Lauren Higa

I’m a rising sophomore in the Parsons/Lang BA/BFA program at The New School. I am majoring in Economics at Lang and Design and Technology at Parsons with the intent of minoring in Interdisciplinary Science. I became involved with Smyth Labs after taking Microbial Ecologies with Prof. Davida Smyth in the spring. My work this summer took place in both Hawai’i and NYC. In Hawai’i, I was able to participate in the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa/Kapiolani Community College’s MINA (Malama I Na Ahupua’a) service-learning program, which involved doing conservation work around different parts of the island. In addition to this, I was also given the opportunity to volunteer at the Palolo Learning Center, which provides educational and artistic opportunities for youth living in low-income housing. My work in NYC was more lab-focused, and involved collecting soil samples from various parts of The New School and observing whether or not any of the bacteria we found in these samples possessed antimicrobial properties. Throughout the summer, I was able to develop my own independent project related to soil microbiology. I was able to investigate the effects of acidity on the microbiome of the school’s green roof and surrounding tree pits.