Harvard Selects UWSP Student for Research
Samuel Knapp received an acceptance letter from a summer research program at
Harvard Forest, he could hardly believe it. Years of hard work and dedication
led him to a prestigious research program at Harvard University, a rarity for
any college student. However, Knapp
admits part of his success goes to UW-Stevens Point, a school that Knapp said,
gave him the accommodations he needed as a student to succeed.
proudly represented UW-Stevens Point in the 2012 summer program at Harvard
Forest by researching the phenology of fine root systems in temperate forest
Harvard Forest is a long-term ecological research site located in central
Massachusetts and is the last remaining vestige of Harvard’s school of
forestry. Aside from impressive research facilities, the Fisher Museum and
influential professors, Harvard Forest contains a remarkable 3,500 acres of
land. It serves as a demonstration site
and classroom, illustrating the effects of human interaction with land. It also
hosts biologists and ecologists from around the world studying everything from
ecosystem-atmosphere interactions to the ecology of pollinators.
studying at Harvard Forest, Knapp tracked the growth and mortality of on-site
underground roots by using specialized photography equipment. His observations
allowed him to quantify the amount and timing of atmospheric carbon being
allocated to fine root systems. The information Knapp gathered can be used to
inform current climate models and predict future fluctuations in atmospheric
experience at Harvard Forest gave me a realistic idea of what work as a
research scientist actually entails,” said Knapp. “I certainly gained new technical skills in
engineering and data collection, but more importantly I learned to interact
effectively in a collaborative scientific community. It was a gratifying experience to put skills
learned in the classroom to use in a real world setting.”
Point Biology Professor Eric Singsaas worked with Knapp on an earlier project
that measured the photosynthesis rate of moss as a model system for the
processes of biofuels. Over the 2012-13 school year Singsaas and Knapp will be
collaborating on a similar project with UW-Platteville and UW-Madison faculty
and student as they develop undergraduate biofuel labs.
has one of the key qualities I look for in a research student, the ability to
take charge of his project and explore on his own,” Singsaas said.
plans to graduate from UW-Stevens Point in the spring of 2014 with majors in
Physics and Chemistry and a minor in Biology.
came to UW-Stevens Point to study basic sciences; biology, chemistry and
physics because these subjects will give him the background to build a career
that reflects his values,” said Singsaas.
And those values are leading him to a bright future.
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