Summer Intern Reflects on the Trout Lake Experience

We had the pleasure this summer to welcome Anna Krieg to a summer spent living, working and playing in Wisconsin’s Northwoods. To say the lake-studded landscape was new to the Arizona resident would be an understatement. We think we made a positive impression, anyway! Here is Anna’s recap of her time up at the CFL’s Trout Lake Station. 
by Anna Krieg
On August 4th, undergraduates gathered in the Juday Conference Room at Trout Lake Station to present their independent projects to an audience of Trout Lake Staff, Center for Limnology faculty, and the people who generously sponsored their summer work. Dom Ciruzzi, a graduate student at UW-Madison, spoke about his experiences this summer as the Graduate Student Fellow where he was saddled with the not-so-simple task of mentoring the undergraduates through their independent projects. I was asked to speak on behalf of the undergrads about the undergraduate experience at Trout Lake Station and these are my thoughts:

(From left to right) Maggie Sobolewski, Brandon Debraska, Keith Lyster, Emily MacParlane, Dom Ciruzzi, and Luke Maillefer presented at the Fellows Luncheon on August 4th. Photo: Anna Krieg
(From left to right) Maggie Sobolewski, Brandon Debraska, Keith Lyster, Emily MacParlane, Dom Ciruzzi, and Luke Maillefer presented at the Fellows Luncheon on August 4th. Photo: Anna Krieg

The undergraduate experience at Trout Lake is unique; I don’t believe there is any other place quite like it. Every undergrad that works here has a different perspective on this experience, on what makes Trout Lake Station special. From those who have been here every summer of their undergraduate career to those who have only experienced one Trout Lake summer, some common themes have arisen to explain the phenomenon that is Trout Lake. This station is a place to grow and change without fear, it is a place where academic and professional goals are developed and solidified, and it is a place which fosters a community that every undergrad who comes through needs in one-way or another.
Summer 2016 undergrads enjoy sunset on Trout Lake Station's pier. Photo: Anna Krieg
Summer 2016 undergrads enjoy sunset on Trout Lake Station’s pier. Photo: Anna Krieg

This summer, I had the privilege of being the Outreach and Communication Intern; it was the perfect place for me. I got to go out into the field with all of the undergraduate and graduate students and learn about their research and independent projects. I took pictures, wrote blog posts, and worked on a short, introductory video for the station. In my position, I was able to witness the truly collaborative nature of Trout Lake Station. Everyone, whether they are full time staff, graduate students, or undergraduates, is working toward the singular goal of advancing ecological knowledge and they treat each other as equal partners in that goal. There is a general understanding that everyone here can teach you something, which allows the strict hierarchical structures that exist in our universities to all but disappear.
Anna Krieg with her first (and only) catch of the summer.
Anna Krieg with her first (and only) catch of the summer.

As undergrads, we did not only work at Trout Lake Station, we lived here too. Living at Trout Lake is special, from camping to boat rides to watching the sunset, every experience I have had here this summer has impacted me. It has further endeared this place and the people here to me. In just a few moments you will hear about the amazing research that the other undergrads have been doing this summer, the real reason we are all here, but I wanted to give you a small glimpse into the undergraduate experience of those who are lucky enough to spend a summer at Trout Lake.
Undergrads at dusk on a camping trip to Palette Lake.
Undergrads at dusk on a camping trip to Palette Lake.

Many thanks to the Juday Family, Patricia and John Lane, and Lee Zinn for their generous support of our undergraduate students this summer!

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