My adrenaline has been on a all time high!  The media attention that has surrounded my project the last month has been nothing but positive but nerve wrecking at the same time!  “What if I say Ass-cream instead of ice cream (this truly happened to a TV anchor- you tube it!), or say “cock” instead of “croc”… oh the horror of stumbling on words!  Here is a taste of the last 8 days:

Daily Bruin- In the Jaws of Research:  

http://www.dailybruin.com/index.php/article/2011/12/in_the_jaws_of_research

Great paper, but I would like to correct a couple of mistakes in this paper for my scientific reputation.  1)  I am not researching on the gator’s immune response to HIV.  I think there was confusion on me stating that researchers had looked at the crocodilian immune response to various viruses and bacteria in vitro and discovered how the crocodilian white blood cells exploded some of these viruses and bacteria all the way back to Timbuckto, and with me wanting to look at how the crocodilian immune system responded to macroparasites/helminthes.  So let’s make it clear- I haven’t found the cure for HIV or nore am I looking into it right now.  2)  I have not proven or explicitly looking at oil spill dispersal via nematodes.  Yes, I noticed a difference in parasite intensity between pre- and post- Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill but there are so many other factors that could cause the difference I can not speculate!

Hispanic Access Foundation- Latina Student Sets Example Through A Love of Science:  http://hispanicaccess.org/2011/11/29/latino-student-sets-example-through-a-love-of-science/

My hope with this article due to the angle they took was that it could inspire minority and low income youth to continue to pursue what they love and that they could make a difference in their life.  I’m not going to lie- I want to be a role model for children and students.  I love performing presentations about my work, crocs, parasites, etc to schools- its amazing to see kids faces and see how excited they get about science!  With the education system going down and the increase cost of higher education, I can see why many people may turn away from college, education, etc.  But to better our communities, nation, the world we need to continue to strive in these hard times.  And I think what’s most important is that those people that are in a position of power or stability need to take a step into someone’s life who is less fortunate then them and mentor them.  So I only hope with this article I gave someone some inspiration out there.

Urban Jungles Radio- Crocodilian Sexiness Inside and Out:

 http://www.blogtalkradio.com/urbanjunglesradio/2011/12/03/ujr-presents-crocodilian-sexiness-inside-and-out

Not going to lie- I was nervous for this interview.  I really watched what I said as I do tend to have a trucker mouth ever so often.  I did an hour or so interview with Danny and Sky from UJR and it was a blast!  Talked about my research, how I got there. etc.  I of course gave a shot out to my undergrad assistants!  I think its important to give undergrads a chance to do some field research, such as Jiazi and Brittany who got to get hands on experience handling alligators this past field season. Would love to do another interview again!

ScifFund Challenge:  Alien vs Predator:  

http://rockethub.com/projects/3823-alien-vs-predator

With the help of friends, family, and the media I have been getting small donations for my project on Rockethub.  Less than 2 weeks left, so I’m crossing fingers that I make it to my goal!!!!

So some amazing stuff going on in my life right now and I’m totally excited!  My adrenaline has been at an ultimate high like the first time I ran into a black jaguar in Belize!  I’m guessing right now you are wondering “Black jaguar???? And first time???”  Yeah, I ran into this jaguar twice.  So I’ll end the post with this story…

So it was my first trip to Belize to volunteer at ACES.  Super excited to adventure around the jungle that surrounded the sanctuary!  And loving reptiles, I plan to wake up early in the morning to go herping!  My goal was to find a Fer-de-Lance!!!!  I remember it was the first couple of weeks at ACES, and I woke up at 5am.  At ACES there was a trail that you could take around the property so I figure I would follow that.  With a large stick and a camera, I set off to go find snakes.  Well, my adventure that morning did not last long.  As I was heading deeper into the trail, I noticed something black in some bushes.  First thought, “What is a howler monkey doing on the ground???”  There were about 3 troops of howler monkeys in this area.  I slowed down my pace so I could try to get a good picture.  I saw the black mass move, but it wasn’t like a monkey.  I noticed movement of cat-like shoulders, and that’s when I realized “That is no monkey!”  
Somewhere between 7-10 yards in front of me a black jaguar comes out of the bushes!  I frooze with excitement, and yes a little fear.  One thing I remembered reading was that there have been no reports of human death by jaguars, so I was somewhat a little relaxed.  The jaguar just looked at me- I sooo wanted to take a picture but feared my movement or the camera sound may scare it- either into the bushes or towards me.  I stood still, trying to look big and tough.  The jaguar just gave me a sniff, realized I was boring, and walked across the path into some other bushes.  I stood there for a minute taking everything in on this momentous occasion!  Do you know some people go there whole life without seeing a jaguar and here I am, not even a month in the country and I run into one!  And not even 2 months later I was walking another trail in the early morning with one of the rangers of the area and I saw it again (I assume it was the same one because it was black and not far from the first place I saw it).  What was cool about this experience was the ranger tracked jaguars, so I followed him in trying to get closer.  The jaguar caught our scent and ran.  The only words to describe these experiences:  awesome, fortunate, blessed, awesome, exciting, awesome, adrenaline rush, and yes, AWESOME!!!!


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