Molli Thibodeau

Molli Thibodeau in a prairie holding a bug catching net. GLBRC 2023 Summer Undergraduate Research Program participant Molli Thibodeau worked in Dr. Nick Haddad’s lab at Michigan State University.

This summer I worked in the Haddad lab at Kellogg Biological Station as a URA, while also participating in the GLBRC program. My mentor, Katherine, helped me to create and execute my research on the effects of seeding treatments on nonnative flowers and pollinators in restored prairies. 

Although they were tiring, I had a ton of fun conducting floral and pollinator surveys with Katherine. My favorite part was catching bees and getting to see the variation between species, and I am proud to say I never got stung. I was also able to learn butterfly and some bee identification. In the lab we pinned insects and I learned some R coding to analyze my data and make graphs for my poster presentation. 

In the second half of the program I took a class on wetland ecology. Learning how to delineate wetlands was useful in addition to learning to identify the plants we saw. On the last day we even kayaked on the Kalamazoo river to see the impact of dam removal. 

In addition to research, there were a ton of other events to go to. We had workshops on authorship, scientific communication, and research proposal writing, which were all very helpful. There were also visits from eminent ecologists to give talks about their research and this gave me an opportunity to learn more about topics I knew little about. Our RM’s organized fun activities like going to the nearby farmers market, taking a beach trip, and bonfires. 

Molli Thibodeau stands on the left with her group of friends

Overall, I loved this experience because I made many friends, learned a great deal, and became more confident in my abilities. Everything was so rewarding and positive, so I would recommend this program to any student looking to get involved in undergraduate research!