Summer is finally here, which means, as an old school rhyme goes, “No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers’ dirty looks.”

Well, at least there’s no more dirty looks for me this summer. The books and pencils, however, are in abundance.

Soon I’ll begin working again at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). I’ll be continuing research I began last summer – which I talked about here and here – on soybean plants and the aphids that affect them. Since good science requires good notes, I’ll be burning through pencils as I write down each step in my quest to stop Aphis glycines Matsumura (better known as the soybean aphid).

My note-taking will also be good practice for a class I begin this fall, Directed Research. Directed Research is an advanced biology class and one option in a selection of advanced courses that all biology majors are required to take. I talked about it before in the latter of last summer’s posts. I’ll be working with Dr. Elisa Konieczko to research a protein called relaxin and its possible use in treating several tissue disorders. This is probably the class I’m most excited about, as it’s real world application of the things I’m learning in the classroom – not to mention it includes the potential of being co-author of a paper and the ability to work with a really awesome teacher!

All of this research includes not just taking notes, but reading too. To prepare for this summer and next semester’s research, I’ve checked out some books on genetics and biochemistry and will probably end up reading a few papers my advisors send me.

But my summer reading isn’t just educational. I’ve also checked out books on playwriting and songwriting (two things I want to try delving into) as well as singing (something I want to improve) and psychology (a personal interest of mine). I’ve also got a ton of pleasure reading (mostly fictional) loaded onto my Kindle. I don’t get to read nearly as much as I’d like to during the school year, so I’m thrilled that I have plenty of material for the summer.

With that being said, I think it’s time to start another book!

Matt 🙂