Santa Rosa Island Summer Internship

Hi Dr.Wooten,
I just wanted to thank you for providing me with this incredible opportunity and helping all of the RHS participants with transportation and food. I really enjoyed working with May on her research about song sparrows. I was also able to work with three undergrads on their research on wind and water currents and nutrient accumulation on beaches, the study of shrub oaks in certain locations on the island, and the measurement and occurrence of different types of grasses and shrubs (annual/perennial) near the bluffs and at Black Rock. This was truly a wonderful experience!

Thank you once again!


Santa Rosa Channel Islands is an amazing island with a lot of diversity, and going there with my teachers and fellow students has been great experience. The first time was in the second semester of my freshman year, in April of 2016, with Dr. Wooten, Ms. Morris, Mr. Sadeghi, the AP Biology students, and a handful of Biomedical Science students as part of the DNA Barcoding of bees. On my second trip to Santa Rosa the past summer (2016), my fellow Reseda students and I helped some of the Cal State Channel Island undergraduates with their research projects. I personally got to help three researchers in total, one of which designed a lab that Reseda students did on our first trip to Santa Rosa. Going out to Santa Rosa really helped me to inspire me yet again about the field of science and to keep expanding my horizons. We are responsible for our environment, and staying at Santa Rosa where there weren’t many people really opened my eyes to realize how much our choices can affect our surroundings. My favorite part about the summer trip to Santa Rosa island was capturing song sparrows with one of the researchers, and watching the researcher record data, take blood samples, and showing Rose, Daniela, Vaibhavi and I how to hold the song sparrows. We caught two male song sparrows, and the process was pretty lengthy, but very intriguing. Reseda Science Magnet is a great school, and I’m very happy to be in an environment where I can learn amongst my peers who share my love for science.


An oasis within the waters of the Pacific, Santa Rosa Island provides a home to a great diversity of life. Previous trips to the research station with the science magnet have fostered within me a great desire to promote the stewardship of resources and cultivate an appreciation for nature in others. The island really does have a rich history and its native species were one of the many reasons why I wanted to dedicate time during the summer to volunteer to protect the biodiversity of the island. The current restoration efforts on the island have showed to me that there is hope in getting society to change its current trend of disturbing fragile ecosystems in exchange for “necessary” resources. Along with others, I have helped create a genetic inventory of insect biodiversity on SRI as part of the ongoing restoration program. The DNA-barcoding based inventory has been started with a systematic survey of bees of the clade Anthophila. Prior work has been done with Coastal Marine Biolabs in establishing reference barcodes for rockfish species in the Santa Barbara channel. As a bioindicator species, it allows us to keep a “pulse” on the health of Lady Rosa as well as the other Northern Channel Islands. My love for the island itself is why I find it so important to protect its health. Although it feels like a second home to me, it’s the first home to many living organisms such as the island fox and the island scrub-jay. However, restoring the island to its previous conditions is not an easy task, that’s where volunteers come in play. That’s where I came in.

This summer I was one a few privileged students that were selected to return to the island to assist undergraduate students with their research projects. Besides getting exposure to networking opportunities, we all got the opportunity to talk to these universities students and learn more about their personal aspirations and how they sought to help the ongoing restoration efforts with their research. On the first day, I did ecological sampling with Aaron, a CSUCI alumni who returned to the island because she felt personally indebted to the island for inspiring her throughout her course of study. The following day with Tyler, I collected data on the island’s dudleya to determine whether geological aspect- northern v southern facing slope- really had a major impact on the succulent’s stress levels. Now, since the north facing slopes receive less direct sunlight there is slower evaporation on the north side which means that dudleya will have more available moisture. Because of this, you’d expect the dudleya on southern facing slopes to be more stressed however the data we collected proved contrary. As a result of this, we couldn’t disprove our null hypothesis and as an undergraduate assistant I was asked to speculate why and I remembered one of the topics of a lecture that we had the night before: the nurse plant theory. Seeing theory being practiced in the field was really enjoyable for me in the sense that I could feel accomplished by taking ownership of what I’ve learned.



The Amgen Biotech Internship was an incredible experience for me. I was taught how to prepare buffers, LB broths, LB amp/ara plates, and agarose gels. The highly educated and passionate mentors guided us through these processes and challenged our scholarly minds, tested our limits with their questions as well as the savory drops of their general knowledge. I made a couple of mistakes while preparing the LB broths and I realized that sterility is an extremely important factor that comes along with working in a lab. 

