STEP Experience: STNA Training at Premier Choice Health Services

From August 11, 2015 to August 25th I trained at Premier Choice Health Services for their Nursing Assistant (CNA/STNA) Training Program. This program offers a 75-hour prerequisite course that meets the education and testing requirements for nursing assistants as required by the Ohio Department of Health to work in long-term care facilities. Upon successful completion of the training program, I obtained my State of Ohio Nurse Aide Certificate (CNA) and I now qualify to take the State Nurse Aide (STNA) examination. 

This experience was more than just a two week experience for me. It was a stepping stone for my future endeavors that I am working towards. I plan to graduate with my Bachelors of Science in Human Development and Family Science from Ohio State and then pursue my Master’s of Nursing as a Clinical Nurse Leader. I love working with people and wasn’t sure if Nursing was for me until I started working as a STNA. Without this opportunity given to me through STEP I would have never had the chance to get that experience in the health field which ultimately led to personal validation of my life plans and I am so thankful for that!

Watch my video and see!

Raynisha French Raynisha French STEP Presentation (1)

 

Alexandria Zacharias STEP Reflection

What?

For my experience, I worked completed research as I worked with a Faculty member at The Ohio State University. While working with a Faculty member, at The Ohio State University, I was able to research different theories of child misbehavior. Over the years, many things have changed resulting in affecting a child’s behavior. For the purposes of the research paper completed, misbehavior was defined as bad behavior, such as disobeying parents, lacking respect, using foul language, and breaking rules. I spent time researching different influences on a child’s behavior over the summer and working with a faculty member to discuss my findings. I wrote a research paper on my findings on child misbehavior.

So What?

Throughout my research, I learned that there has been an increase in child misbehavior. This increase comes from a range of influences on the micro and macro level. While researching, I discovered that children who display a more aggressive behavior are more likely to have a future as an adult delinquency. Overall, the lack of parental guidance seems to be a huge influence on a child’s misbehavior, which leads to a child becoming an adult delinquent. In addition, I gained a lot of new knowledge from this summer research. I enjoyed working with a faculty member and having the opportunity to discover answers to any questions I may have had. My favorite part probably was researching a topic that related to my major and finding more reasons to love my major. This topic could also benefit me in the future either with my career or transition into a mother some day.

Now What?

This experience had a positive outlook on me personally. In the beginning, I was not too thrilled about research, but as I took on this topic I became more interested. The faculty member that I worked with encouraged me to explore more and think of ways this cold relate to my career. I furthered my knowledge with my career path and learned new information that can benefit me as a parent. I really enjoyed this research experience and I did not think I would like to take part in research originally. Additionally, with this experience I discovered more ways to develop within my major. I plan on attending graduate school and obtaining my Master’s degree. This experience amplified my excitement for working with children after learning more about the way they develop. Thus, I plan to specialize in pediatrics after obtaining my masters in nursing. Also, the opportunity to work with a faculty member really benefitted me as I gained new knowledge and helpful information for my major, graduate school process, and career goals.

STEP Reflection – Undergraduate Research Assistant

My Experience as an Undergraduate Research Assistant

 

What?

My primary responsibility during my STEP experiments was aiding in the completion of ongoing experiments in the lab. I specialized in immunoblotting. Immunoblotting provides information about protein expression by separating the proteins via gel electrophoresis. Immunoblotting is a tedious process that can take hours or even multiple days. There are a lot of tricks used to help optimize the outcome of a blot that may not be explicitly stated in the procedure, whether they are learned through people who have done it before or through your own observations. There are many nuances to the immunoblotting process, including but not limited to, primary antibody concentration, number of washes, wash duration, secondary antibody concentration, and film exposure time. Each of these numerous parameters can affect the outcome of an immunoblot. Whenever I developed a blot with clean results and low background as well results that resembled expectations it was very rewarding. The results from a single immunoblot could affect the direction or emphasis of an experiment. In addition to performing immunoblots it was my responsibility to check to make sure that we have enough supplies and to order antibodies if we needed them.

 

So What?

Working in a lab made me assume more responsibility than I was used to having. The work I did and the experiments I completed were part of a much bigger picture, with multiple people counting on me to come through. Working in a lab made me assume more responsibility, and in turn made me a more responsible person.

Working in an unfamiliar place with people I didn’t know forced me to be more extroverted in order to make acquaintances. Throughout the summer, I talked with other researchers about their experiments and other things that interested them. I always found it surprising what I had in common with the people who worked in the lab, and even more surprising the things we didn’t have in common. I believe this experience made me more comfortable engaging with coworkers and meeting new people in general.

I was personally very fortunate to have the opportunity to work on a project whose goal was to identify viable options for cancer treatment. Being a part of something with such an important purpose was truly a spectacular experience. It made me think of how lucky I was to have had the academic opportunities that ultimately allowed me to work on such an important project.

