From the summer of 2016 to this fall 2017 semester, I have worked on a Directed Independent Study (DIS) and my Honors Project. I mastered various lab techniques during my DIS, such as understanding cell culture and working with Seahorse XFp Metabolic Flux Anaylzer. My Honors Project includes understanding the effects of caffeine on rates of oxidation in isolated mouse muscle cells. I am testing the hypothesis that caffeine enhances fat utilization in muscle cells I have truly enjoyed working with and learning from Dr. Kinsey, the PhD students, and the graduate students in my lab; everyone is incredibly nice and willing to teach whenever I have a question. I feel more confident in the lab and I feel a greater appreciation for scientists everywhere.
I belonged to the STEM Learning Communtiy my first semester here at UNCW in fall 2014 and my UNI professor was Dr. Grove. For our end of the semester project, he assigned us the task of finding a professor and his or her research that we found most interesting. From there, we had to ask to interview the professor and present our findings to the class. At the time, I actually found Dr. Kinsey's projects to be most interesting, so I interviewed him for the project. I still found his work just as amazing a year and a half later, so I asked if I could do a DIS in his lab. From this experience, I was hoping to test my interest in lab work and see if I would enjoy the independent work.
I have gained an immense amount of knowledge from this whole experience. I discovered my love for working in a lab and figured out that I want to pursue graduate school instead of medical school. Dr. Kinsey, the PhD students, and the graduate students have taught everything I know today about the true meaning of researching in a lab. I absolutely love learning and this environment constantly challenges me to strive to the next level. Even through the transition of truly working independently, I found my confidence in the lab. When I first started the lab, I found myself feeling very nervous about the amount of work I needed to do on my own in the lab. However, with time and repetition, I improved immensely.
Once I graduate, I plan to take a year off and then apply to a graduate program. In my year off, I hope to be accepted to a job where I work in a lab for a pharmaceutical or research company. I feel that these projects will show that I am experienced in the lab, that I can work independently, and that I love learning. Being able to be passionate about my future will help my push through any stress of a new job or graduate school.