Back to the Future: My Brackenridge Experience

Throughout this summer, I think my biggest learning has been how open-minded research can be. Almost anything that involves seeking the answer to a question is essentially research, whether that be a collection of short stories or a scientific abstract. This also means creative expression which attempts to better understand an aspect of society. Ultimately, understanding research in this way has given me new ideas of what research would interest me in the future. Another major understanding for me has been how long research truly takes. With my PI’s schedule, getting IRB has simply taken much longer than anticipated.

These understandings have come from two main interactions: a) with my fellow Brackenridge scholars, and b) with my PI. Firstly, getting to follow the other scholars’ projects so closely has allowed me to realize that the research is truly endless. The questions that one asks and avenues one chooses with their project is really boundless, which goes to show that at the very base, research is a direct result of creativity. Additionally, with my PI, who has been extremely supportive and a wonderful mentor, I have learned so much about the profession of a doctor by shadowing her, and along with this, how long research takes to get done. Especially with a schedule like hers, research takes much much longer than I previously anticipated.

Ultimately, I think the most valuable aspect about the Brackenridge experience has been the various workshops we got to attend. Particularly, I loved the workshop about the global study abroad programs, as that got me really interested in possibly pursuing study abroad in the future. Additionally, I really enjoyed learning about abstract writing, publishing research, and attending conferences, all of which are extremely relevant when it comes to becoming a researcher.

Now that the Brackenridge experience is over, well technically, it is not actually over for me yet. I will be continuing my project in the fall, once I obtain IRB approval, which we hope to get this month. Continuing from there, I hope to take my project in a different lens by working with moms who have passed on CMV to their babies and researching their experience. By seeing my PI’s patients, I have realized I want to focus less on the molecular side of the disease, and more on the human side. Ultimately, I want to continue analyzing this disease and working with my PI in the future.

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