 

Now What?

Working in a lab helped me understand how the topics covered in class could be applicable in a research setting. It is now my goal to approach what I learn in class with the mindset that I may be using the material in a real world setting. Seeing the application of academic topics in a real world setting also reinforced my decision to go to graduate school after undergrad.

One thing I’ve struggled with is being punctual. When working in a lab, you have multiple people counting on you to come in on time and ready to work. If you’re late, it is detrimental to the experiment. I made it a personal goal to work on being on time. I owe it to myself, as well as those around me, to be on time and ready to work.

Working in an unfamiliar place with people I didn’t know forced me to be more extroverted. One thing that I am not particularly good at is going out of my way to make new friends. Once I got to know the people in the lab the experience was much more enjoyable. It also created an atmosphere where people were eager to help each other. This helped us complete our experiments in a more efficient manner. I made it a personal goal to try to engage more and not be afraid to meet new people.

Data Analysis and the Wonders of Academia

STEP Reflection                                                               Name: Alisha Keeton

For your reflection of your STEP Experience, please do the following:

  1. Fill in the Reflection Form below and post it on your respective STEP experience page at u.osu.edu.
  2. Upload 1 – 2 pictures from your experience to your osu.edu post if you have some.
  3. If you created a separate blog, video, digital story, etc. about your experience, please attach a link to your creation to your u.osu.edu post as well.

 

STEP Experience: Undergraduate Research

 

What? – During my STEP experience, I worked closely with two different colleges (The College of Education and Human Ecology and The College of Engineering).  The research involved engineering students going to a nearby middle school involved in the KIPP program and implementing activities that encourage the middle school students in the program to pursue engineering, when they reach the collegiate level.  My part in this research was to analyze the data (videos, in this case) captured from these sessions, in order to not only obtain future lesson plans, but also to determine what kind of an impact the activities were having on the students involved.  I also wanted to put a side note here, in regards to the videos and posting them on the dashboard – I am unfortunately unable to do so because of the privacy rights of the students involved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So What? – My STEP experience was phenomenal and my research advisor helped me to learn many things about myself and where this type of work could take me.  I have learned not only how to just analyze data, but I have also gotten a behind the scenes look at what it is like to work as a professor at the collegiate level.  My work in this STEP experience has helped me grow professionally and has also helped in a project that is encouraging underprivileged students to make something of themselves and achieve their dreams.  Many of the middle school students in the program were blown away by the activities and by realizing that one day those activities that they enjoyed doing so much could actually be their job.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now What? – My STEP experience has, and will continue to, affect my academic and personal life.  As much as I love being an education major, my experience really opened my eyes to the opportunities in the business world.  Now, although I have still not decided, STEP really gave me the opportunity to even question my major and I have actually taken all business courses this semester.  Luckily, I still have general education courses I need to take and will be filling those with education classes next semester, as it is my last semester before I absolutely need to make a decision on my major.  STEP has given me the opportunity to see what else is out there and really think hard about not only academic, but also personal decisions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rubric to Guide Evaluations of STEP Reflections at U.OSU.EDU

Satisfactory Unsatisfactory
Ø Provides a detailed description of the STEP Experiences.

 

Ø Includes a solid paragraph about how the student felt about the experience and what he/she learned and or gained as a result of the experience.

 

Ø Includes a solid paragraph that provides a clear idea of how this STEP Experience will assist the student with his/her academic, personal and/or life goals moving forward.  Shows evidence of some true next steps.

 

Ø Is readable and easy to understand and follow.

 

Ø Demonstrates that the student has been transformed in some way, i.e. in thoughts, ideas, a new understanding, or a clarified career path.

Ø Does not provide many details about what the student actually did for STEP Experience.

 

Ø Is a very short paragraph and does not to a good job of explaining personal reactions to the experience or provide a clear description of what was learned or gained from the experience.

 

Ø Is a short paragraph and does not show evidence that the student has a clear path forward as a result of the experience.  Does not provide any thoughts or ideas on what his/her next steps might be.

 

Ø Is difficult to read and has lots of typos and/or grammatical errors.

 

Ø Does not indicate any type of transformation for the students as a result of this experience in thought, ideas, understanding, or career path.

 

 

 

STEP Undergraduate Research – Ocean Reef Soundscape

What?

