Undergraduate Research Assistantship Spotlight – Katie Beauto

In INBRE by admin

Katie Beauto, an undergraduate at the University of Alaska Southeast, had always been interested in science and the outdoors, so to her, research seemed like the natural next step. Soon after moving to Alaska, Katie connected with Sonia Nagorski, Assistant Professor of Geology at UAS, who now serves as her faculty mentor. Katie’s research is centered on determining how much mercury is entering the Juneau regions through the process of wet deposition, utilizing a mercury deposition network station recently installed by the National Park Service. Through precipitation sampling along an elevation gradient, Katie also looks for trends in mercury deposition related to elevation change. “Mercury isn’t something that people normally associate with atmospheric deposition, and I didn’t know much about it before I started the project, so it’s been fun to learn more. It’s also been great getting to be outdoors and work with a variety of people to take samples.” Katie explains.  With support from INBRE, Katie is able to have her samples analyzed in an ultra-clean lab, a resource not available in Juneau. “I like exploring and doing hands on projects, so to me, scientific research is an outlet to do that in a fairly organized manner. It’s also nice that it can draw upon multiple disciplines and the skills gained from research can be applied in non-scientific settings.” Katie states. Katie would like to continue the pursuit of research, either independently or in a lab, possibly continuing to work on mercury deposition or hydrology related projects.