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Additional resources for Agassiz's Legacy: Scientists' Reflections on the Value of Field Experience
I have my background, and they have different ones. They just have an energy. Sure, you see them fumble a little while they are learning. But then, we are not perfect. How many mistakes have I made as a biologist? Lots, I can assure you. You are what you are, I guess. I am scientiﬁcally what people around me were. And they were wonderful and, God, do I like that. I revel in them, thinking back to those days. And what about the future of ﬁeld biology? The future? Oh, there will always be ﬁeld biologists, but they may be scarce and in much demand.
He felt ﬁeld experience was a requisite for a doctoral degree in biology. Although I never did research with Len in the ﬁeld, we did spend a memorable few months at Catalina Island teaching in the UCLA marine biology quarter. After passing my orals at the beginning of my second year, my research went fairly smoothly, although I really had no idea of what I had until I needed to organize it into a three-page summary for an American Association of University Women (AAUW) dissertation fellowship for which I was applying.
While I learned how to do formal scientiﬁc research at Stanford, my strength (according to my graduate advisor, Len Muscatine at UCLA) was my ﬁeld experience and knowledge of organisms. My husband, Bill, whom I had married at the beginning of my sophomore year in college, is especially intrigued with the diversity of life. Taking advantage of the natural marvels of California, we took ﬁeld trips to the rocky intertidal, to the deserts, to the mountains, to mudﬂats, to the coastal redwoods, and to the marshes, ﬁnding and identifying the animals, plants, and fungi in each.