This summer has been a great learning experience, both in terms of making me more aware of the science community here at Duke as well as helping me develop skills to become a better scientist. I got the opportunity to meet so many amazing people and hear about the exciting research projects they started this summer. The faculty talks exposed me to a wide variety of research topics and made me realize how so much is still unknown about the world. Beyond just learning about science and research, I also developed skills that will be useful during my remaining 3 years at Duke, as well as further into my educational career. I learned how to effectively read and understand the main points of scientific journal articles, and perhaps more importantly, I learned how to communicate my own science, whether it be by presenting a chalk talk, creating a concise abstract, or making a poster to present my findings.
These past 8 weeks in lab has definitely taught me a lot about science in general and how the whole process of research involves a multitude of steps beyond just running an experimental trial. I realized that steps such as doing preliminary testing, planning an experiment, training animals, conducting control trials, collecting data, processing data, and analyzing that data are just as important as the experimental trial in exploring a research question.
Although this summer’s research experience has not greatly influenced my future career choice, it has showed me what one can do with a background in biomedical engineering and how the science we read about can be applied in a laboratory environment. Attending lab meetings and reading journal club articles gave me a better understanding of what biomedical engineering in a neurobiology context means and how we can use various optogenetic methods to explore novel ideas about the brain.
Reflecting on everything that I was lucky enough to experience and accomplish this summer has made me beyond grateful for the BSURF program. Although BSURF has come to an end, I look forward to continuing my journey in the science world!