My REU Experience in REU in China

Rashidah H. Farid

Alabama A & M University

Summer, 2012 



AAMU- Alabama         A & M University






NFU- Nanjing Forestry University



NSF- National Science Foundation





USDA- United States Department of Agriculture





Hi! I am a Master’s graduate student at Alabama A & M University.  As a youth in rural Henry County Alabama, I spent many days in solitude with nature. The woodlands of my backyard were my personal playground. It was there that I developed my passion for wildlife and ecology. I recall being captivated while watching for hours an active ant hill or the IMAG0599locomotion of a millipede. These activities then, as a youth, were simply entertaining and yet soothing. In those early moments of my life, I learned patience and developed my life passion for wildlife and conservation.  My first lesson in compassion was taught to me in an odd but interesting manner. It was through the “quick kill” that I was mostly intrigued; the nature of a predator and the art of survival. It was as a young girl that I found that compassion is respect, appreciation, and the ability to understand that every organism has its purpose.

As a freshman at Tuskegee University I majored in Animal Science and was fortunate to join MANRRS (Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences). With MANRRS I learned leadership and networking skills. During the duration of my various offices, I developed from just a volunteer to Community Service Chairperson, Business Manager, Chapter President, and past 2006-2007 National Region III Undergraduate Vice President. MANRRS has taught me professionalism, leadership, and an unwavering dedication to community service. It was through MANRRS that gain my first internship with US National Fish and Wildlife Service at Back Bay NWR, Virginia Beach, VA. There I gained a wealth of knowledge while working with sea turtles and the invasive species management team. 

After graduation, I had the pleasure of working with the US Park Service in Denali NP, Alaska. In Denali I work on the Road Study to examine the effects of tourist traffic on migratory patterns of Dall Sheep and sediment deposits on native vegetation growth. Working in Denali was physically and mentally demanding. As the only African American in the Wildlife Branch, there were often moments of interesting social situations. These were learning opportunities, which have giving me an appreciation for cultural differences and have developed my personality conflict management skills. In 2009, I join Quantitative Ecological Services, Inc. and begin working as a contractor for the Department of Defense. Working for the US Army has taught me discipline and the importance of completion. At Fort Polk, I learned to mange projects with limited time frames. I am most proud of designing and managing the completion of over 1.4 million dollars of sustainable land improvements and natural resources protection projects.  

   When I began my master’s work at AAMU, I felt that I was well prepare to manage my project with discipline and would be able to gain the molecular skills needed to pursue a career in conservation genetics. For many species, conservations efforts are becoming more global. As a conservationist, it is important to examine the ecological responses of similar species around the world in order to manage the future changes in habitat we can anticipate here due to climate change. As a future molecular biologist, it is imperative that I learn a diverse number of techniques as while as study a wide range of tissues. The summer internship to China enhanced my skill sets as a molecular biologist.  Additionally, I was delighted to serve as a mentor to the undergraduate REU participates. 













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