My Brackenridge Experience

As the summer begins to wind down, I am approaching the end of my Brackenridge Fellowship. What started out as simply a means to continue my research into the summer has developed into an enriching educational experience that has expanded my knowledge not only of how to execute my own projects and communicate my work effectively but also of how to understand the work of others, be it scientific or not.

This summer of participating in research through the fellowship has taught me a lot of things. I have learned that experiments are not always going to go exactly the way that your color-coded Excel spreadsheet planned them to, and when things do go awry, I have learned that mistakes are opportunities to grow as a student researcher rather than signs for me to give up. I have learned to collaborate with other students on how to express our ideas and how to constantly ask thought-provoking questions.

Through the Brackenridge Fellowship, I have met so many students with such unique and wide-ranging research interests and academic backgrounds. When I first got involved in research, I felt very alone. I had all these responsibilities and hoops to jump through with no one to voice my frustrations to who would understand where I was coming from. There was no one to share in the excitement of success either. The students that I have met through Brackenridge have opened my eyes to the community of undergraduates performing research at Pitt and to the support that exists for student researchers if they are willing to seek it out, and I find this to be the most valuable aspect of this fellowship.

Now that the fellowship is coming to a close, I plan to continue research through my senior year of college. Data from my current project, researching the prevention of painful diabetic neuropathy in a mouse model of type II diabetes, will contribute to a grant application in October. In the next few months, I will also be continuing the process of applying to medical school. There are a lot of exciting things in the future, and I cannot wait to apply the lessons I have learned through the Brackenridge Fellowship in my research and in my future career.

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