Apria Valenza

Did you receive any recognition (awards, publications, scholarship) for your applied learning experience?
AFS 2nd Best Poster at Tidewater Chapter meeting
Briefly describe your applied learning experience

For my Honors project, I researched the effect of salinity on the growth, condition and distribution of juvenile Southern flounder in the Cape Fear River. I was able to go out in the field and help collect the juveniles myself as well as work in the lab, prepping, dissecting and processing the fish. It was such an amazing experience to be able to spend so much time devoted to all aspects of this project because it not only showed me the scope of work that is required for similar scienitific research projects but it also taught me important skills that I will carry with me throughout my entire life.

Did you receive any grants or other funding for your applied learning experience?
How did you get involved in this applied learning experience and what did you hope to gain from it?

I became involved in this project because as an Honors College student, I needed to complete my Honors Project work. However, I was excited to start early and spend a lot of time working in the lab. I hoped to gain knowledge about field work/collection as well as the kind of analyses done on fish in these types of projects.

What did you gain from this experience? What was challenging? What did you learn?

I gained so much. I learned how to use multiple types of equipment employed from boats, how to record data, how to correctly process, dissect and collect samples from specimens. I learned how to analyze this data and create graphs and tables that best represent the raw data itself. I learned how to present this data to people who aren't familiar with it. I essentially became an expert on my project - knowing everything about it from start to finish.

In what way will this experience make you a more viable candidate when you are seeking a job or applying for graduate study?

As an undergraduate, I now know how to use so many different kinds of equipment that students learn how to use in graduate school. I have experience working through an entire research project - from start to finish. I have already presented some of my data in a professional setting. This project is a dream come true because it will open up so many doors for me, simply because I was able to have this experience and be so immersed in it as an undergraduate.