Coming into BSURF, I honestly had no idea what to expect. I’ve never worked in a lab before, but I have thought for a while that I would like to work in one. I mean, one of the reasons I chose to go to Duke was because they have so many research opportunities, even for undergraduate students, and I knew I would want to do research in college. It is a little weird, though, that I still didn’t really know much about what doing research even entailed, even when I was contacting my PI for the first time to set up a meeting about working in his lab over the summer. I wanted to do research because that was where new discoveries were being made and new technologies were being developed. I am majoring in biomedical engineering because I want to take my love of science and make something out of it. BME labs are developing the medical technologies that are proving means of dealing with medical issues. I suppose my main goal of the summer was to get some hands-on research experience by diving right in so I could figure out if doing research was something I really wanted to do, and if it was, then learning ways to stay involved for the next three years of my college experience.
Now that I have spent a week in the lab, I have a little more of an idea what working in a lab involves, so I know a little more about what I should expect from the next 7 weeks in the lab. At first, I was very overwhelmed because I felt unprepared and like there was no way I was going to understand what they are doing in the lab with my freshman knowledge of biology, chemistry, and engineering. But through asking questions, I quickly started to learn and now I feel like I sort of know what is going on. This summer, I expect to learn more and more about how to do common lab protocols, such as cell culturing and histology. I expect to become more and more educated in the field of immunoengineering so that reading journal articles in this field will no longer be so confusing. I also expect to make new friends through the BSURF program and learn more about doing research from their experiences as well. Finally, I expect to learn a lot from the faculty seminars during our morning meetings about the many different things going on at Duke. I am very excited to keep learning in the next 7 weeks.