27 May Greetings from Saguaro national park
Hello, my name is Viridiana Orona and this is my first time as an intern for the Mosaics in the Science Diversity Internship Program. I’m from El Paso, Texas and I’m currently a master’s student at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). I’m studying environmental science with a biology concentration and my research focuses on dryland soil carbon.
This is an exciting summer for me because I will be working as a biology monitoring assistant at the Saguaro National Park in Tucson, Arizona. My main project focuses on monitoring the flowering phenology of the Saguaro, a giant cactus native to the Sonoran Desert. I became interested in this project because I find desert plants to be very fascinating. They adapt very well to extreme environments which makes them pretty unique. I feel that a lot of people are not aware of their characteristics and because of that, a lot of the desert biodiversity is overlooked. I want to learn more so I can share my knowledge with everyone.
This internship is very special to me because it will also give me the opportunity to work on side projects like setting up wildlife cameras, and studying the night blooming cereus (another cool cactus). Furthermore, I will be a park and MIS intern for one year! It is very inspiring to meet new scientists, especially because everyone is passionate about the work they do. I’m really looking forward into exploring and studying more about the biodiversity of the Sonoran Desert.