Nicole Borncamp, 2014, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

“I interned in the Woodrow Wilson School’s STEP program assisting a post-doctoral ­researcher with his studies concerning South African climate change and it’s effect on crop production. The goal of the project was to determine which areas were the most productive for crops and how these areas’ productivity levels have changed as the climate has. (Our findings were presented late summer at a symposium in South ­Africa.) This allows researchers to develop a model to determine which areas can be used in the future for agriculture. My role in the project was to work on various ­computer programs to reach a conclusion about the accuracy of crop data points by ­observing graphical models and pixel resolution. This information allowed me to ­correctly ­examine the crops’ growth progression through the years and present the ­visual data to the post-doctoral researcher. The internship allowed me to get a first hand look at biodiversity, climate change, and agriculture in a particularly variable region, as well as become proficient with statistical computer programs. It greatly increased my interest in environmental studies and gave me a great look into the intricacies of this developmental challenge in South Africa.”