Iva Thomason

How does a permafrost lake influence downstream carbon cycling?

UAF Freshman
B.S. Fisheries and Marine Science (Oceanography Concentration)
B.S. Chemistry
Hometown: Wasilla, Alaska

Iva in the field
Iva at Smith Lake with the long arm collecting a water sample to run through the filtering system that was operating off camera. The long arm is necessary for collecting water far enough out for a more accurate sample of the water's contents.

Iva is a Summer 2023 Student Project Award Recipient. 

Under the mentorship of Dr. Sarah Ellen Johnston, Assistant Professor of Environmental Chemistry, Iva's research focuses on the biodegradable organic carbons (BDOCs) in Big Trail Lake located in Goldstream. The project includes going out into the lab and collecting water samples, going through the BDOC protocol in the lab, and doing a running labs on the samples to collect data, such as fluorescence and absorbance.

How is your project going so far this semester?

Iva in the field with a mentor.
Iva and Paige Kehoe, CNSM Graduate Student Mentor, filter water from the Big Eldorado Lake into 40 mL vials. It was necessary for someone to hold the vial while another person used a cocking gun to push the water through a 60 mL syringe. The contents of the vial were then run to test the amount of dissolved inorganic carbon in the water.

My project for this semester is going well. My mentors and I have been going sampling and I have continued to conduct BDOCs throughout the summer semester. I have also participated in training involving lab equipment and statistical computing software.

How did you find out about URSA and what encouraged you to submit an application for funding?

I initially found out about URSA during freshmen orientation. After being accepted into a research chemistry lab by my Teaching Assistant, I was encouraged to apply to URSA to get additional funds for my research project.

How does your URSA project relate to your career or personal goals?

I’m considering going into research as a career. Besides that, I enjoy it. I find that I have fun in the lab and out in the field. The URSA project helps create a good addition to my resume and provides opportunities to pursue what I enjoy.

If you could share one piece of advice with students interested in pursuing URSA in the future, what would you say?

I would advise students interested in URSA to not be afraid to ask for help. Whether it’s finding a project mentor, filling out an application, or questions about the process, the people of URSA are there to help.