I’m going to give just a quick rundown on how our schedule works and what a day in the life of one of the undergraduates looks like.
We wake up at around 6:30-7:00 am and meet in the kitchen to have breakfast with everyone. From there, we get ready and get driven to CARACAL at around 8:00-8:30 am and begin our work depending on our different rotations. I (Sam) mainly work in the lab, so I work with the other lab technicians (Ithu and Lloyd) and sometimes the graduate students (Madalyn and Nick) to aide Dr. Alexander in her research projects. I work in the lab back at Virginia Tech, so I’m trained and able to do work with DNA extractions, PCR, and bloodborne pathogens. I typically do DNA extractions of the different animal species here, such as elephants, hippos, buffalo, etc. and later run PCR on them to determine what bacteria they are positive for. After a long day of work, at around 5 or 6 pm, we get driven back to the student village where we’re staying (about 5 minutes from CARACAL), and everybody has dinner together and shares what they did for the day.
Soon enough I’ll be able to post pictures of the lab and Ithu and Lloyd and talk more about what they do.