During the summer, we did a similar internship at Pierce College. Our main task was preparing the ABE kits by counting and labeling the equipment in order to ensure that the kit contained all the necessary materials. We calibrated pipettes by using a weighing scale and kept track of all the discrepancies in the readings. We were able to explore the scientific method in the form of real life situation; a scientist from Berkeley was not receiving the desired result for bacterial colonies as well as the appropriate band length on a gel. We ran a few experiments with a set of control, independent, and dependent variables in order to crack the case. I enjoyed every aspect of the Amgen Biotech internship.


The AMGEN internship this summer gave me a look at what it’s like to be a teacher,
and set up for classes of students. We calibrated micropipettes, made new dyes, and the microbiology professor/teacher even gave us a tour of her lab! After this summer, I became more confident of my lab techniques and procedures while helping to get the equipment ready for the incoming Pierce students on the AMGEN Biotech Experience lab Reseda students have done before.

Sarah, Reseda Science Magnet sophomore

California’s biotechnology industry not only works to save lives but it also serves as one of this state’s largest growing job sectors. In the past thirty years, biotechnology has revolutionized biomedical research by providing the technology necessary to advance the development of life-saving treatments in laboratories and promote curriculum developments in schools that introduce students to scientific inquiry. One of these biotech programs is the Amgen biotech experience which is a hands-on molecular biology approach that allows students to explore the methods scientists use to create biological medicines and therapies. As an alumni of the program, this summer I was given the opportunity once more to give back the program, but this time, it would be through an internship. At first, we were all doing what seemed like non-stop busywork but eventually as we got to hands-on molecular work, we all gained a deeper appreciation for the quality control aspect of the program. This wonderful curriculum really wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for our Amgen Biotech Experience Site Coordinator, Karin. Overall, what the internship really installed in me was a greater appreciation for the technician side of the biotech field, a field so plentiful that it offers a vast amount of opportunities to anyone.


The Amgen internship was really interesting because we got a behind the scenes look at how everything needed for the Amgen lab was created. We did a variety of things including making agarose gel, large amount of red dye, and lb broth. We even calibrated some micro pipettes to see if they were working. We also prepared the kits that students will use while doing the lab. All in all the Amgen internship was really cool. We got an insight as to what it takes to prepare everything needed to do the actual lab.

Sorry its not a paragraph I couldn’t think of anything else to write.


NeuroLab Summer Residential Program with Coastal Marine BioLab

Hosted by Coastal Marine Biolabs, the NeuroLab experience invited and continues to invite high school students such as myself to conduct bona fide research that contributes to the field of developmental neuroscience. Throughout the program, a sense of intimacy and intensity was installed in each one of the students in the program, including myself. Both Dr. Ralph Imondi and Dr. Linda Santschi., co-directors of the institute, created an environment where students could learn AND apply ground breaking genetic and molecular visualization tools. From this program, I most definitely felt re-invigorated to continue to pursue my passion for the sciences and it gave me an extreme appreciation for the solid molecular biology background taught to students at the Science Magnet. If asked to recommend to this a friend, I do so passionately and I can not stress how grateful I am that I was chosen as one of the students to participate in this once of a life time experience. It’s not exactly everyday that a high school student can be immersed in the life of a graduate student.


If there is one word to describe the Neurolab program, it would be intense. The environment is demanding but the revelations about oneself and a future in science are powerful. Throughout my time at Coastal marine Biolabs, what I came to comprehend was what scientific research actually entails. The stresses of such work is challenging but motivation is found when one understands the impact of it. Do not come to Neurolab expecting basic laboratory training. It is an immediate and rigorous work out of the mind; the laboratory work is a break! If one truly desires to work in science, there is no other preparation like Neurolab.


River Ambassadors

River Ambassador was a program organized by Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA). It was  consist of 2 main parts: Learning and teaching.
During the learning sessions we met on saturdays and sometimes after school and we learned about LA river, it’s history, geology, and importance. We also learned about all the nature around the LA river and what significant it provide us.

During the second part we were put into groups of 2 to 4 people. We were doing activities such as river walks and tabling events to teach other people everything we learned.
This program was really educational and fun. During this I learned many life skills such as: time management, team work, communication, and problem solving.