This summer, we were lucky to have two high school interns work with us in the Lizard Lab! One of those interns, Riann, wrote about her time in the lab. Read on to see what she learned, and for her advice to other students who want to be scientists!


Riann Kitchen

Hi! My name is Riann Kitchen, and I’m an 11th grader at Kipp Academy in San Antonio. At the start of June 2016, I became an official member of the Lizard Lab family. This summer I learned many things about lizards, and about how the many lab projects are managed. For example, did you know female anoles need nest boxes where they can lay their eggs? This is because if they keep their eggs inside their body too long, they could become sick. To avoid this we placed a pot of soil in each cage and added water to keep it moist. This gave the lizards a safe place to bury their eggs. In addition, instead of giving the lizards a water bottle to drink from, we sprayed water against their cage walls, because lizards drink by licking little drops of water.

Riann and Faith, hard at work in the lizard room.

Riann (left) and Faith, hard at work in the lizard room.

I also realized that even though the Lizard Lab is a biology lab, we also use lot of chemistry. The chemistry came into play when we made chemical solutions used in staining microscope slides. I was able to work with Miguel on sectioning lizard tissues and staining them.

After I graduate from high school in 2018, I plan to attend college and major in math, but after my experience this summer I am also considering a minor in biology. Overall, working in the lab taught me a lot of things that I can’t learn in school and opened my mind to future possibilities.

Riann (in the middle, with bike helmet) with the Lizard Lab on our summer biking adventure!

Riann (middle, with bike helmet) with the lab on our summer biking adventure!

I’m very thankful for this opportunity. Even though I’m still in high school, I was given a chance to have an experience many other students don’t get, which was to experience college life as a high school junior. Being an African American teenage girl gave me doubts about my future, but coming to Trinity University for the summer helped me realize I can overcome any troubles and helped me realize that I could do anything I set my mind to. Keeping up with my grades helped me get here, and I recommend this to everyone. Keep your head up and focus on school because there could be great things for you in the future. You may not think it now, but hard work will pay off.