My Average Itinerary

9:00am (Mon & Fri) / 10:00am (Tues-Thurs)

  • Arrive at lab.
  • Say good morning to everyone. Receive a friendly round of nods/verbal greetings back.
  • Check in with my mentor Jacob. Exchange our plans for the day, and confirm any meetings we might have.

(Whenever I arrive) – 12:30pm

  • Plop my stuff down at my lab table quadrant. Pull out the beautiful, sci-fi looking, high-speed processing laptop that Dr. Patek lent to me.
  • Spend most of my time on said laptop working in 3Ds Max to create 3D spine model prototypes. Rotate between sketching designs in my notebook, scrutinizing actual stingray spine samples, modeling spines in 3Ds Max, crash-coursing 3Ds Max tutorials/troubleshooting, and recording my modeling procedure in my notebook.*
  • (*This routine will change soon, once prototyping is finished and we move on to ballistics-gel making and puncture tests)


  • Get lunch. If I have a finished spine prototype by this time, send to the lab’s Makerbot to 3D print. (Depending on the load, printing can range from 30 minutes to a few hours.)
  • On all days except Thursday: lunchtime varies between going out together with other interns, and grabbing a quick bite from Au Bon Pain before returning to tackle some modeling problem I just can’t let go of.
  • On Thursdays: eat lunch during weekly meeting with the entire lab. Be the audience (along with everyone else) for various lab members’ presentation practice. Learn cool things about their projects. Give feedback. Low-key worry about what will happen when it’s my turn to go up front. Watch fellow lab members be genuinely engaged and give meaningful advice to the presenting group. Realize that no matter what, I will be in good hands.


  • If spine has printed, look at result and ask Jacob for feedback. Discuss potential improvements with the aid of a whiteboard. Begin designing next prototype.
  • Potentially, repeat itinerary from “(Whenever I arrive) – 12:30pm”
  • If a break from modeling is needed: read literature on spines and their cutting/puncturing mechanics.
  • If a meeting with Jacob is in order: convene at the lab’s whiteboard. Usually, meetings are called because Jacob is a great person and is happy to review things like my previous blog post and chalk talk. Potentially go off tangent and just start talking with him about cool spiny animals or his other ongoing research.


  • If this is the time when I finish a prototype spine(s), set to print overnight.
  • Leave lab. Say goodbye to anyone who remains. If I am the last one, double-check that the door is locked.
  • Return to dorm. Chill out and look forward to tomorrow. 🙂

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