Isadora Friedlander ’17

Conference work taught me how to talk about what I'm doing. Because of this kind of work, I'm able to sit down with a professsor, someone who has a PhD, who's an expert in their field, and discuss what I'm studying and the research I'm doing.

What is one of your favorite conference projects?

I think the conference project that really represents what I am passionate about was one that I did for my microbiology class called Fungi of Sarah Lawrence, which blended my interests in science and art. For the project, I did a taxonomic survey of the fungi on Sarah Lawrence’s campus. Over the semester, I photographed fungi all over campus; every time I found a mushroom on campus, I just pulled out my camera, took a picture, and recorded all the data I could: what it looked like, what it smelled like, where it was, what the weather was like, where I found it, etc. And then I put together a catalog in phylogenetic order, which means in order of how the different mushrooms are related, of all the fungi around Sarah Lawrence.

What other kind of collaborative work have you done here?

Last semester, I was in a four-person class where we did a Westchester-wide study of the Bronx River. Over a month, we collected hundreds of macroinvertebrates and calculated a biotic index to determine levels of pollution in the river. We presented our findings at the Bronx River Alliance.

What have you learned from your conference work?

I did these projects with my professor Michelle Hersh (biology), who forces me to ask questions from perspectives I don’t understand. Conference work taught me how to talk about what I’m doing. Because of this kind of work, I am able to sit down with a professor, someone who has a PhD, who’s an expert in their field, and discuss what I’m studying and the research I’m doing. It’s collaborative.