It is already the end of the research fellowship! The summer went by quickly, and I gained many skills to benefit me as a future researcher and physician. During the school year, I cannot run my research projects from start to finish because of time conflicts with my classes and extracurriculars. Instead, other people in my lab help me with parts of my project. I would struggle to conceptualize my project if I did not complete every step. During the summer, I managed all aspects of my project, which helped me grow in my understanding of the methods and purposes behind each step. The support from the HSRF made it possible for me to research full-time over the summer.
I learned that research is flexible, and it is challenging to plan your schedule. It was much harder to meet the research deadlines than I expected. Often, my research took twice as long to run a protocol successfully, and I had to troubleshoot many aspects of my project. One part of my project took five attempts before it was successful, and I spent over a month trying to sort out this issue. In addition, my original research project uses mice, which are still not yet ready to be studied. Instead, I had to prepare a new project at the beginning of the HSRF. I had to learn new methods and read papers the first week of the summer to prepare. Hopefully, I can work on both projects during the next school year.
Now that the fellowship is over, I plan to continue researching at my lab, working towards a Bachelor of Philosophy or a senior thesis from the Department of Neuroscience. The project I started this summer still needs a few more months of work, so I plan to wrap up this up next semester. In addition, I will be transitioning from the Health Science Research Fellowship to the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Teaching Fellowship, where I will work with the organic chemistry lecturers to improve the active learning environment of their recitation sessions. I am excited to continue my involvement with the FHC during my last year as a Pitt undergrad!