Updated: Dec 13, 2021
Elijah Burks participated in the International Interdisciplinary Conference on the Environment, IICE, this past October along with other students from the United States and Mexico. Elijah is a senior at Caddo Parish Magnet High School in Shreveport, Louisiana and has interests in a range of environmental topics from climate change and freshwater acidification to conducting scientific research that helps humans respond proactively to today’s critical environmental threats. He is in the process of applying to universities, and has big ambitions to serve as a leader and top researcher in whatever field he decides to enter. Although he is still figuring out the details of his future, he knows that he would like to pursue a career in orthopedic surgery. He hopes to leave behind a legacy that makes himself, his loved ones, and community proud.
Q: How did you discover the IICE?
A: I discovered IICE through my mentor, Dr. Amy Erickson. Dr. Erickson and I were involved in past research on freshwater acidification, and she believed that I would have a lot of fun presenting my research at IICE.
Q: What is your research and how did your interest in the topic start?
A: The title of my research was “The Effect of Freshwater Acidification on Clams”. My interest in this topic was inspired by watching nature documentaries about climate change. My research question came to fruition after seeing numerous articles on saltwater acidification, but almost nothing on freshwater acidification. However, it wasn’t until seeing my parents eat seafood one night that I wanted a project focused on clams.
Q: What interested you the most about attending the IICE?
A: I was most interested in learning about other water-related research done by others. Reading literature is fun, but actually observing people present that research is an experience like no other. Seeing the enthusiasm that someone has when sharing their research results is a very special moment.
Q: What did you like most about the IICE?
A: The thing I liked most about IICE was its inclusion of local populations. Much of the research that I observed was about climate change, but there was also a lot of research on indigenous populations. I feel that a lot of environmental research is focused on organisms, but humans are very important too. Seeing how IICE beautifully merged research on environmental issues and human concerns amazed me.
Q: What are some of the benefits for students to attend an academic conference like the International Interdisciplinary Conference on the Environment?
A: I believe that attending academic conferences such as IICE allows students to broaden their academic interests, and maybe inspire a future research idea. Conferences also allow for amazing networking opportunities that can lead to internships or research opportunities. Having the opportunity to present at conferences such as IICE is an amazing experience. I used to fear public speaking, but as I presented my own research, I became very comfortable speaking in front of large audiences.
Q: What are your upcoming academic goals and how has attending the IICE supported these goals?
A: My next major academic goal is getting accepted into college. I plan to be heavily involved in research at whatever university I choose. Having the opportunity to present at IICE will definitely add to my resume, and increase my chances of getting into a competitive research program.
“The Effect of Freshwater Acidification on Clams” Elijah Burks, IICE 2021. This research was conducted in partnership with the Department of Biological Sciences, Louisiana State University Shreveport, Shreveport, LA.
The International Interdisciplinary Conference on the Environment is an annual, scholarly conference dedicated to understanding and approaching today's most wicked environmental and human problems from an interdisciplinary perspective. The IICE provides a space for professors, students, researchers, activists, and stakeholders to share knowledge and listen to experts from diverse disciplines, backgrounds, and geographic boundaries. Learn more about the IICE Here.