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REU China: Summer 2012

Research Experience


A Partnership Between

Alabama A&M University and

Nanjing Forestry University


Erin Brechbiel

Arizona State University

Class of 2013


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What is NSF REU?


AAMU (Alabama Agricultural & Mechanical University)


REU China webpage


NFU (Nanjing Forestry University)


ASU (Arizona State University)


School of Life Sciences

at ASU




Description: K:\Pics for webpage\100_0307.JPG          My name is Erin Marie Brechbiel, and I am a rising senior at Arizona State University. During the school year, I live in sunny Tempe, Arizona. In the summer, I usually retreat back home to Lowell, Michigan to beat the heat. This summer, however, there was something different in store for me. I was hoping to come across a summer internship that would tie together my future goals with my current studies, and I applied to a handful of different research programs. If my efforts were unsuccessful, I would simply return home and begin the desperate search for a summer job. Traveling to China to do research with REU China was an ambitious, if not lofty, dream- but miraculously that dream became reality.

          I was accepted to the program this Spring, receiving a phone call from AAMU in March congratulating me for being chosen. From that point on, preparation for the trip was in full swing. There were forms to fill out, history and culture lessons to be had, a foreign language to become familiar with, and endless other mental and material preparations. 

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The group before leaving AAMU.


          Despite all this, it was difficult to even picture what living and researching in China might be like. It wasn’t until our group left the country, embarking on a fifteen hour flight to Shanghai, that it really became clear that I would be spending the next six weeks in China- for better or for worse.

          I am one of the most fortunate college students in the nation. This program was the first REU program EVER to bring American undergraduate students to China, and I was given the chance to participate alongside seven peers. Without the organizers at AAMU and NFU, and the support from NSF, the eight of us would have missed out on what certainly proved to be the experience of a lifetime.


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On a field trip in Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province.



Research Experience


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