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Growing up in the woods of northern Vermont, Audrey honed her interest in science in biology and forestry classes with high school teacher Chris Masson ’91. She did an independent study with Chris on macro-invertebrates in streams, and it was an easy decision to choose UVM, Environmental Sciences, and water resources. A Green and Gold Scholar, a Lola Aiken Scholar, and an Honors College student, she interned with the Vermont EPSCoR streams project and learned how to conduct laboratory chemistry tests on stream water samples.
With a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates award, Audrey worked with Professor Charles Driscoll of Syracuse University at the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study site in New Hampshire. She measured acidity and nutrient levels in streams and ponds of the White Mountains to help determine why levels have changed in recent years. For her honors thesis work with advisor Professor Mary Watzin, Audrey investigated these changing trends in water chemistry using existing Hubbard Brook data from the 1980s and 90s and her own data.
While there, Audrey also attended workshops to help researchers better communicate science to the general public. "As scientists, we get caught up in research and data and forget about why we are doing the research in the first place." To help disseminate student findings to the public, she created a blog for the research program at http://hubbardbrook.blogs.plymouth.edu.
A semester abroad in Sweden through the International Student Exchange Program broadened her view of environmental and aquatic research. "I was impressed with how well Swedish scientists apply what they learn from research to environmental problems such as lake eutrophication." Audrey is headed to graduate school at the University of Toronto where she will continue her research interests and study aquatic zooplankton.