Sometimes, as students, we forget to take advantage of all the resources provided by this phenomenal institution. One of these resources is the faculty. Twice a week, different faculty members speak to our program about their lives as a researcher. Some of the faculty were well established (including a Nobel Prize winner) and others were new to teaching. Though they were all researchers, their specialties ranged from evolution to HIV to bird song. Each speaker had taken a different path to get to where they are today but none of it could be considered easy. They each worked hard for what they accomplished, occasionally stumbling along the way. Overall, I was thankful that they would take time out of their busy schedules to come and speak to us.
One speaker that I thoroughly enjoyed was Dr. Lawrence David. His research involves looking at what humans eat and how it effects gut microbes. I thoroughly enjoy talking about food, so hearing about his studies were exciting. He also talked about how his research allowed him to travel. Traveling and research are rarely talked about, but it was cool to see how he was able to combine the two. What stood out to me about his talk was the fact that he spent half of the presentation talking about questions he frequently gets asked from students. This really stuck with me because some of the questions were the same ones I have. It was nice to hear his prospective and to hear some of the advice he has gained along the way.
Though each talk was unique in their own way, they all had some similar takeaways:
- Nothing in life is going to be easy. Doing research can be hard and frustrating at times. You must work hard in order to accomplish the goals that you have for yourself.
- Not everyone will end up where they expect. Just because you plan to do research in a certain topic, does not mean you will end up there. Be open to the changes that may come throughout your education and your career
- Find what you love. If you enjoy the topic, it makes the work more interesting.
Again, I would like to thank all the faculty that spoke to us over the summer. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us.