Manali Gokhale, 2016, Chemical and Biological Engineering

During my summer at Mpala Research Centre, I worked to measure the population trends of important wildlife species of the Mpala area. The data collected on the populations of several mammal and bird species, many of which are threatened or endangered, was then compared with previous years as part of an ongoing project. In the future, this data will be compared to data from a newer, ranger-based method of measuring populations, in order to test the effectiveness of the newer method. To collect my data, I would systematically travel in specific paths around Mpala and use rangefinders, compasses, and GPS devices to keep a record of sightings. From my internship, I came away with a greater understanding of the challenges involved in field work, as well as of the ecosystem and conservation efforts surrounding Mpala. The fulfilling nature of carrying out an independent project over the course of my internship encouraged me to continue pursuing research science. As a chemical engineering major interested in conservation, I found this opportunity to begin contributing to environmental efforts immeasurably rewarding.