Lessons from the Research Lab: Citlay Villasenor

Citlay Villasenor
CSU-LSAMP Summer Research Training Expedition
San Jose, Costa Rica

In the days before I left for Costa Rica, I began to get nervous about leaving the country without any family or friends. When I arrived at LAX airport, I saw backpacks with familiar tagging from our research group, and luckily I saw a familiar face. Everyone was very friendly and I was looking forward to spending the next five weeks with our group.

When I wasn’t trying to sleep on the plane, I was thinking about whether I packed enough clothes or brought the right supplies. I was thinking about what kind of biodiversity research project I might want to develop in Costa Rica. One of my goals for this trip is to become familiar with the wildlife in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica has more ecological diversity than San Diego, so I am really looking forward to learning as much as I can. Although I have only been here for less than a day, it has been an eye-opening experience already. There are so many shades of green here and everyone is very friendly. The streets I have seen tend to have canals between them and the sidewalk, which I believe helps prevent flooding during storms.

There are so many buses and cars, but I have not smelled any with dirty oil, which proves how important the environment is to Costa Ricans. There is no army here, which means that more money can be spent on education, health care and ecological conservation. We are staying in Hotel Cacts, which has the nicest staff ever. The main cook’s daughter was with our group drawing pictures of each of us and sharing them with us. Our first lessons were on the culture of Costa Rica and statistical analysis. We already have an assignment to use what we learned to compare any two attributes of our choosing and determine if the null hypothesis is rejected or not. I look forward to our future journeys around Costa Rica! Pura vida!


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