robbers and other criminals. Today, however, Ashaiman is slowly improving. With the arrival of several banks, the city is entering the modern financial world. Its education system, however, is still lacking. In the summer of 2009, I went to Ashaiman with Engineers Without Borders on a Grand Challenges Internship to implement the first phase of construction of the Achieving Greater Heights Community Library. This library will be the only community library in all of Ashaiman. It will include not only over 3000 books in English, French, and Arabic, but also a computer lab of approximately 50 netbooks. In addition to overseeing the construction of the reinforced concrete substructure, I worked with students at the Evangelical Presbyterian Basic School each day in an after-school enrichment program. Additionally, I met with various political and religious leaders in the area to establish a network of support for the library. Finally, armed with a camcorder, microphone, tripod, and curiosity, I interviewed over 20 students, teachers, administrators, educational professionals, and general residents in Ashaiman over my seven-week stay. In total, I shot over 24 hours of footage. I am currently in the midst of editing this footage to create a documentary on education in Ashaiman. I hope to complete the editing process by February 2010.

Project:
Jorit Clean Water Project
Organization/Location:
Davis Peace Project, Kemissie, Ethiopia
Adviser(s):
Christina Agawu

Jorit, a semi-desert village of about 1000 people, is located in Northeast Ethiopia, 325 km from the capital (20 km from Kemissie). Residents live in mud and thatch hut, sharing space with their livestock. The average family size is eight, and the livelihoods of the people depend on subsistence agriculture and livestock raising. Due to small land holdings- 3 acre per family- and a primitive farming system that is rainfall dependent, famine, malnutrition and poverty are rife in Jorit. The village lacks basic infrastructures and services such as water, electric supply, a primary school and a health post. In fact poor sanitation is the major cause of health problems in the village. There is almost no culture of bathing in this community because of the unavailability of water. We built three hand dug wells with hand pumps in Jorit and two wells are currently being built in a different community nearby. Our project would not have been successful if it was not for the people of Jorit who dug wells, the local Water Management Bureau in Kemissie, and the Davis Peace Project which funded our project with the Global Challenges. We are very grateful for all people who made this project possible.

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Climate and Energy

Project:
Chloroplast Isolation from Marine Diatom Thalassiosira weissflogii
Organization/Location:
Princeton University
Adviser(s):
Professor Morel and Dr. Xu

My project was focused on the isolation of chloroplasts from TW diatoms. This is important to study because diatoms such as TW affix a large portion of the world's carbon dioxide. Isolating the chloroplasts proved to be a challenge for many reasons and I am continuing the work this semester in the lab.

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Project:
The Chemical Biology of Renewable Fuels Production
Organization/Location:
Princeton University
Adviser(s):
G. Charles Dismukes

Diatoms, a class of eukaryotic plankton, are under investigation as possible producers of lipid precursors to be used in biofuel production. Environmental stresses have been shown to alter the carbon composition of diatoms, often resulting in increased usable lipid (TGA) content. There were two aims of this experiment. The first was to determine the effect of nitrogen deprivation on the carbon budget and distribution of the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum. The second was to determine whether increases in specific carbon pools were due to a rearrangement of preexisting carbon in the cells or uptake of new carbon from the surroundings. Cells were grown into exponential phase in normal media, and then transferred to sealed containers without access to environmental carbon. The only carbon source from this point is labeled C13 bicarbonate. Also, half of the cells were placed in nitrogen deficient media. After several days, the lipid, protein, and carbohydrate content of the samples was measured. Nitrogen deprivation increased lipid and storage carbohydrate pools, while decreasing protein. Nitrogen deficient cells showed altered physical characteristics, becoming much larger and ovoid. Ongoing mass spectroscopy is being used to determine the fraction of labeled carbon in each pool. This measurement will indicate whether lipid and carbohydrate increase is due to de novo synthesis with new carbon uptake or rearrangement of preexisting carbon stores.

