We have four Sewanee undergraduate research assistants working with us this summer to survey vegetation plots at Franklin State Forest and Fall Creek Falls. I will highlight each of these students over the course of the summer.
The first research assistant I interview is Emily Riedlinger. Emily is a rising sophomore (C’18) from the tiny town of Boerne, Texas. She will be a part of the Sewanee Herbarium research team for the shortest amount of time – three weeks – before she takes a trip to Germany. Before her term as a research assistant, she was in Belize for the field course taught by Dr. Evans. She came to be a part of this project because she has been interested in trees, having taken forestry courses, but wanted to have the opportunity to do something with scientific value.
Emily has omnivorous tastes, enjoying both the arts and the sciences. She took part in a play last year and plans to work as a theater tech at the Tennessee Williams Theater next year. “Come see our plays – they are free!” she encourages. During the school year, she works at Stirlings. When she has free time, Emily enjoys drawing, caving, and Trivia at the Blue Chair Tavern.
When asked about her intended major, Emily is sure that it will be “something sciency,” but has not yet declared.
Emily’s favorite tree is a South American native, the Ceiba tree, which she had seen in Belize. “It’s crazy beautiful with these huge branches covered in epiphytes – the Mayans believed that the Ceiba tree linked them to the underworld.”
In the field, Emily has been a mushroom enthusiast, photographing the wide range of fungi that can be found on the forest floor. She has also become a seasoned American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus) catcher.