Mary was a freshman who was passionate about helping the environment, already actively advocating for her school to eliminate its use of plastic. In her mentorship, she hoped to learn more about how microplastics can directly influence human health while creating a solid foundation of scientific skills that she could build on throughout high school.
Mary's learning objectives were to study the impact of microplastics on human health and the routes they might follow when ingested, while also learning about the scientific process as a concept, how to become a career scientist, and how to communicate complex scientific concepts in a clear, concise manner.
Mary's mentor was a marine biology professor and science communicator who actively manages research projects while gathering video footage to raise awareness about ecological issues. A viral video of him removing a straw from a sea turtle's nose is largely credited with inspiring a global movement to fight plastic pollution in our oceans.
Mary learned how to navigate online databases of scholarly articles and perform her own research, as well as how to read, analyze and synthesize scientific literature into her own writing.
First, Mary reviewed the fundamentals of peer-reviewed scientific literature on microplastics, delving into the latest research and determining the topic she would like to focus on for her literature review. Once choosing the subject of the impacts of microplastic inhalation on human health, Mary continued honing her research, writing and revising a literature review paper on the topic.
Mary completed her review article, which was accepted for publication by the Young Scientists Journal.
My mentor helped me achieve a goal that I did not know I could achieve. During the process, I learned so much about myself, the topic I studied, and other academic skills that I am good at or need to improve. I can now speak up if I have something to say, I know how to better write down what I have read, and I have learned a great amount on airborne microplastic pollution.
The fact that my mentor was fully engaged in my learning experience made my mentorship very enjoyable.
My mentor was outstanding. He helped me learn many things about the topic we researched and certain aspects about myself. Not only did I learn a lot, I also had so much fun in the process.
Increased academic self-confidence
Learning to work independently
Clarification of which academic areas interest her
Accomplishing a personal goal
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