Senior Conducts Research at Smithsonian Natural History Museum

HIGH POINT, N.C., July 21, 2016 – High Point University biology major Elizabeth Reardon is studying the DNA of different bird species this summer as she interns at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

Reardon, a rising senior from East Sandwich, Massachusetts, is part of a 10-week program for undergraduates called the Natural History Research Experience, funded by the National Science Foundation. She is one of 18 interns selected from nearly 450 applicants.

During her internship, Reardon is studying the population divergence patterns of five different species of birds found in Southeast Asia. While working in the department of vertebrate zoology at the museum, she’s examining mitochondrial DNA referencing, sequencing and comparison within the species. At the end of the 10 weeks, she will present her findings along with fellow interns at a poster symposium.

“The program provides us with an incredible opportunity to delve into research with scientists from around the world who are truly passionate about their research, as well as engaging and encouraging students,” says Reardon.

She has no doubt her research experiences at HPU directly impacted her ability to land such a selective internship opportunity and sparked her passion for scientific research.

“Last summer, I was able to partake in the first annual Summer Undergraduate Research Program in the Sciences at High Point University, and this was truly pivotal in my deciding to pursue a career in research,” says Reardon, who studied DNA repair and the effects of UV radiation on freshwater zooplankton. “I had the opportunity to study a field I had little prior experience in and was able to develop my skills as a scientific researcher.”

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