January 11, 2011

Duckweed Research: getting started

Duckweed has been the topic of my research for nearly 3 years now. Lab work, field work, literature review...my notebooks and data keep increasing and yet I still haven't written my proposal to initiate my official research. I have presented at a few conferences and even made a couple posters; yet, I have not yet written a paper from beginning to end discussing my objectives, methods, results, and recommendations. So it's about time.

Despite collecting oodles of information and drafting several outlines, the task of actually sitting down and writing my thesis is overwhelming. As I've pondered about how to accomplish this task I've been inspired by three sources: Mark Twain, the scriptures, and my wife. Mark Twain is credited with saying:

"The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one."
Mark Twain

While Alma, from The Book of Mormon, said:

"Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise."
Alma 37:6

And finally, my wife is credited with saying...well, a lot. She is an inspiring writer/researcher/blogger.

So that's my method for getting this proposal/thesis written--breaking the writing task into smaller pieces via blogs. By blogging about my research, it will not only provide a template for writing and brainstorming, but will also provide a place to document stuff that will never make it into my final thesis.

Here are most of the presentations and posters associated with this research project:

Water Environment Association of Utah (WEAU)--Fall 2008 Conference Poster
"Laboratory Experiment for the Evaluation of Duckweed as a Cost-Effective Technology for Management of Nutrients and Emerging Contaminants in Municipal Wastewater Systems"

WEAU--April 2009 Conference Presentation
"Ecological Engineering That Uses Duckweed to Remove Phosphorus and Nitrogen from Wastewater"

Slides prepared for Wellsville City proposing duckweed treatment and showing Boulder City, NV, project details--Summer 2009 Slides (never presented, information only)
"Presentation for Wellsville City showing Boulder City NV equipment and results"

WEAU--Fall 2009 Poster co-produced with Maureen Kesaano
"Understanding Duckweed Systems from Harvest to Disposal"

Spring Runoff Conference (Utah State University)--April 2009 Presentation--First Place
"Using Duckweed to Remove Phosphorus and Improve Water Quality"

WEAU--Fall 2010 Conference Presentation
"A Theoretical duckweed System for Removing Phosphorus from Logan City Wastewater and How it Compares with an Algae System"

USU Environmental Engineering Seminar--Spring 2011 Presentation
"A duckweed system for removing phosphorus from Wellsville City wastewater"

1st International Conference of Duckweed Research and Applications--October 2011
"Understanding a duckweed system in a temperate climate from harvest to disposal"

1st International Conference of Duckweed Research and Applications--October 2011 (co-presenter with Dr. Louis Landesman from Virginia State University)
"Modeling the growth of duckweed populations"

WEAU--Fall 2011 Conference Presentation
"What duckweed does for lagoons"

Thesis Defense--April 17, 2012
"Duckweed uptake of phosphorus and pharmaceuticals from wastewater in Wellsville City (UT)"

1 comment:

  1. Blogging your progress is really an effective way to keep track of your thesis. It's also a nice way to back up your documents just in case something goes terribly wrong with your computer. Better keep your thesis progress in check, 3 years of hard work is hard to come by after all!