Oh, the places I’ll go (next)!

With all the incredible experiences I’ve been able to have this summer, both inside the lab and out, it shouldn’t surprise me that everything came to an end so soon (time flies, and all that). It still feels unbelievable to me, though, just how much I was able to cram into my brain in such a brief yet rewarding amount of time. Today, I am able to run procedures and use machines I had never seen or heard of prior to BSURF without a second thought. (What I like to call my) scientist’s intuition for understanding and interpreting data has grown beyond my wildest dreams; I no longer rush to turn to Julia for help interpreting an electrophoresis gel image, I get to tell her what I think happened and we can discuss together next steps. My understanding of new procedures, (even the ever so complicated Western Blot) is high, and I can infer what each step is doing or make an educated guess that Julia can help confirm or adjust. My brain has never been this full of scientific aptitude, and my excitement to continue to apply what I’ve learned in lab settings has only grown.

My renewed excitement and passion for science is all thanks to a number of people who were able to guide me along the way throughout this program. Julia, my mentor, of course made every day easier than the last with her helpful explanations and direct answers to all of my questions. She is a fantastic graduate student to learn from, and inspires me every day to not be afraid of making mistakes, but to be excited to learn from them. Because what fun would research be if everything went perfectly, anyways? Dr. Tenor and Dr. Perfect are some of the kindest people I have ever met and their vast knowledge of the science world and community baffles me, but I aspire to know as much as they do someday. I am grateful to them for welcoming me into the lab and for showing me the way to a bright future in research. Of course, Emily, my lab partner in crime, was so much fun to spend time with this summer and I can’t wait to see her in lab again in the fall!

Lastly Dr. Grunwald and Dr. Harrell, many thanks to you for putting together such a wonderful summer research experience, especially for the sophomores who couldn’t do it last summer. My disappointment and anger at COVID-19 for ruining my summer last year was completely overshadowed but the scientific joy and gratitude I felt this summer, making up for lost time. Your commitment to promoting good science in undergraduates really shines through in all that you do, so thank you so much for the opportunity you’ve given me and the doors you have opened.

Though it’s sad to leave now that the program is over, I will hold onto all the knowledge, skills, and memories from these past weeks for a long time, many of which I’m sure I’ll carry with me after graduation, into my career, and beyond. So for the head start on a long journey through undergraduate, graduate school, job-hunting, etc., I am eternally grateful. See everyone in the fall!

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