Beginning in sophomore year, I became involved in an antibiotic discovery course, which involves searching the soil within our local environment. When I discovered a microbe producing an unknown antibiotic compound, I became intrigued and wanted to learn more. This experience became a DIS, and is now my honors project. I’ve been able to learn all about basic lab techniques, as well as scientific writing, presentations, and how to work through the challenges of research. I was also fortunate enough to have a summer internship with a children’s hospital in Delaware. With that experience, I was able to work on multiple different research projects using the hospital’s database. Turning a bunch of patient data into meaningful and understandable research was incredibly rewarding. I was even able to be first author on one of the projects, which is currently being peer reviewed and will hopefully be published in the next few months.
At the end of my freshman year, I heard of a trial course being offered for students who may be interested in research. This class, BIO292: Antibiotic Discovery was designed for underclassman that may not yet have basic knowledge for lab science. Even though I had no idea what I wanted to do with my future, I figured that this would be the perfect opportunity to learn whether or not research could be a career path for me.
Both of my applied learning experiences have been incredibly valuable have helped me discover my passion for research. I’ve gained more skills doing research than I have in any other course. Beyond the basic scientific knowledge you gain, applied learning experiences also allow you to gain skills in critical thinking, public speaking, organization, time management, and much more. At times, research is certainly challenging, as it is time consuming and doesn’t always go how you want it to; however, these are usually the times that you usually learn the most!
I’m currently in the process of applying to graduate school, and I believe that my undergraduate applied learning experiences make me a great candidate for many schools. I feel confident applying since I know just how important these types of experiences are. Getting involved in research shows that you’re not only a motivated student, but also that you have the tools and skills to continue doing great things in graduate school and beyond.