Diving in at the Deep End, but (Slowly) Learning How to Navigate

Day one of BSURF and I was diving in at the deep end with my first lab meeting at the Calakos Lab, where lab members discussed the projects they were working on. I was slightly intimidated by the vast array of jargon, diagrams and graphs that were presented, but at the same time I became even more motivated and excited to learn. As I introduced myself to my new labmates at this meeting, my Principal Investigator asked what I expected from my summer research experience. Put quite simply, I responded, “I want to learn as much as possible and make even a small contribution to the lab.” But let’s further unpack that. 

Prior to this summer, I had never had a serious research experience. Coming to Duke, I knew that research was something I wanted to try, but I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant. One of my primary goals for this summer is to leave with no regrets and ensure that I utilize every possible learning opportunity. Even though right now a lot of scientific research on my topic goes right over my head, I expect to delve into the scientific literature on my project, and hopefully, get a better understanding of what I am trying to accomplish. In my first week alone, I have obtained so many new skills and learned so much from my mentors, but I know that this is just the beginning. I hope that as I gain an understanding of this field, I get a sense if research is something I want to continue throughout the rest of my undergraduate and professional career.

While I obviously don’t expect to find a life-changing discovery over the summer, I do hope to help out in the lab in any way that I can. I hope to establish a good relationship with my mentors and my labmates so that they can count on me to do what I am expected. I want them to know that I am eager and ready to help in whatever capacity that may be. Ultimately, I know that this first week might have been a bit of a steep learning curve as I get acquainted with the lab, but I can’t wait to see what the rest of the summer holds and slowly, but surely learn to navigate this new world of science.

My First Time Doing PCR on my own!

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