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Project:
Water Oxidation Catalyst –Solar Cell
Organization/Location:
Princeton University
Adviser(s):
Charles Dismukes

Identify an efficient, economically attractive alternative catalyst to platinum for use in photoelectrochemical cells

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Project:
Preparation of a Teaching Module on Heat Loss
Organization/Location:
ISLES, Princeton and Trenton, NJ
Adviser(s):
Dr. Robert Harris and Prof. Catherine Peters

Drawing on work that I did during the year as a part of the Greentrofit team for the Princeton EPICS (Engineering Projects in Community Service) program, I spent my summer working with Dr. Robert Harris and ISLES in Trenton to create a teaching module useful in job training programs aimed at students receiving instruction in energy audits and weatherization.  The teaching module was composed of an overview of heat transfer concepts relevant to heat loss from a house in the winter, an explanation and examples of calculations for convective, conductive, and boiler inefficiency heat losses, and instruction in how to use an excel spreadsheet that modeled heat losses from a house during the heating season.  Using an example application of the energy model to a real house in Trenton that I developed with the EPICS team during the year, students are able to learn how to calculate heat losses themselves using the energy model.  Nearing the conclusion of my internship, I conducted an interactive one-day training session at the ISLES Center for Energy and Environmental Training (CEET) as a beta test of this teaching module and revised the course materials based on feedback following the test.

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Project:
Mid-Infrared Quantum Cascade Lasers and Laser Spectroscopy
Organization/Location:
Princeton University
Adviser(s):
Claire Gmachl

Dr. Gmachl's lab at Princeton researches quantum cascade laser technology as part of the Mid-Infrared Technologies for Health and the Environment (MIRTHE) organization. Quantum cascade lasers are an excellent source of coherent laser light in the mid-infrared, but there are no powerful sources of low-coherence light, such as light emitting diodes, in that part of the spectrum. My project was to create a more energy-efficient mid-infrared LED from conventional quantum cascade lasers. This technology may have applications in medical imaging and illumination. With my partner Tiffany Ko, I designed and tested a diffuser plate made from potassium bromide that scatters laser light and scrambles the beam. My research is still in the early stages of development, but my results so far showed promise, and I plan to continue the project during the year.

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Project:
Implementing a Dynamic Parametrization of Dry Aerosol Deposition
Organization/Location:
Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL), Forrestal Campus, Princeton NJ
Adviser(s):
Dr. Paul Ginoux

My project consisted of two distinct but related parts. In order to familiarize myself with the flexible modeling system and the various development tools used at GFDL I first took an existing module that implemented a new emission scheme for mineral dust in an older version of the coupled model and moved it into a standalone version of LM3 to facilitate testing and tuning. This served as an introduction to developing and building models rather than just using them for experiments. The next step and the main focus of my internship was to implement a dynamic parametrization of dry aerosol deposition that could be used for aerosols and various gaseous species based on a previous work (M.L Wesely, 1988). This paper describes a popular way of modeling deposition analogous to electrical resistances, with multiple parallel pathways of deposition e.g. upper canopy, lower canopy, ground, etc. In order to adapt this to the land model at GFDL, the number of pathways had to be reduced since only canopy and ground resistances were available in the land model. This new deposition parametrization should allow a better assessment of the accuracy of modeled aerosol tracer emission and transport. In the future, satellite observations will be compared to modeled changes of the optical properties of the earth's surface due to aerosol deposition.

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Project:
ISLES Summer Internship
Organization/Location:
ISLES, Princeton and Trenton, NJ
Adviser(s):
Robert Harris

I worked on various sustainability and energy efficiency projects involving low-income housing. In addition, I researched the various funding opportunities available to ISLES, specifically regarding energy efficient housing improvements, I examined the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in addition to the Federal Fiscal Year 2010, in order to identify possible sources of funding for projects at ISLES. One of the major projects I worked on involved developing a system to install real-time energy monitors in low-income housing. This project was designed to help residents conserve energy, while also collecting data about energy usage in Trenton. Finally, the internship also involved working in ISLES's community gardens.

