Reflecting on the past 8 weeks of BSURF, I feel extremely excited and confident about my choice of pursuing a career in research.
Working in Wray lab this summer has completely shifted my perspective on what it’s like to be a researcher in a lab:
- The lab environment isn’t only cutthroat and isolating, but a community of researchers who share knowledge, support each other, and build off of each other’s ideas.
- Novel research and discoveries do not take weeks, more like years or decades.
- Not everyone is 100% sure on what they are doing; you will fail more than you succeed when it comes to research.
This summer, the learning curve was steep; every day I stepped out of the lab, I had learned more than my brain could ever retain, and I left with even more questions. One of my goals was to always strive to take on challenges and learn new things outside of my comfort zone. My mentors taught me about dozens of new molecules, reagents, chemical reactions, and protocols. Some of my favorites were RNA extraction, qPCR, stem cell culturing, antibody staining, and fluorescent microscopy. Every day, I became more confident walking into the lab, setting up my experiments, working through the calculations, and trusting myself to carry out the procedure well. I started to ask more questions, try out new things that may not work 100%, and weigh in on decisions that influenced my projects’ trajectory. I greatly enjoyed the environment that my PI instilled in the lab and am grateful for his involvement and guidance throughout my project.
Outside of the lab, I learned a tremendous amount from the guest speakers we heard from every week. Their success, resilience, and love for what they do inspired me greatly. It gave me insight into what a career in science research would actually look like, which was a lot different from my previous assumptions.
Next semester, I intend to build upon my research in Wray lab through an independent study as I continue to solidify what my specific interests and passions are. Thank you BSURF and Wray Lab for being my introduction into the wonderful world of scientific research.