This summer I worked in Dr.Ashley Keiser's soil ecology lab. Conceptually, I learned about soil dynamics and the value of soil from Dr. Keiser and other coworkers in the lab. After reviewing literature, I broadened my understanding that cover crops and cover crop termination methods can have an impact on nitrogen mineralization and in turn soil fertility and soil health. Practically, I gained both field and lab experience. I went out to UMass Research Farm to collect soil samples with an auger. I incubated soil in an ideal living environment for soil microorganisms and measured their respiration rate as they decomposed leaf litter. I tested inorganic nitrogen content, including ammonium and nitrate in those samples, using a plate reader instrument. Data management and analyzing are also valuable skills I obtained this summer. Finally, I drew conclusions based on the data and made a poster that expressed my understanding of the project.