Brian Andrew Gottwalt

Did you receive any recognition (awards, publications, scholarship) for your applied learning experience?
Ann Sherman Skiba Undergraduate Research and Creativity Fellowship
Briefly describe your applied learning experience

I am currently working in the Kinsey Laboratory looking at the effect of caffeine on skeletal muscle growth, development, and metabolism. I culture C2C12 myocytes, which is a strain of skeletal muscle cell found in mice. Conjectures regarding the true physiological implications of caffeine vary immensely. My research aims to provide more conclusive evidence about the role(s) caffeine plays in cell processes such as mitophagy and protein synthesis to gain a better perspective on how it may alter overall muscle development.

Did you receive any grants or other funding for your applied learning experience?
Scholarship or Fellowship
How did you get involved in this applied learning experience and what did you hope to gain from it?

I investigated the research specialties of professors in the biology department and after speaking with Dr. Kinsey about his work, I began working in his lab the following semester. I hope that undergraduate research will provide me with the privilege to learn useful—and often fundamental—laboratory skills and techniques. 

What did you gain from this experience? What was challenging? What did you learn?

Full disclosure, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Long hours in a laboratory setting may intimidate some people but the wealth of knowledge and skills I have gleaned from my research is simply priceless. I would not trade the time I spent in the lab for anything. During my research, I learned the importance of initiative and how your level of dedication to a project is one of the chief factors in determining its success.

In what way will this experience make you a more viable candidate when you are seeking a job or applying for graduate study?

This project permitted me the chance to learn and subsequently apply concepts discussed in lecture. This learning model fosters a stronger level of understanding and is not dissimilar to many academic platforms employed by graduate institutions. Altogether it was an enriching experience that will undoubtedly aid in my preparations for the rigors of graduate studies.