Alright everybody, it’s time to let the cat out of the bag!  Recently I applied for a Research Assistantship through the REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) program at CTIO.  REU programs are typically in the summer in the US, but given that this one is in Chile, summer falls a little differently.  The program runs for 10 weeks from January to March and accepts six students from the US each year.

The big news?  Last Friday, I found out I was offered one of the six positions!  Elated, I’ve spent the last week sharing the news with family, friends, and various people on campus.

It’s funny; I recently thought the title of this blog had started to slip toward being a misnomer, but now it’s as relevant as ever!  I’m excited beyond words to have this opportunity, but it’s bittersweet too.  Knowing I’ll be leaving campus for a semester is nerve-racking, partially from the thought of leaving my position on residence hall staff but even more from the thought of leaving friends for a semester, especially the seniors.  I had been talking a lot with my friend Patrick about it while I waited to hear back about my application.  He kept me calm and we realized it would be bittersweet either way.  Don’t get me wrong, things couldn’t have turned out any better!

It felt strange not to register for spring classes on Monday and I’ve been working on getting some other technicalities taken care of on campus as well.  Today was a great day for me doing on campus.  We’ve been receiving a lot of data from a friend/colleague of Dr. French’s recently, and after a couple weeks of figuring out all the necessary adjustments on our end, I finally got the data reduced all the way!  Yesterday was a little disappointing, but I straightened everything out today!

Last week, I finished the first draft of my latest project: a manual/guide for the process we use to reduce the data.  After enough problem-solving this summer, Dr. French and I realized how useful it would be to get our various fixes organized into one document.  First draft: size 11 font, single spaced, 21 pages long, and over 7000 words.  Now I’m spending some time working from this document to see which sections need some tweaking or improvement.  The guide, aside from being a useful tool for me, will soon be a starting point for students new to doing research with Dr. French.

I know there are still more items on the to-do list before I leave campus, but for now I’m on cloud nine!