This summer I was a Marine Physical Lab intern at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) in La Jolla, CA. This program lasted for 10 weeks and culminated in an end-of-the-summer research presentation where I presented my research project to other members of my lab and other program participants. Within the Marine Physical Lab I was a part of the Marine Bioacoustics Lab under the direction of the principle investigator, Dr. Ana Širović, and one of her doctoral candidates, Katherine Cameron. My research project was to listen to and log calls collected via hydrophone off the southwest coast of the Little Cayman Island in order to learn the soundscape and localize fish calls, identify what type of call is made by what kind of fish, in order to lay the groundwork for further research in this area. The primary target of the project I worked on was to assess if there are acoustical triggers for Nassau Grouper, Epinephelus striatus, larvae to help them identify the locations of their primary habitat, coral reefs, versus the open ocean. This internship also provided lectures by factuality members in the Marine Physical Lab as well as tours of facilities, the Scripps’ Machine Shop, and an audio and 3D imagining research center on UCSD’s main campus. Also due to my position as an intern, I was allowed to attend several symposiums and tours of research vessels that occurred on Scripps campus and in San Diego while I was there. I was also given the opportunity to go out on the ocean and collect whale poop for a different doctoral student’s research. I also got to explore San Diego and do a lot of other fun things such as learn how to surf (surfboard provided by the lab), snorkel around La Jolla Cove with harbor seals, and play my bass at an art gallery opening.

So What?

This experience helped me discover and explore a possible career path. I am pursuing a dual degree in Earth System Sciences and Music Education and have been searching for a good way to combine my interests. Marine acoustics is a good combination of the two disciplines as it allows me to combine my interest in oceanography with a study of the music of the ocean. This internship also allowed me to perform undistracted research and see if I enjoyed just doing research. This opportunity helped me understand that playing the bass is also important to me, and that I should make sure I continue to play, no matter what my profession ends up being. All of the symposiums, talks, and tours I was able to go on helped expand my knowledge of the field of marine acoustics, especially marine mammal acoustics, internal waves, the Keeling Curve, and many other topics and gave me a good idea of what a career in the profession would be like.

Now What?

As I am trying to decide whether I want to become a research scientist or a teacher, this gave me a good look into what it would be like to be a research scientist. It also gave me an in-depth look at what it would be like to live and work by the ocean. This research experience helped drive me to join another lab, Dr. Derek Sawyer’s Basin Research lab group, in addition to Dr. Anne Carey’s research group, in order to continue research in the field of marine acoustics.

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STEP Undergraduate Research

What?

For my Step experience I chose to get involved in undergraduate research with the Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology. Specifically, I worked with Dr. Roman Lanno and his graduate student Steven Nagel on a project that investigated the effect of mobile technology on student achievement in the biology classroom. Mobile technology has become an integral part of both the university and K-12 classroom. However, there is very little empirical research on whether this technology actually helps students achieve learning goals. For this project we focused on the Apple iPad and sought to quantitatively assess the effect of the iPads when used as digital laboratory notebooks. The experiment involved data collection from two EEOB classes. A control group used traditional pen and paper notebooks, while the treatment group used iPads to record information. The student products were then analyzed by counting the number of words, pictures, annotations, and sketches for a specific laboratory exercise. This led to a quantitative measurement of the amount of data collected by each student. The student’s summative assessment scores were also recorded and compared with the amount of raw data they collected with either the iPad or the traditional notebook. These summative assessment scores were in the form of quiz or exam questions which specifically related to the laboratory activity. This allowed us to see whether students collected more information with the iPads, and if they did, whether it lead to higher summative assessment scores. The ultimate goal of this project is to determine if the iPads are worth the cost of implementing them into the classroom. While students may enjoy using them, they may or may not actually be helping them achieve in the classroom.

 

So What? 

This experience has been vital in the improvement of of both my professional and academic skills. I have become more familiar with the world of research and all that the profession entails. From the outside looking in, research seems exciting and fast-paced, but in reality I’ve found it to be very methodical and time-consuming. Research takes a great deal of patience and perseverance, as much of the work can be mundane and repetitive. However, these steps are necessary in trying to answer scientific inquiries and to contribute to the scientific community. During the experience, I had the opportunity to work with new statistics programs as well as improve my coding skills. I also greatly improved my professional communication skills in the correspondence I had with the PI, co-PI, as well as graduate students. Their guidance and help was vital in leading me through the project. I especially enjoyed working with them and want to thank them for all the time they put in to make this project a success. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to experience undergraduate research through the STEP fellowship. This project has pushed me to become a better student, communicator, time-manager, and critical thinker. I am happy with the work I have done through this project and hope to continue with research in the future.

 

 Now What?

My ultimate professional goal is to become a physician. As a physician, I must fully understand the scientific process and the steps needed to successfully investigate scientific inquiries. I want to contribute not only through the treatment of patients, but also through medical research that advances the effectiveness of modern medicine. It is important to keep up with the latest advances in medicine in order to provide the most complete and modern care available. I feel that linking research and patient care is critical in becoming  a successful doctor. By understanding how to navigate the scientific literature as well as determine the most relevant findings, I feel I can provide the highest quality care to patients. Furthermore, working with patients takes a great deal of interpersonal communications skills, skills that I believe I have improved 10 fold through this experience. This STEP experience has allowed me to get my feet wet in the world of research, but it is hopefully just the beginning as I continue to strive to reach my ultimate goal.

