Meet the VS Summer Interns - Episode 2
- Ruthie Hawley and Jeffrey Rubel are both interns this summer at Vital Signs. They have been working very hard since they have arrived, but they managed to set aside a few minutes to introduce themselves to you. In this second installment, you will meet Ruthie.
Our interview with Ruthie Hawley, "The Wild Carrot":
Tell us a little about you.
Originally I am from Washington state. I grew up in the small town of Poulsbo, on the Kitsap Peninsula across from Seattle. However, I consider myself a foster Mainer because I have spent every summer of my life on Southport Island (near Boothbay Harbor) and now attend Colby College in Waterville. At Colby I am pursuing degrees in two of my favorite areas of study: girl power and flower power. In other words, I am attempting to double in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Environmental Policy. I am also on the women's soccer team at Colby and this past year enjoyed working with Skowhegan Middle School students doing Vital Signs field studies.
My favorite native plant in Maine? Well..... I suppose that would have to be either the the wild carrot (the blogger name I have adopted this summer) or the lobster. Yum! But only with vinegar. Not butter.
On the invasive end, my heart has always had a special place for the invasive lupine, which symbolizes imagination in the flower world, but after diligent edits (which included updating the card with some great user-generated photos) to the Japanese knotweed card I have began to see it EVERYWHERE and thus, it has begun invading lupine's spot in my heart. No pun intended. (Pun intended) Growing up between the Puget Sound & Hood Canal in WA and on Southport Island, the coastal habitat is and will probably always be, my favorite habitat. I certainly feel placed there. That brings me to my favorite smell... There is nothing better than the aroma of the salty sea.
Briefly describe what you are doing at Vital Signs this summer.
This summer I am working in the species card factory. It is located in the 3rd floor open office. If you ever wander into the factory you will likely find me hunched over my laptop, wearing an ugly red pair of grandma style reading glasses, or shaking my head at misbehaving species cards that have been pinned in shame to "The Naughty List."
I also have embarked on a journey to humiliate myself publicly on the Vital Signs community blog by creating an invasive species web video series highlighting important invasive species present in the state. While I am quite proud of the info the videos provide on invasive species, I must say they are quite embarrassing. But oh well, you do what you do for good science.
What excites you about the contributions you are making to the Vital Signs community?
By incorporating more photos that students have taken into existing species cards I hope to get students excited about their field work and catalyze their collecting! Improvements to the cards could also allow for these cards to be used by organizations not associated with Vital Signs. They are awesome and the world should know. Speaking of world enlightenment, I am excited to use my self-embarrassment to potentially educate students and citizen scientists about some important invasives in Maine.
How does what you are doing this summer at Vital Signs fit with your own plans for career exploration?
What does Vital Signs have to do with trees and women, you ask? Directly, I am learning about important species in Maine's various ecosystems. I am also working with some kick-butt women here in the Vital Signs factory, Smo, Christine V. and Sarah Kirn. In the long run, given that one day I hope to work on eliminating environmental and social factors that affect the health of women around the world (which I have no idea how I will do), I'm not sure how the species card factory will directly influence my future path in the forest of female healthcare, but I am sure it will in some way.
During this experience, what have you learned about yourself and your interests?
The internship for me is not even halfway over, and so I am afraid I don't know have too much to add to this question, but I'm sure in the end I will be able to offer a thorough reflection.