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Tullaia Powell

High School Fellow


What has been the most impactful part of your time at Tyson?

"Seeing the community of people. Because from the outside, you know, people might think that science is just stuffy lab work all day. But everybody really enjoys spending time with each other and we always make time to have fun. Science is like a community. It's not just doing your own work and stuff."

How was it working on a team that had people all the way from high school to principal investigators?

"There are people of all different skill levels but it wasn't treated like different skill levels. Everybody gets a chance to do everything, from the exciting stuff to just washing the dishes. We're all treated equally, which is really nice."

What has been the hardest part of the summer?

"We’re only here for a month, but we have so much stuff to do. I'm always thrown into doing new things and I have to learn on the fly. I'm a pretty quick learner but it's still difficult for me. They're like, ‘Okay, now do this all by yourself.’ It is kind of overwhelming at times, but I do look back on it and I'm proud that I was able to accomplish it."

What has been the most fun?

"Everything has been fun. Even the things that didn't seem fun at the time, like the tick trapping when we were outside in the heat, carrying 30 pounds of dry ice. You know, I look back on it and I'm like, Oh I'm glad I got to do that. Because, you know, not many people can say that they've done that."

How have your feelings towards mosquitoes changed?

"I have grown to appreciate how complex they are. You know, they're not just malicious, out to bite you for no reason."

Tullaia worked with Kim Medley and Katie Westby's Mosquito Team during summer 2018. Learn more about their urban ecology research here and their container mosquito research here.