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Purpan Student Jade Maurin Writes About KBS Experience PDF Print E-mail
KBS News
Tuesday, 30 October 2012 12:17

Jade Maurin and Marie Denizot, students from Purpan University in Toulouse, France, completed internships at the Kellogg Biological Station this past summer. Jade completed her internship at the KBS Dairy, working with Dr. Santiago Utsumi and his lab. Marie completed her internship working for the Long-term Ecological Research (LTER) program with Dr. Julie Doll and Stacey Vanderwulp.

For the past few years, KBS has hosted interns from Purpan University, an agricultural school that requires that students complete study-abroad internships as part of the university's academic program.

The following is a summary of Jade's experience at KBS:

The end of my second year of University points the beginning of a new experience, a three month internship abroad in an English speaking country.

My friend Marie Denizot and I study at Ecole d’Ingenieurs de PURPAN in the city of Toulouse, in France.

Ecole d’Ingenieurs de PURPAN is a Graduate School of Agriculture and related industries with a 5-year Master’s Degree program. At the end of our second year, we are required to go abroad to work on a farm, laboratory or similar institution linked to farm product, food or nature.

Purpan’s Internship Abroad Program has been in place since 1985 and every year sends approximately 200 students abroad. The objectives of the internship are to give us an experience in farming, research or industry in a foreign environment, but most of all to discover another culture. This internship is an opportunity for us to live in another country and is a good way to learn the language.

After spending three months on a French farm at the end of my first year of University, I wanted to experience working at a research station. I am very interested in biology and all things related to nature. I had never worked at research center before, and I was very curious to learn how it worked and if I could go on with this interest after I graduate. I found out about the W. K. Kellogg Biological Station (KBS) because of the partnership KBS and MSU has with my school. This is the third year that students from PURPAN have worked at KBS in the summer. I find it wonderful that KBS develops programs for students and encourages them to set up their own research.

The Kellogg Biological Station was the perfect place for us to be: the close proximity of natural and managed habitats makes it ideal to experience lab and field work. I worked with Dr. Santiago Utsumi, a professor in Animal Science. His research program focuses on the foraging behavior of dairy cattle at the KBS Dairy Farm. Marie was mentored by Dr. Julie Doll and Stacey Vanderwulp from the Long-term Ecological Research (LTER) program. This program looks at the ecology of agriculture, helping us to understand how agriculture impacts the environment.

Both of us got to experience working in a lab team, talking to graduate and undergraduate students, and learning more about KBS research. We have worked both in the field and in the lab, for instance, we learned how to take gas samples, sort plants, and use GPS equipment in the field.

We also had a chance to attend some conferences about ecology. KBS is doing a great job to spread their knowledge and expertise with students and other scientists. They have many events, like research seminars, during the week that I got to participate to.

Through the month of July, we lived at KBS with other students from Michigan State University and other colleges. It allowed us to make friends and we got to travel around the state with them during the weekends and experience the American culture.

This experience helped me realize that research is not something you can do all by yourself; it is very important to work in a team and to gather the knowledge of everyone.

What I will remember most about KBS is all the people I worked with. Everyone has been very nice and helpful. I have also been lucky enough to have a mentor who quickly trusted me, which is highly motivating for a young undergraduate student.

It was a wonderful summer.