Coming into B-SURF, I had very limited experience working in labs outside of the structured step-by-step procedures I followed in the lab section of my science courses. I was even less familiar with the research and the process behind the countless scientific discoveries that appear in the news. I expect that spending these 8 weeks with the B-SURF program will give me the new and exciting experience of working in a research lab and familiarizing myself with all that goes on in carrying out a formal experiment. I hope to have a better understanding of the bridge between the science we learn about in class and the ground-breaking discoveries we see in the headlines. I hope to get to know what happens behind the scenes by not only listening to what my peers are doing in their labs and observing others conduct experiments, but also by answering scientific questions myself.
I expect that I won’t understand everything that is going on in the lab at first glance and that I will be confused and make many mistakes. But I also expect to be okay with making mistakes, own up to them, and transform them into learning experiences. I expect to work deliberately to keep an open line of communication with my graduate student mentor and PI in order to make our collaboration a meaningful one. In particular, I hope to ask a lot of questions and really make sure I understand the purpose of the experiment that I will be contributing to and where my work will fit into the broader research project. I want to learn about all aspects of the research community, ranging from the inspiration of the experiment to the equipment used in collecting the data to the process of publishing a paper.
While I expect to learn a lot of new concepts, techniques, and skills in lab, I also expect to learn a lot outside of lab, through the people I meet and the stories we share. I hope to meet many new people, both in the B-SURF program as well as in the lab, and form meaningful and lasting relationships with them. I hope to have exciting, mind-opening conversations about the work we are doing and listen to the stories and motivations behind their work. I expect to create these connections over the course of this summer, and I hope to keep the relationships going even after we leave and go our separate ways.