As a student, establishing connections is extremely important. I started doing research with Dr. Lau on the Mountain Valley Pipeline during my spring semester freshman year. I participated in collecting macroinvertebrate, water chemistry and physical habitat samples along several of the streams that the pipeline is projected to cross, in order to measure stream quality. We've been taking these samples back to the lab to analyze using microscopes and programs such as R Studio. This past summer, she received a grant that allowed her to pay her student researchers for their work. I am grateful to have gotten involved in research with Dr. Lau, for she has provided me with an opportunity that helps me financially and academically. I urge every student to get involved not only with your professors, but in research early on. Not because of the money, but because of the experience that you will be able to carry with you beyond graduation.