Internships: My Summer of Science
When I was a little girl, I rarely watched Saturday morning cartoons; I was too busy watching the Discovery Health Network and growing my love of science. I have taken numerous science classes and gone to different STEM related camps, but none of them compared to my internship at Indiana University Purdue University- Indianapolis (IUPUI).
For the last eight weeks I have been working as a research intern in the department of biochemistry and molecular biology through the Summer Experience for Economically Disadvantaged students (Project SEED). Project SEED/STEM is a program that partners with the American Chemical Society (ACS) and helps high school students get research experience at local colleges/universities across the nation. In Indianapolis, the SEED chapter contained about 80 students who were doing research in all facets of science. It was really amazing to be surrounded by like-minded individuals who love science just as much as I do. They not only helped me learn about so many different areas of science, they also pushed me to become a better scientist.
My project focused on a protein called Angiomotin and how inducing a specific mutation can affect its lipid-binding affinity. While I won’t bore you with all of the details of my project, I can say that it was an incredible experience for a plethora of reasons. First off my mentor, Dr. Ann Kimble-Hill, gave me a lot of independence in lab. At times it was nerve-racking because I was afraid I would mess up everything, but most of the time it was exhilarating, well as exhilarating as lab work can be. Secondly, I had a great lab group who helped answer a lot of my questions and made the days in lab go by a little faster. Lastly, the experience that I gained was invaluable and I can go on to work in different laboratories across the country.
This internship has helped me realize that I really love doing research. I used to think that being a doctor was the only way to heal others, but I have learned that research is a worthwhile way to achieve that same goal. I have already spoken to professors at Rhodes and already have a research position lined up for the school year because of my experience. My experience has placed me ahead of the game and if already know what you want to do, I encourage you to try and do the same.
Camps, internships, and shadowing opportunities are all ways that you can further your knowledge with a field and make connections. Even if you are solely interested in a subject, try to find a person that you can talk to in order to see if that’s what you want to do. While college and entering the workforce seems far away, it is closer than you think. Gaining experience and knowledge in your prospective field is going to make a top competitor. Figure out your passions and research what it takes to reach your goals!
Until next time,