Feb. 5, 2014
Michaelyn Lux is a senior majoring in chemistry and Irina Pushel is a junior majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology and biotechnology. They are both Dean’s Research Scholars in the College of Natural Science Dean’s Research Scholars are an elite group of outstanding undergraduate students who have experience conducting research, proven academic success, and exemplify the traits of true Spartans: hard-working, intelligent, problem-solvers.
Over winter break, we went on an adventure to New Zealand! There were no hobbits involved, but it was part of MSU's Natural Science in New Zealand study abroad program, and we traveled all over the country (both the North and South islands). Over the course of three weeks, we learned all about invasive species, evolution in action, and the geological forces that shaped the country, all while being immersed in the Maori culture and surrounded by one of the most beautiful landscapes on Earth.
This was one of the coolest experiences of our lives, and we met awesome people from many different backgrounds and got to see science from different perspectives. Some of our adventures included: licking honeydew off scale insects, standing less than two meters away from a giant sea lion in the wild, and floating through a cave in the dark, surrounded by the star-like light of glow-worms.
We both had a wonderful time in this far-away land, and the Office of Study Abroad and College of Natural Science helped make the experience possible. We highly recommend this program (or any study abroad experience) to anyone who is even remotely interested. Experiencing science in such a beautiful foreign country was an unforgettable opportunity and a privilege.
Here are some highlights from our journey: