After having spent a few days in the Gersbach lab, I am looking forward to a multitude of things this summer. Primarily, I am excited to complete my project and though it may be small, be able to make a positive contribution to both my lab and science. After taking numerous science classes in high school and during my first year, I’ve learned about many common lab procedures and attempted them within our class setting. I was also a Work Study in a lab during the school year, so I was able to observe certain processes but not assist. Now I can finally apply my scientific knowledge to a project that might contribute to my field while understanding and performing the experiments myself.
Second, I hope to learn more about common techniques in a lab and gain practice with technical skills. Soon I will be doing these procedures on my own, so this is a good time to practice the protocols and learn from my mistakes. There are so many brilliant graduate students and postdocs in my lab that would love to answer any questions I have, especially my mentor Veronica, so I know I should take advantage of the collaborative environment as I learn to eventually clone guide RNAs or culture cells on my own.
Finally, I’m excited for the unexpected. Each lab I performed in class had an expected result and the teacher knew exactly what would happen. We had studied the biology and chemistry behind each step and could determine why an experiment failed based on our knowledge. In a research lab, a hypothesis can be made, but often the results are surprising or disappointing. I could make a discovery that leads to plenty of new questions or my experiment could fail and I would need to start all over. I anticipate failure at some point, but I must be prepared for any outcome because scientific research is often unpredictable. Overall, I hope this summer will teach me a lot about both scientific research and myself in a lab environment that will cultivate my passion for discovering the unknown.