Ashley Jackson: Student Intern Fall 2012

Ashley Jackson Ashley Jackson is a senior attending North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. Her interests include public health research, biomath, biological modeling, MATLAB, bioinformatics and, simply, research in general. As an iBLEND student working under, and in collaboration with, Dr. Gregory Goins, an associate professor at NCATSU since 2009, Ashley has been developing biological modeling skills in order to advance her knowledge outside of textbook biology. It is her opinion that “biology and mathematics (along with other disciplines) rely upon each other to solve the biggest and most complex problems of our time.” With that in mind, Ashley has developed an interest in not only performing the experiments in a lab, but also possessing the ability to analyze the data that she gathers. In the summer of 2010, she participated in an internship at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. During this time, Ashley worked very closely with Drs. Steven Wise and Sharon Bewick and two mathematics colleagues Ngoc Thai (Truman State Univ.) and John Collins (UT-Knoxville). Their specific project involved the effects of climate change on ant foraging. They developed a model that showed how ant foraging and discovery may be influenced by the recent threats of dramatic climate change. With that being said, the take-home message is this: Ants are an indicator species that can be highly representative of the long term, major effects of climatic change. That’s why they’re important. She was really excited to be able to work together with people who are specifically trained in modeling and to be able to learn more about MATLAB and other programming languages. Ashley is now a Lab Assistant at Solstas Lab Partners in Greensboro, NC. She hopes that this will help further her career and hands-on experience in biology and public health.

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