The Start of Something New

My ultimate career goal is to contribute to democratizing healthcare access, especially in low-resource settings around the world. I’m interested in how engineering and science can help me to reach this goal. There are many ways to do that, including working in industry and volunteering with an organization like Engineers Without Borders, becoming a device technician or field worker in a remote setting, or working in a lab to design cost-effective medical devices that don’t require lots of resources and infrastructure to operate. I didn’t know what specific path I want to take, so I applied to BSURF to see what it was like to work in a lab. I thought I could learn more about what being in a research lab looks like and if I was interested in pursuing research and lab work.

I know it’s only been one week, but I think working in the Chilkoti lab is fun. There are just so many things about the lab that are new to me. I have learned how to work with new tools and machines, polymerize a surface, and conjugate antibodies. After someone in the lab introduced me to all of the procedures and patiently answered all of my questions, I’ve had to practice doing these tasks on my own, which is equal parts daunting and exciting. This past week I successfully polymerized some slides, but the whole time I was so nervous that I was going to mess it up.

By the end of these 8 weeks, I’m hoping to be able to make a usable “D4” assay (more on what that means next week) on my own and to feel confident in my ability to contribute to the ongoing projects of the lab. I am sure there will be many mistakes along the way and asking questions with embarrassingly simple answers. But I know that with these less-than-ideal moments comes growth and knowledge. I look forward to what the rest of the summer has in store.

Me with some freshly conjugated antibodies.

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