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Project:
Amorphous Silicon Solar Cell Intern
Organization/Location:
United Solar Ovonic, Troy, MI
Adviser(s):
Sigurd Wagner (Princeton) and Dr. Jeff Yang (United Solar)

This summer, I utilized my mechanical and material knowledge to repair broken and outdated machinery around the Research and Development Section of United Solar Ovonic. This streamlined the production line and allowed for more efficient research and production. I also experimented with a hundred thousand dollar piece of machinery which was inexplicably broken and unusable. I diagnosed the problem and put a plan in motion to fix it before I left for the summer. It should be fixed and in proper working condition within the month.

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Project:
Magnetic Diagnostics for the Lithium Tokamak Experiment (LTX) at PPPL
Organization/Location:
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), Princeton, NJ
Adviser(s):
Robert Kaita and Laura Berzak

LTX is a low aspect-ratio tokamak with a heated metal shell designed to be coated with liquid lithium. While magnetic fluxes through diagnostic Mirnov coils and flux loops on the LTX machine yield data which may be used to constrain plasma parameters during reconstruction, the measured signals are often highly sensitive to magnetically induced eddy currents in the conducting shell, and digital integrator circuits introduce error into the gain factors for the sensors.  Over the course of 10 weeks, I created a meshed representation of the conducting metal shell around the LTX machine for implementation into the 2D, axisymmetric LRDFIT code used to reconstruct sensor behavior in the presence of eddy currents. I compared the resultant model-predicted signals to the measured diagnostic signals, as well as to model-predicted signals from LRDFIT in the absence of the conducting shell mesh. I developed and automated a novel calibration method to account for individual sensor gain factors, which may be used on the machine in my absence.  In parallel with my work, a 3D reconstruction code was created to better account for eddy currents; the new calibration procedure will still be applicable to the new system.

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Project:
Laser Spectroscopic Carbon Dioxide Sensor Network for Surface and Sub-Surface Monitoring of Geologic Carbon Sequestration Sites
Organization/Location:
Princeton University
Adviser(s):
Gerard Wysocki

This project centered on the development of a wireless sensor network for trace gas detection using mid-Infra Red Quantum Cascade Lasers. Existing electronics were insufficient for this task, so custom electronics had to be developed. My contribution to the project included the development of hardware to drive and control the temperature of the laser. I developed the electronics through the full production cycle: schematic capture, board layout, and physical prototype testing. This process gave me an opportunity to put into practice many of the theories and lessons that I had learned in the classroom but had not had the opportunity to put into practice. Getting the system running required modifying existing software as well as developing my own software.

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Project:
Using A Polymer Electrochemical Hydrogen Pump for Energy Efficient Recovery of Hydrogen from Reformate Streams
Organization/Location:
Princeton University
Adviser(s):
Jay B. Benziger

Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells are traditionally used in a galvanic mode to produce electrical energy from chemical reactions. However, when operated in an electrolytic fashion they can function as a polymer electrochemical hydrogen pump (PEcHP). PEcHP selectively oxidizes and transports hydrogen across the polymer membrane while leaving charged neutral species behind. This technology may prove especially useful in purifying hydrogen from reformate streams, which consists primarily of hydrogen and carbon dioxide. The specific aim of this project was to determine the performance of the PEcHP under various reformate ratios, temperatures, and flow rates. We hope to optimize this process so as to provide a more energy efficient means of industrial hydrogen purification in the future.

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Project:
Renewable Energy Internship
Organization/Location:
Princeton University
Adviser(s):
Tom Kreutz

This summer, I examined possible solutions to a problem that Princeton University is facing regarding its carbon footprint. The University wishes to reduce its carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, but 25% of that reduction goal remains undetermined--the first 75% will be comprised of comprehensive energy efficiency projects. During my internship, I delved into the areas of renewable energy and environmental legislation in New Jersey. My research focused on Renewable Energy Certificates, carbon offsets, renewable energy installation, and incentive programs in our state and those offered under cap-and-trade legislation. Due to many convoluted additionality concerns--a term which refers here to the degree to which a certain entity is responsible for carbon reductions--I determined that the most sensible thing for Princeton to do, given current economic and legislative conditions, would be to buy good carbon offsets.

