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Dir Mtg Mayaguez, Puerto-Rico, Aug. 2013

Jennifer Lopez and Candice Rodriguez were chosen to attend a USDA Director’s Meeting in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico in August, 2013 to present posters about their summer internship research. These are their reflections of their trip and the photos for their adventure.
Over the course of this past summer, we were given the opportunity to intern with the brilliant Dr. Castro of the Texas State Biology Department.  Shortly after beginning our work we were then invited to represent the Texas State FATE program at the CETARS (Center for Education and Training in Agriculture and Related Sciences) symposium in Puerto Rico and present our research. What an amazing experience to say the least!
            Although this trip lasted only four short days, we learned things that will resonate throughout our lifetime. More formally, we learned about advancements in agriculture education, molecular technology, governmental research and the work produced by the other students. Most importantly however, we learned about ourselves, each other, and our potential as students. Through getting to know the other professors and students, we saw so much of ourselves; the other student programs were so much like ours and the professors’ pasts so much like our present.  We discovered how accessible our goals and aspirations are and how we should go about realizing them. We learned about the Puerto Rican culture including food, language, geography, architecture, and agriculture; there was just so much to take in all at once!  We also learned about independence when navigating through the winding roads of rural Puerto Rico, thousands of miles away from home and away from Dr. Morrish while he was at a conference.  It was scary and wonderful all at the same time. On that note, we definitely learned a little something about team work.
            On our two days after the symposium, we enjoyed a swim in the white sandy beach of Cabo Rojo, hearty dishes of plantains, arroz con habichuelas (AKA rice and beans), and other deliciously starchy foods, snorkeling in the ocean and swimming with brilliantly colored schools of fish and coral reef (Candice even found Dory!)  On one night we took a moonlit dip in the bioluminescent bay and swam with billions of glittering plankton that sparkled in the black water with every movement. Needless to say, it was an experience we never thought we would be able to obtain but, we made it and it was one that we will never forget.

A glance at our aweseome adventure to Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.