With HSRF coming to a close, it’s mind-blowing to think about how much I have grown this summer, both as a researcher and as an individual. When I first started HSRF, I had little knowledge on how to be an effective researcher. I had only worked with people who were knowledgeable in my research field, and I never had the opportunity to communicate my research to a more general audience. This is with good reason though, as my research, which studies developmental biology in the model organism C. elegans, is a very niche research field.
I have learned a lot about how to effectively communicate my research while in HSRF. For instance, every week, we began the class with a quick “elevator pitch” of our research projects. This was a great exercise for me because it helped me build confidence in my communication skills, and I was able to better explain my project as the summer went on. I also learned about how to communicate one’s research depending on the target audience: for example, a public significance statement for a grant should have less scientific jargon so it’s more accessible to the general public, while an abstract for a journal article can be more detailed and specific. Overall, I have become more comfortable with explaining my research to different audiences with the help of HSRF, which is an important skill to have as a researcher!
Aside from communicating my research project, I have also learned a lot from the guest speakers. In particular, I found Dr. Terri Hastings and her talk on research and imposter syndrome to be impactful. As someone who has and frequently experiences imposter syndrome, it was comforting to know that even experts like Dr. Hastings have these feelings of doubt in their professional work. It’s something that’s not often talked about, so I was grateful that Dr. Hastings presented the importance of talking about imposter syndrome and ways to overcome it.
It’s bittersweet that my HSRF journey is coming to a close, but I am looking forward to what the future holds! I will be entering my junior year this fall, and I’m excited about the courses that I’ll be taking this upcoming semester. I also plan to “officially” begin my road towards medical school by studying for the MCAT and drafting applications, and, of course, I hope to continue with research. I truly have learned a lot from HSRF, and I hope to carry the lessons I have learned with me as I continue on with my academic journey.