Alpine waters matter
I'm Valentina and I'm an IVY volunteer at the National Institute of Biology in Slovenia until the end of January. I'm part of the project Innovative Ecological Assessment and Water Management Strategy for the Protection of Ecosystem Services in Alpine Lakes and Rivers. It's an international project aimed at the improvement of the traditional monitoring approaches with different techniques. The main goal is to improve the protection, preservation and ecological connections in Alpine areas.
I volunteer mainly in the lab, where I'm performing the filtration of water samples for further isolation of environmental DNA. The latter is also isolated from biofilm samples, which were provided by a partner group of researchers. The lab tasks are my main focus, but it's not all I'm doing. I'm also involved in different smaller tasks, so I can have an insight into the work of a full-time researcher. I also attend the department seminars, where individual researchers present their current work. This way I'm experiencing the whole spectrum of their day to day duties and it helped me realise that it is something I would like to do in the future.
My experience with the volunteering so far has been great. I always found lab work exciting and it's great that I have an actual project to work on. I'm more than happy with my current work and it reminds me again of the importance of doing something that you really enjoy doing. If you're looking for an experience in your field of work, IVY is a great opportunity, because they really care and try to do everything to provide you with a great experience.
I hope you all enjoy in whatever you're doing, despite the current pandemic situation.