Well… Great is an understatement. My time this summer has been enlightening and better than I could have imagined.
At the start of the program, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to pursue a career in research. I also didn’t know what type of research interested me, nor did I have any prior research experience. Throughout the last 8 weeks, I learned valuable skills that I can continue to use in the future. With my mentor’s guidance, I learned and improved the technical skills necessary to conduct the hormone research done in the lab. Some of these skills include drying, aspirating, and pipetting samples, all while handling radioactive and biological specimens. Aside from the technical skills needed at the bench, I improved my communication skills. Although I was aware of what constitutes an abstract, I learned how to effectively communicate through informal talks (like a chalk talk) and a poster thanks to my mentor, Dr. G, and Jason.
One of my favorite parts of BSURF was listening to the various experiences scientists had throughout their career. The faculty talks showed the diverse range of research being done at Duke in different fields. From extremophiles to neuroplasticity to the microbiome, hearing from all the PIs during the faculty talks showed the variety of topics an individual can focus their research on. The faculty talks also provided the opportunity to learn about the decisions the PIs made to reach the current phase in their career that they are in now. These experiences, along with the experiences of my mentor and PI, have increased my awareness of how I could proceed in scientific research following my undergrad.
I greatly enjoyed my research experience this summer, and I look forward to delving more into my scientific interests. Working in the Alberts Lab deepened my interest in evolutionary anthropology, and I plan on taking classes in the department to learn more about primate social behavior.
I am truly grateful for all the knowledge I gained from my mentor Dr. Laurence Gesquiere, my PI Dr. Alberts, Dr. G, and Jason, along with my fellow BSURFers. This has been a truly amazing opportunity and I’m so grateful to have had this experience.