We are scholars in the the first ever “Undergraduate Summer Research Institute” to take place at St. Ambrose University, and so, we are somewhat famous. Because of our celebrity status, we are sometimes required to make public appearances when not engaged in our groundbreaking research. So recently, we all packed into the super stretch limo disguised as a van that the university acquired for us and drove out to the middle of nowhere to tell all who would listen about our highly anticipated research.
Actually, what really happened is that we were invited to visit the farm of a St. Ambrose Physics Department alumnus to tell him about the summer institute and the research we’ve been doing. Upon our arrival we introduced ourselves and explained our future goals after graduating St. Ambrose. Everyone except for Kenner and me wants to someday be a medical doctor, but we all want to broaden our horizons and see what the world beyond SAU has to offer. We also explained our current research and what we hope to learn from the opportunity of being able to conduct our own research outside of the classroom.
After this we took a tour of the farm. First we went to the barn to see the tractors and farm tools along with an old automobile that our host likes to work on in his free time. Then we went to see his pond, and due to my fine driving skills, I was allowed to drive the gator over the pasture to arrive first at the pond. Once the others caught up we took a walk along the shore and tried to see if there were frogs or fish in the water. Mitch then drove Rob and myself back to the barn to regroup with the others so we could go and see other parts of the farm.
Our host then piled us all in the back of his pick up truck and he drove us to see the cows. For people who grew up in the Midwest, we all got pretty excited about cows :). At first the cows were cautious of our presence, but were also very curious. Many of the calves were peaking their heads over each other to get a better look at us while we were doing the same to them–it was very cute. Then the cows got bored with us and walked away. So we drove back to the barn to have a delicious lunch and tell more stories about our awesome research experiences.
As our trip was coming to an end our host offered a tractor ride to anyone who wanted to go, and I immediately raised my hand since I had never ridden on a tractor before. He told me to climb on up and drive it myself. I was in a few seconds of shock, I knew I had impressed everyone with my gator driving skills, but a three-ton tractor was a different story. But I didn’t want them to see me sweat, I said “okay!” and drove the tractor across the lawn and back with exceptional talent.
It was my favorite part of the trip, and I’m even more excited because I have pictures to prove that I actually did it. A huge thank you to our host–I know everyone enjoyed the trip!