The biggest thing that I learned this summer was that research is not just completed in the lab. Before the Fellowship, when I thought about what research was I mostly just thought about conducting research in a lab. Obviously, this is still the case with some projects. For example, one of my friends from the Fellowship was working with mice and his project was mostly in the lab. However, I also found that sometimes research can be conducted through reading and studying in a library. Someone else from the Fellowship was looking at Fascism throughout the years in Italy and their research was almost completely in studying papers. Before talking to him and others like him, I never really thought of research as something that didn’t take place in a lab, but this fellowship has definitely opened my eyes to that fact.
I think I found the knowledge of how to complete my own research project the most valuable. I didn’t really think that I would have the knowledge to do a research project all by myself (and with my faculty mentor of course), but the Fellowship gave me that knowledge. I had never even assisted in a research project before so I was completely new to all of the stuff. However, I think that I learned quickly about different things such as working with the IRB as well as writing purpose statements.
In terms of future steps, I would like to take my project’s idea even further. I believe that Social media as it relates to our beliefs is something that will be around for a long time, and it is not just restricted to COVID. My mentor and I are already discussing other projects that will look into the bias of news articles even further. It does not even have to be on the topic of COVID, there are plenty of other hot topics that could serve as a starting point for a new project. For my future goals, I still want to go to Medical School and become a trauma surgeon.