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Project:
Design a small “diamond-channel” fuel cell and testing its water-management performance
Organization/Location:
State Key Lab of Material Synthesis, Wuhan University of Technology
Adviser(s):
Jay Benziger (CHE) and Mu Pan (Wuhan University of Technology)

I designed a diamond-shaped channel which is fitted into a small (5cm X 5cm) fuel cell. With it I performed various testing to study its performance in water-management, which is a traditional problem for fuel cell systems working at higher humidity conditions or for longer time range. Comparisons were made with a 5cm X 5cm regular serpentine-channel fuel cell. Besides, throughout the internship I also had the opportunity to participate in testing and assembling of regular fuel cells for the lab.

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Project:
Water Diffusion in a Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell
Organization/Location:
Princeton University
Adviser(s):
Jay Benziger

As Fuel Cells continue to be a source of interest and great potential in the search for more efficient, cleaner energy sources there is still a great deal to be learned and improved upon in their design.  While there are many different kinds of fuel cells, each with their own inherent advantages and disadvantages, this research focused on Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells.  A Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell takes Hydrogen and Oxygen as its two reactants and produces only water as a product. For this reason it is a source of great interest in the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Meanwhile, the Nafion membrane used in most Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells exhibits drastically different properties at different saturation levels.  For this reason, it’s exceedingly important to study the properties of Nafion over the range of the fuel cell’s operating conditions and saturation levels.  This research focused on diffusion rates of water in a Nafion fuel cell at varying pressures and temperatures and refining the methods used in their determination.  While technical difficulties ultimately limited the extent of the study, additional studies should be conducted to determine how pre-stressing the membrane alters water diffusion rates along the direction of the stresses.

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Project:
Characterizing relationships between surface ozone and temperature over the United States: Insights into chemistry-climate interactions
Organization/Location:
Geophysical and Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL), Forrestal Campus, Princeton, NJ
Adviser(s):
Arlene Fiore and Larry Horowitz (GFDL)

Climate models from around the world are used by the Intergovermental Panel for Climate Change in order to assess effect of human activity on the global climate. A relatively new direction is to include chemistry in these models, allowing for projections of climate change on air quality (ozone and aerosols in surface air). To date, the ability of global chemistry-climate models to reproduce observed correlations between temperature (or any meteorological index) and air quality has not been evaluated. Furthermore, many of these models (including the GFDL chemistry-climate model) exhibit a large positive bias in surface ozone over the eastern United States, casting doubts on their reliability for this application. It is well known that surface ozone correlates strongly with temperature over the eastern United States in summer.  I analyzed observations of surface ozone and temperature over the United States to explore whether there are broad regional patterns in this relationship that we can use to test the models. This information could also tell us if some of the model bias is associated with inaccuracies in the surface temperature simulation. I also looked to both interannual and seasonal variability across the US.   Some of the findings include the different sensitivities to temperature in ozone production in different regions of the US, which might tell us something about the processes going on in those regions.   To further evaluate the current model, I developed diagnostic code in order to quickly assess the bias of the current model run.

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Project:
Science and business journalist intern with the New York Times
Organization/Location:
The New York Times/ New York City, New York
Adviser(s):
Elizabeth Rosenthal (guest professor)

I worked at the New York Times for a total of 8 weeks--from the second week of June until the last week of July.  Throughout the entire summer, I was given tasks to be completed by my departure date.  I fixed grammatical errors in the New York Times' Green Inc. blog wordpress, and I compiled a sixty page data sheet of similar websites/ blogs to the Green Inc. blog.  Each work day, I updated facebook and twitter news standings for followers of energy and environment information of the New York Times.  Every day, I completed a comprehensive google news search for the business editors of the energy and environment section of the Times.  I would send a url, with a few detailed sentences explaining the news, to the editors on solar power, wind power, geothermal energy, biodiesel gas, and eight other climate change/environmental topics.  Often, Times' writers picked up these news blurbs for their own stories.  The rest of my time at the Times was geared towards researching story topics, cold-calling people for interviews, meeting with people in the city  to learn about my story topic, working with New York Times writers on draft changes, and simply, writing for the blog and helping Tom Zeller Jr. and Kate Zeller blog post for the Green Inc. blog of the New York Times.  My published works: http://greeninc.blogs.nytimes.com/author/sara-peters/.

