Abbi Simons

Abbi Simons


Crystal Lake, Ill.

Degree programs

Will graduate with a dual bachelor's degree in Biomedical Sciences and Diagnostic Medical Sonography

Year of graduation


Place of employment

Co-op employment at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History

Job title and work responsibilities

Marine Botany Anatomist

It was my job to identify anatomical features of Rhodophyta (red algae) by taking digital photos through a microscope. My work provided the botanists at the Smithsonian with a database of these red algae photos that any scientist could access if he or she needed to identify an unknown algae or the body features or other structures for that algae. Some of the slides I photographed were 100 years old, so I needed to clear up the images where stain on the algae had faded or glass had cracked and yellowed. I took color and black and white photographs for each slide using light microscopy and focusing on different objects that will allow scientists to identify the stage of life the algae is in among other things.

How my career relates to my degree from RIT/NTID

The courses I took in my major were intensive, and I learned a lot of laboratory and microscopy skills to prepare me for my co-op. I learned that the biology and medical biology field doesn’t have enough experienced microscopers, so the skills I brought to the job, the ability to use various microscopes and take images through them, plus my interest and excitement in the job made my lab manager happy to teach me more and more. I enjoyed my job and was excited about learning new things like plant specimen preparation, slide preparation and staining. My boss was interested in having me come back this summer with the idea of providing me with more training that might possibly lead to a job after graduation.

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