Jonah Gray is a senior in Agronomy and Environmental Science at Iowa State University, and this summer, he was a virtual undergraduate research intern for Kansas State University. Many students became accustomed to remote internships in this past year, Jonah being one of them. Since his internship was virtual, he could do it from Ames and still had the opportunity to build relationships with the other interns and research staff.
With this being a remote position, Jonah was responsible for planning out his day-to-day activity and ensuring he was keeping on track. Every day Jonah had a scheduled meeting with the K-State faculty and graduate students. He and the other interns were able to participate in virtual field trips and work on professional development. Throughout the week, he was also able to meet with his research mentor, who could support him in ensuring he was staying on track with his research. His daily work consisted of reading papers, collecting data, and using bio-informatics technology to create visual representations of the bacterial genomes that he was studying.
Jonah was able to attend a virtual plant pathology conference towards the end of his summer with K-State. The American Pyto-pathological society put on the conference. “It was exciting to be able to attend and listen to the presentations from very well renowned scientists in the field,” Jonah shared.
From his experience, he realized that he wants to stay in the academic realm and continue on a track to a Ph.D. His reasoning for this is that in the future, he too will be able to become a scientist and have the opportunity to conduct his own research. His internship experience with Kansas State University allowed him to prove that he has the skills and knowledge necessary to research independently.