Interns & Volunteers

Our interns and volunteers are invaluable at BRIT. In this series, they discuss their experiences with us.

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Recent Articles

Micromorphology of DFW Metroplex Fern and Lycophyte Spores

This article was written by Ivan Rosales, 2019 BRIT Summer Intern and student at University of Texas at Arlington. Ivan interned with Dr. Alejandra Vasco , working on fern diversity and anatomy. Who Would Have Thought to Look? The Micromorphology of DFW Metroplex Fern and Lycophyte Spores Anthony van Leeuwenhoek was a scientist from the Netherlands who discovered and described for the first-time bacteria, microscopic protists, sperm cells, blood cells, microscopic nematodes, rotifers, and much more. Even centuries after Leeuwenhoek first looked at a drop of pond water through his early microscope invention and saw microscopic creatures, people still asked, “Who would have thought to look?” I asked myself the same question after seeing my first mounted fern spore using BRIT’s Scanning Elect...
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Saga of the Texas Prairie

This article was written by Edward Bickett, 2019 BRIT Summer Intern and student at University of Texas at Arlington. Edward interned with Dr. Brooke Best and Resident Research Associate Dan Caudle , working with the All Saints Episcopal School Biodiversity Assessment Project within the Prairie Research Program (PReP). “What hidden treasures lie within this sea of grass?” Part One: The Lonesome Road The Lonesome Road, a misnomer in name as my companions kept me company, yet its length was undeniable. The Lonesome Road spanned the fields of Natural Prairie and The Cultivated Field alike, all the way into the tree line towards the eastern edge of the prairie. Through fields of lemon bee-balm and King Ranch bluestem. Past mesquite and hackberry the journey of the summer began with this transec...
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My Research Internship: An education beyond expectations

This article was written by Erin Flinchbaugh, 2019 BRIT Summer Intern and student at University of Texas at Arlington. Erin interned with Conservation Botanist Kim Taylor , working with the NatureServe Conservation Status Ranks and Mapping Rare Plants on Roadsides projects within the Texas Plant Conservation Program . Beginning my internship at BRIT, I expected many of my passions to be shared by the people surrounding me: a passion for our natural world, its conservation, restoration, and preservation were the common ground we shared. When I started my internship I didn’t expect to find myself invested in the direction of tiny hairs faced on a stem, squatting down in the dirt (and once an ant pile) to further inspect and then debate the trichomes. This summer I was mentored by Kim Taylor...
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The Importance of Studying Natural History Collections Past, Present, and Future

Article written by Lani DuFresne, 2018 BRIT Herbarium and Research Intern and student at Rice University. Out of everything I’ve learned so far in my education, cursive was one of the few skills I expected I’d never use. And yet, as I spent part of my summer trying to decipher the hastily scrawled, elaborate handwritten script a botanist from the 1880’s used in his collection notes, I found myself unexpectedly grateful for it. Lani and Dr. Alejandra Vasco In all fairness, nothing else I did that summer was a task I would have expected to come across during my internship at BRIT with Dr. Alejandra Vasco , an expert on ferns. I participated in a project that aims to understand the history, distribution, diversity, and conservation challenges of native ferns in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex...
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Back For More

This article was written by Serina Taluja, 2018 BRIT Summer Intern and student at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign . Serina interned with Research Manager and Special Collections Librarian Alyssa Young working on aspects of scicomm (science communication). In April 2018, I was overjoyed to receive an email from Alyssa Young offering me the chance to come back and intern at BRIT for the second summer in a row. I spend the previous summer (2017) at BRIT, learning what a herbarium was, why it was important, and how I could contribute to it. I was excited to return to BRIT for another summer of learning! This summer definitely lived up to my expectations, and I’m now in my senior year in the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Molecular and Cellular Biology program. The prev...
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A Summer Deep in the Weeds: Surprises Found Along the Way

Article written by Kelly Carroll, 2018 BRIT Herbarium and Research Intern and student at Trinity University. Kelly interned with Dr. Brooke Best and Resident Research Associate Dan Caudle , working with the All Saints Episcopal School Biodiversity Assessment Project within the Prairie Research Program (PReP). The property doesn’t look like much, driving by – a sea of seemingly uniform brown grass studded with mesquite trees, bordered by development and what looks to be a small-scale hackberry forest with a dry creek-bed running through it. Of course, everything looks different when you get close enough to see detail. Still, I didn’t have very high expectations when I arrived with Dan Caudle , a BRIT Resident Research Associate and grass and prairie expert, in May of 2018 to do a survey of...
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A Day as a Botanical Illustrator

Article written by Isabella Wu, 2018 BRIT Herbarium and Research Intern and student at Emory University. Clear skies heralded a warm afternoon with no cover from the blazing sun. I was on my way to the LBJ Grasslands an hour away from the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (more commonly referred to as “BRIT”) where this whole herbarium adventure began. Kim Taylor, who is a rare plants expert at BRIT, had planned an outing to assess a new species first published two years ago in 2016. Memory’s Rose, latin name Rosa memoryae, sounded so good and beautiful. But there was a real possibility that it might not actually be a new species but rather a variation of the abundant Rosa foliolosa. We intended to find out. More specifically, we were going to collect the plant and record the number an...
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My Summer Education: The Microscopic World

This post was written by Vanessa Marshall, 2017 summer intern and student at The University of Alabama. BRIT has been amazing – a catalyst that has unlocked the doors to the natural world and shown me wonders that I had never fully appreciated. I have always loved hiking, climbing trees, being outside in general, but my connection to the surrounding plant-life was distant, similar to the relationship between a homeowner and the trees that form the hardwood floors. I appreciated plants’ beauty and enjoyed the shade, but now there is a definite connection between my (limited) scientific knowledge and the physical plants. It means so much more to know the scientific name of a tree you just ran past, or to recognize Vitis mustangensis and know that you can eat the wild grapes growing on the vi...
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