If I tried to summarize everything I’ve learned this summer, about complex scientific techniques, about careers in research, and about myself, I think this blog post would be a novel.
My mentor, Dr. Trisha Vaidyanathan, was the key component in making my summer experience as incredible as it was. She went beyond teaching me what I needed to know for our summer project–encouraging me to attend lab meetings, lab social events, and planning for me to shadow others in the lab to learn about their respective projects and paths.
Being able to shadow others made my summer experience all the more unique and beneficial. I was able to expand my experience further by working with techniques and model organisms different from those used in my project–ranging from in-vivo 2-photon imaging of astrocytic calcium activity in mice to breeding transgenic zebrafish. I even had the opportunity to attend a thesis dissertation by a member of the Eroglu lab!
As for my path in research, this summer has been incredibly useful in learning which aspects of science I enjoy most. Specifically, after experiencing both behavioral and molecular work, I find myself more drawn to questions at the molecular and cellular level. I intend to continue working in the Bilbo lab this coming semester, and hope to be able to further explore the molecular and cellular techniques being performed in the lab.
Outside the lab, through our BSURF programming, I learned not only about the breadth of research being done at Duke, but also about the various paths through academia, and the day-to-day lives of those who’ve chosen to pursue research.
I’m incredibly thankful to the Bilbo Lab for welcoming me and making sure I felt comfortable in a new and intimidating environment.
I don’t think this blog post would feel complete without also talking about my BSURF friends. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of friends to spend the summer with– from our nightly group dinners, movie nights, and spontaneous Durham excursions, I always knew I had something to look forward to coming home from lab.