Friday, July 13, 2018

Final blog and thank yous

It’s been 15 days since I’ve left Fisi Camp and it already feels like a lifetime has passed. As cliché as it sounds, it’s difficult to put in words how much this experience has changed my life. I came into the project in the hopes that I would gain valuable field experience for graduate school and more importantly to see if I enjoyed fieldwork. I can safely say that both goals have been accomplished and then some.
Not only did I love field work, I gained so much knowledge about so many things: How to run a camp, check a car, unstick a car from the mud, work with our camp staff, get along with a small group of people for an extended period of time, and a lot more. It’s safe to say that I am not the same person that left for Kenya a year ago, and I would like to thank a few people for doing that.

To all my co RA’s: Morgan, Mary, Leah, Allie, Emily B. Thank you for all the laughs, pulling me out of the mud, and for showing me new ways to think.

To the grad students: Lily, Connie, Olivia, and Julie. Thank you guys for letting me be apart in your projects and for the advice about life and grad school.

To the guys: Joseph, Chief, Samwell, Lesinqo, Steven, and Sasine. You guys are what make camp so special. You all don’t just keep camp maintained and make amazing meals, you opened up your hearts and let me become apart of your family.

Kay and Dee: you two are the most dedicated, hardest working, hilarious duo I’ve ever met. You both set the bar for what a scientist should be like, thank you for giving me this amazing experience.

Benson: You are a truly rare and incredible human being. You’re ability to teach anyone with such patience, kindness, and encouragement is a true gift. How different of a world it would be if everyone taught like you. Thank you for being a rock solid friend and teacher.

Now that I’m back in the States I will be starting graduate school this August in Dr. Martin Muller’s lab at the University of New Mexico. Where I’ll be getting my PhD in Evolutionary Anthropology studying chimpanzees in the Kibale National Park in Uganda. Undoubtedly, the skills I’ve gained from my year in the hyena project will prove invaluable for this and all of my future endeavors.

“ I think I’m quite ready for another adventure!” --- Bilbo, The Return of the King.

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