Alaina Bisson is a senior environmental science major with a concentration in global change. She is a lab technician in the Applied Plant Ecology Lab at the University of Connecticut, which is a position that she has held since the fall semester of 2016. Alaina is a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow recipient, which she used the research grant to study the decomposition rates in Connecticut coastal wetlands. Alaina also lives and works on the Spring Valley Student Farm.
What attracted you to UConn? I transferred to UConn from Skidmore College in the fall of 2016. Unlike Skidmore, UConn offered an environmental degree that was a bachelor of science. Also, going to UConn allowed me to be closer to home.
What is your major, and why did you choose it? My major is environmental science with a concentration in global change. I chose this major because it allows me to learn the basic hard sciences and explore specific topics within the topic of environmental science, such as soil chemistry and wetland ecology.
Which one of your UConn activities, internships or jobs was the most memorable? Why? During the fall 2016 semester, I began volunteering for Professor Beth Lawrence in the Applied Plant Ecology Lab. Through this experience, I was able to gain a considerable amount of skill in collecting, processing and managing data for multiple research projects related to both inland and coastal wetlands. By volunteering for, and eventually working with, Professor Lawrence, I was able to realize my passion for environmental research!
Name two other experiences that have enriched your studies. While at UConn, I have had the chance to live on Spring Valley Student Farm and be a student farmer. Spring Valley is a small student-run farm located a few miles off campus that grows produce for multiple dining halls on campus. Living in this community has allowed me to meet a great group of people that are committed to the effort of growing organically and eating locally.
Also, I received a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow (SURF) grant for the summer of 2018. This grant allowed me to create, propose and execute independent research. My project aimed to look at how decomposition rates differed among dominant vegetation zones in Connecticut coastal wetlands. The SURF grant has provided me with a significant amount of experience that will promote my professional development as an environmental scientist.
What was the biggest challenge in your UConn career? Being a transfer student was probably the biggest challenge that I faced at UConn. It was difficult to adjust to a new school, but over time I met new people and learned to love UConn.
When do you expect to graduate? What then? I will be graduating in May 2019. After finishing my bachelor’s degree, I plan to either continue my education or go to graduate school or to gain work experience in the environmental field.
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you? I love to dance! I started dancing when I was seven years old and even danced competitively for seven years.