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Project:
Opportunity in Plasma Science & Technology, PPPL
Organization/Location:
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), Princeton, NJ
Adviser(s):
Herschel Rabitz

This summer, I worked on a theoretical project involving radiation-matter interaction. This is very important in energy research, especially in the areas of fusion sciences and solar radiation conversion. Research on the subject has moved beyond the question of what physics actually underlies this interaction, to explore how materials and radiation can be tailored in order to influence and even control this fundamental interaction. One of the areas in which this study is being pursued is that of cloaking. In this area, a primary goal is to create materials that can shape the path and radiation pattern of light in order to make that material appear invisible to an observer. A natural extension to this quest is to tailor the light incident on the cloak in such a way that it can interact with the cloak in order to create a different radiation pattern to make the cloak visible to the observer. Whereas cloaking attempts to control the fundamental radiation-matter interaction by tailoring the material, decloaking attempts to control this by tailoring the incident radiation. My summer research aimed to first understand and formulate the recently emerging documented cloaking effect and then to discover if light can be tailored to undermine this effect. Over the course of the summer, I was able to gain this understanding of cloaking that I sought. However, I plan to continue this work, throughout the year, to delve into decloaking.

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Project:
METLA - Finnish Forest Research Institute
Organization/Location:
METLA, Finnish Forest Research Institute, Vantaa, Finland
Adviser(s):
Harri Makinen and Tuula Jyske

I worked at METLA, the Finnish Forest Research Institute, in Vantaa Finland. I was working on the CambGrow project studying the cell formation in two species of tree over a growing season. The purpose of this research was to learn more about how tracheid cells are produced throughout a growing season and to compare results from trees in different geographical locations as well as different soils. I worked in a lab to prepare slides and then analyzed the slides using a microscope and measurement software. Besides my lab work, I had the opportunity to attend several presentations on various aspects of forestry in Finland and helped to edit manuscripts for researchers in my group.

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Project:
Identifying the Nitrogen Sources to Plankton Groups in the Surface Ocean by Coupling Flow Cytometry and Stable Isotope Measurements
Organization/Location:
Princeton University & Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS), Bermuda
Adviser(s):
Daniel Sigman

My project involved studying the stable isotope fractionation of nitrogen during nitrate uptake and assimilation in both a lab grown diatom culture and in a field experiment from nitrate limited water of the Sargasso Sea. The lab culture was grown in order to model an isotope fractionation curve typical of nitrate uptake in a nitrate limited system. The field experiments and samples, which were taken during a seven-day research cruise out of the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS), will be analyzed to give insight to the nitrate sources in the Sargasso Sea. Nitrate, which is a vital nutrient to the photosynthetic plankton living in the surface ocean, is quickly used up in the subtropical Sargasso Sea due to the abundance of sunlight and therefore high levels of photosynthesis and is one of the limiting factors to photosynthetic production in this region. Nitrogen cycling and sources have been studied in the Sargasso Sea, but my project aimed to study this cycling in further detail by sorting the bulk phytoplankton biomass by species via flow cytometry and looking at the individual species’ sources of nitrate

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Project:
Mercury Methylation
Organization/Location:
Princeton University
Adviser(s):
Francois Morel

I investigated mercury methylation and uptake in /Geobacter/ sulfurreducens. I looked into the effects of cysteine and zinc on the methylation rate. I ran experiments to see if the Zn competed with mercury for uptake or if the zinc limited the rate of growth of the cells.

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