Summer wrap-up by Ben

Posted: September 9, 2014

Ben brought a welcome enthusiasm to the lab; here he offers his insight on his time with us
Members of the lab enjoyed a great evening at a State College Spikes game.  Ben (back row in maroon shirt) in the center of it all, having a big time.

Members of the lab enjoyed a great evening at a State College Spikes game. Ben (back row in maroon shirt) in the center of it all, having a big time.

Wow! Was that the fastest summer to date? I think just maybe it was. I am Benjamin Nason, a junior majoring in horticulture and minoring in entomology, mushroom science and technology and possibly biology. I have always loved the outdoors and being surrounded by nature. I still go for hikes often and find myself becoming preoccupied when I see an interesting insect on my way to class.

Research for me is the ultimate exercise in curiosity. In its most basic form, you are just looking for answers. The great thing about science is that whenever we think we have discovered an answer, eventually we find that the system is far more complicated than we though. We live in an amazing time. I often find myself saying to friends or co-workers, “Hey [‘Man’, or ‘Girl’]! The 21st century is awesome, isn’t it?” Our society is built on the research and actions of our past. Research is essential to today’s society and our moving forward as a collective. This is exactly the reason why I jumped on the chance to work in the Tooker lab for this past summer.

On a typical day in the lab, I have found myself looking at insects under microscopes looking at the minute details of these amazing creatures. I am still amazed that what separates a species may be a single pair of hairs or a differently shaped sclerite. If I am not looking at insects under the microscope, you may find me in the field checking traps, taking measurements or looking for pests. Being outside is a wonderful experience and my research with insects and plants helps me to really appreciate my surroundings. If it starts to rain or we don’t have field work, I can be found in the greenhouse working on wheat and aphid research for one of the grad students, Ian. He’s good stuff that guy. And that goes out to all the people at Tooker Lab actually. I had never worked in a lab and was expecting everyone to be super quiet and anti-social, but I was pleasantly surprised by the Tooker lab. The lab as a whole is very kind and is chalk full of characters. This really came out when John was kind enough to take his lab out to a Spikes game. It was a completely different social dynamic. Everyone was together, and wasn’t thinking about data, or their frozen specimens or what have you. It was just a very relaxing evening watching America’s greatest sport. This has to be one of my favorite memories of the lab.

I was working with something that I found very interesting this summer, but it was really the people that made my experience at the lab so great. Lots of bugs, lots of laughs, and lots of friends. That might be a pretty good slogan for the Tooker Lab overall.

Signing off from a wonderful summer,

Benjamin Nason