Mareli, a Ph.D. student in the Van Bael lab, joined the graduate student course in tropical biology this summer. She traveled to several sites in Costa Rica with the Organization for Tropical Studies. While there, she had the chance to learn about plant systematics, conservation grant writing, podcast-production, and intense experimental design/hypothesis testing. She also worked with sea hares in tide pools and the beloved leaf cutter ants.  “Being in this environment has sparked my scientific creativity immensely,” Mareli said.