Cassie is a senior majoring in biology. She is also a transfer student, originally attending East Carolina University. "When I got here I changed my major four times before finding my home in biology my junior year," Cassie says. "I am really interested in epidemiology and zoonotic diseases."
Cassie is a military kid who spent a lot of her childhood overseas so travel is a favorite thing for her to do. "I am convinced that the best way to learn is in a foreign place, culture shocks are good, they make you think, learn, change your view on the world around you," she states.
After her maymester/research trip last year, Cassie became even more excited to explore a new and amazing place. "The amazon is one of the last truly wild places," says Cassie. "To get to experience it, and then possibly have a role in protecting it at this level of schooling is super exciting and I cant wait to be there."
While in Peru I will be collecting mosquitoes and animal samples to determine the status of dengue virus in wild forest, rural, and urban areas. My goal is to assess the microbiome of infected vs. not infected mosquitoes to form a correlation between disease status and internal bacteria. Additionally I will be examining the correlation between clear-cutting of the rain forest and dengue fever prevalence.