CSURF

Jin-Si Over ('17, Geology and Oceanography)

Photo of Ben Shoesmith What do you do for your undergraduate research?

I work in Dr. Andrea Hawkes lab, which is focused on Coastal and Marine Geology. In a Directed Independent Study, I have been looking at cores from Newfoundland, South Africa, local sites, and other locations to find foraminifera, microscopic single-celled marine organisms. You can use them to reconstruct former sea levels by using a statistically based relationship between contemporary forams and their correlation to elevation and fossil foram assemblages. Along with picking forams, we take organic samples to radio-carbon date (14C) and also use 137Cs dating. The research also involves field work in the marshes - taking cores and doing stratigraphy.

What made you want to pursue an undergraduate research project?

I like being active in science, as classes can only teach you so much, and so I wanted to be able to get hands-on experience in the lab as soon as I could. I also want to research something no one else has studied yet and get recognized for the work I've done.

How did you start your research project?

Fall my freshman year I took an Honors Intro to Oceanography class, and after talking with the professor, she said she could start me on a project the next semester. So I started in the spring, I came into the lab at CMS, and it turned into a DIS. I must have done something right, because she asked if I wanted to return in the summer for a job doing research! Here I am, and I would like to continue and possibly find an honors thesis project in Oceanography and/or Geology.

Was doing your own research fun? Be Honest.

I really enjoy working in the lab, but I wouldn't call it fun… there are times it can be (playing in the mud), but mostly it's a lot of hard work and time spent. You MUST love what you do, because you are going to be doing a lot of it, enough of it to get sick of it. Like eating ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it's great until you've been doing it for months. But, it is extremely rewarding, you learn a ton and it's nice to get to know other students and professors.

It isn't required to do research as an undergrad, so what advantages do you think this experience has provided you?

It puts me ahead of everyone else who hasn't done undergrad research MUAH HA HA! But seriously, it's an experience that grad schools and employers like to see, especially since I got an early start. It is also an excellent advantage to find that this is the right environment I can thrive in. This summer has proved that I do want to try for a career in this field. My experience has also gotten me closer with the faculty and grad students. Overall, looks great on a resume, and I've made friends!

What recognition and/or grants did you receive for your research?

I am being paid from a grant for this summer and have been hired for the academic year too! I plan on eventually presenting at the Geological Society of America Conference.

What are your plans after you receive your degree from UNCW?

After I graduate, I would like to pursue a master's degree and possibly a PhD. Then a job with the government working with coastal issues or teaching. Or any job that allows me to travel.

Click here to view more Research Stories!