It is hard to believe that this program is already coming to a close. If you look back at my first blog post, you’ll see my main hopes and expectations for this program were to expand my knowledge of neuroscience, integrate myself into a community of scientists, gain communication skills, and learn what a career in research entails. I would say that all of these hopes have been fulfilled. I have learned so much science in the past eight weeks. Whether I was preparing for my chalk talk, putting together a presentation for my lab, or making my poster, I felt like I was constantly learning. Not to mention, I learned from my peers’ research as well as the faculty talks. As far as communication skills, this lab has definitely taught me how to work in a team. Being part of a pipeline for DNA isolation with four other people required that we all communicate and coordinate our schedules so the procedures would flow smoothly. My experience outside of the lab, from conversations with my P.I. to lab meetings to faculty talks, has given me a more general view of what research is like.
One thing I’ve noticed is the variable nature of research. Science does not always go as planned – research means adjusting to failures and moving forward. Science isn’t always clear-cut, and neither is the path to a career in research. Every faculty member who came to speak to us took their own unique path to their research, often involving some element of serendipity. I was bewildered by how much chance seemed to be involved in their careers. However, it is also evident that passion and hard work always preceded these fortuitous moments. In the words of Dr. Lefkowitz, “You make your own luck.” (And in the words of Edna Mode, “Luck favors the prepared, darling.”)
With that lesson in mind, as I move forward, I will be earnest in pursuing my interests, asking questions at every turn, and immersing myself in research that I am passionate about. Considering how different research experiences can be, I hardly think eight weeks in one lab is enough to say whether I see research as a career, but I do know that I am a scientist at heart. I love to ask questions, investigate problems, and discover information. I may not know the specific research topic that I will end up pursuing, but in general, I want to investigate problems involving memory/dementia. I hope to contribute to society by making an impact in this field, whether it is through research or clinical practice, or some combination of both.
I’d like to extend my thanks to Paul, KP, and Ron for working so hard to make this program possible. Thank you to the faculty for taking the time to come share their valuable insight with us. I am also grateful to my secondary mentor, Carole Parent, and PI, Dr. Jarvis, for all their guidance and support throughout this program.