GEM Environmental would like to congratulate Savage Hess on his Undergraduate Scholarship Award. Savage is one of our newest hardworking recipients. Congratulations Savage!
How did you hear about G.E.M. Environmental and this scholarship opportunity?
Through a fellow lab member.
Please provide a brief description about yourself.
I am indigenous and queer undergraduate researcher who hopes to combine my love for ecology with the microscopic world. In my free time, I engage in lots of creative work like digital art and game design.
Please provide a brief description highlighting your work/area of focus.
I am currently researching the unknown world of viruses within coyotes. With the help of many others, I've collected hundreds of scat along the Rio Salado. A small portion of those scat were sampled and scanned for ssDNA viral genome segments. We then isolated and amplified those gene fragments with our personally designed primers.
From the results we've uncovered so far, a circovirus has been identified. This circovirus is likely an undiscovered species but is closely related to canine circovirus and bamboo rat circovirus. This relationship give us immense ecological insight and potentially a clue into disease outcomes for these urban coyotes.
How do you plan on using your scholarship funds and how do you anticipate you will achieve success?
I plan on using these funds to help pay for travel and registration at conferences. Attending this conference will enable me to make connections with other scientists active in my fields. This will help me retain a career in molecular ecology by letting others now I'm a serious and capable researcher that deserves opportunities. It will also give me experience presenting my research to a public audience. Communication of one's findings is a vital responsibility for all scientists. The more opportunities I receive to share my research, the more I will be able to explain it clearly and effectively.
Tell us what this scholarship means to you.
This scholarship means that I have an opportunity to be an indigenous person in the global stage of research and academia. There are few from my people who can claim such prestige and I hope that I can act as a become to young indigenous people every where. To be able to show that we can be equals in the western world.
Anything else you'd like to share about your work, yourself, or the STEM fields?
I design tabletop games as a hobby. It's another way I can represent my ancestors connection with story telling in this modern world.
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT SAVAGE HESS FOLLOW HIM ON TWITTER: @savagehess