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TREX 2018 Day 13: Finale

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TREX 2018 Day 13: Finale

By Joey Noszek ’20

The past few days have been packed with work. We worked all day Saturday and Sunday to prepare for our presentation. As we sat at picnic tables inside the main cabin, we analyzed our mountains of data. We also patched our analyzed data together into our presentation. The class staff watched our presentation multiple times and criticized it, sometimes quite harshly. This morning we practiced one last time and learned that our talk only needed a few minor changes before show time.

I would like to take a moment to talk about the weather. It rained throughout the day Saturday. This is crazy because we are living in a desert. Before, we were in a place that normally gets rain, but was happening to get more rain than normal at the time. Now, we ended up in a place at the time when it happens to get all of its rain for the year. It really does seem as if rain has been following us!

In the afternoon, we went to Kona Science Café and gave our talk to an actual audience that ranged from high school students to MIT alumni to teachers and people who just had an interest in science. The talk went successfully and the people certainly appreciated it. Now, we are done with all of the work of TREX and we will spend the last few days enjoying the fun things that we can do in Hawaii.

When I reflect on what has happened, I realize that this is the first time that I have truly felt that I had made science happen. I have done some research before, but I have never buckled down and aggressively picked apart data until I found something. It was tough, but it has created an exhilarating feeling. I must admit that we did not find anything mind-blowing or paradigm-shifting, but we have set the groundwork for exciting, new things to be learned. This is incredible.

Every year, a group of MIT students and professors travel to the Big Island of Hawaii to gain fieldwork experience through TREX (Traveling Research Environmental EXperiences). The first TREX trip was held in 2000, and since launching has taken students on research activities in domestic and international settings. For more undergraduate opportunities, click here.