It’s a simple answer but, my expectation from this research experience is to learn A LOT. I’m feeling fortunate for the opportunity to get involved in genetic engineering; something that I am truly passionate about and that I think is absolutely fascinating. Over a year ago now I applied to the BSURF program and although a lot has changed since the end of my freshman year, my scientific interests have stayed consistent. The top three labs in my preference list were the same and in the same order as they were last year so it’s safe to say that I’d been waiting a long time for Summer 2021 and I’m excited it’s finally here.
As I previously expressed, I want to learn as much as I can this Summer. More specifically, I want to learn how to do proper science, both in theory and in practice. Learning the theory of the techniques used in a molecular biology lab will be my job behind the scenes (aka a lot of reading outside the lab). But alongside knowledge and a deeper understanding of the theory, I would like to build a strong foundation of practical laboratory skills. In these next 7 weeks, I hope to learn the laboratory techniques necessary to build my competence and independence in a genetic engineering lab. Designing a relevant experiment and being able to understand it and its difficulties from both a theoretical and technical standpoint is my ultimate goal.
In the following weeks, I’d also like to learn more about myself. I’ve known I wanted to pursue a career in science since I was little. I was a particularly curious child and asked a lot of questions. “Where do volcanoes come from?”, “What’s the biggest number?”, “Why is the sky blue?”. Although simple and often poorly stated, I remember my parents and teachers encouraging my daily flurry of curious questions. In elementary school, many children dressed as superheroes or cowboys for Halloween; I put on a white lab coat and glasses. I loved that in science class, when a question was asked that didn’t yet have an answer, the knowledge gap was admitted and the topic was labeled as one that required further investigation so that maybe one day we might find an answer. I love science and the way it allows us to engage with what we do and do not know in a way that fosters a deeper understanding and a desire to pursue new knowledge, but I still don’t know what it really means to be a scientist. Only experience in the lab can teach you that. Without a doubt, my interests naturally attract me to research and this Summer I will find out what it really means to follow my childhood dreams. Soon enough I’ll be answering questions that previously had no answer.