 

 

John Zarick STEP Neuroscience Research Experience

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STEP Reflection                                                               Name:  John Zarick

STEP Experience: Neuroscience Research in Contextual Memory via Neuro-Life Logging

 

 

What? –For my STEP project, I decided to dive further into the world of neuroscientific research. I’ve been a research assistant in Dr. Per Sederberg’s computational memory lab since I was a freshman, and now as a senior I wanted to be able to get a fuller experience of being a researcher. Working with both my STEP advisor Dr. Rosemary Loza, and my lab director Dr. Per Sederberg, we came up with a project that satisfied both the interests of myself and my lab. The project we decided upon was a bit of a step outside the box for our lab in terms of research.  We normally study contextual memory in the lab, via computer-generated context. That can mean either pictures or words or even just splotches of color on a screen.  I thought it was time to take the concepts that we study in the lab, to a less manufactured and forced context of the real world.  The experiment went like this, each participant was given a small camera called a narrative clip, which takes up the area of about 1 square inch. This is attached to the collar of the shirt the participant is wearing. This narrative clip takes pictures inconspicuously every thirty seconds.  The participant is not aware of when the camera will be taking pictures, as no noise or flash is made when it does so. They pick a day of the week on which to wear the camera throughout their school day, to and from classes. The same day of the week, a Tuesday for example, will be when they wear the camera for the second time. Having the participant wear the camera on the same day of the week ensures that they will have a pretty similar schedule. They will go to the same classes, have the same meetings, etc.  On the third week of the experiment, the participant comes into the lab, where we perform an EEG (electroencephalography) test on them while they complete the difficult task of deciding what day each picture was taken on. I select roughly 200 pictures and present them, mixed up, to the participant on a computer screen while we measure their brain activity through the EEG.  The average response correctness was around 70% correct overall. We also measured reaction time and other variables for further analysis.  After completing the task, participants were compensated monetarily for their help in this project.  The project is ongoing, but STEP funding allowed me to stay in Columbus over the summer so I could do research, as well as take a calculus class.

So What? – Throughout this experience, I’ve learned a lot. Not only did I learn how to use programs like ipython notebook, EEG pycorder, and other complex software, but I learned valuable lessons such as how to recruit people in a timely manner, how to organize your files in a way that makes it easy not just for yourself but for others, how to keep to a schedule, and how to ask for help when you need it.  That last one is a big one.  Sometimes I get carried away and think that I have to prove myself by being able to do everything on my own.  This is good sometimes, but can lead to big issues if you don’t have the skills necessary to complete a task.  As a student researcher, there are plenty of things that I don’t know, and if I were to simply charge ahead on my own and not consult someone with more experience, I usually ended up getting myself into a problematic situation that could have easily been avoided if I had swallowed my pride and asked for help.  This has been one of those experiences that you go into thinking that you will be prepared for, but find out how little you really know.  It has been fascinating and humbling at the same time.  I’ve gotten to know some of the grad students in my lab on a more personal level and am now able to relate to them more closely since I have now experienced a portion of what they do on a daily basis while working towards their PHDs. Overall I’m very glad that I chose to do research as my STEP project.  It allowed me to push myself in an area that I’ve had interest in for quite some time.  I would not have had the financial means to stay in Columbus without having to work a full time job if it weren’t for the money that STEP provided.  I have gained a tremendous respect for everyone that pursues research as a career, seeing the amount of work that goes into collecting even a small amount of data. I had a small taste of research, and it was difficult, but also satisfying to be able to accomplish what I have so far
Now What? – Through the STEP program, I got to move one step closer to my ultimate goal of becoming a Nurse Practitioner.  In order to be an effective healthcare practitioner, you need to be able to understand the theories and basic science behind the practices that you utilize to take care of people.  It isn’t enough just to go through the motions.  You have to know why each step in the process of healthcare is taking place.  Why are certain treatments better to start with than others? Why was this medication formulated in the specific way that it was?  If you have only experienced one link in the chain of healthcare, then you aren’t going to be able to fix things when they go wrong.  Having an understanding of the entire system is always going to result in better care for the patient. I believe that my research experience will be very helpful as I seek to integrate research into patient care.  It does the patient no good to use outdated information, so I want to be able to stay up with the latest research in order to get the most out of my education. I am positive that this experience will enrich and inform my future professional life as a part of the healthcare system.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP Research Reflection

What?

For my STEP experience, I worked as an Undergraduate Research Assistant in a research lab in the psychology department. I was assigned to graduate student whom I worked under. During my time in the lab, I learned many new computer skills including basic programing with Matlab as well as an open source photo editing software called Gimp. I also was exposed to using new technologies such as eye trackers, heart rate monitors, and EEG machines. The majority of my time was split between the testing phase of our EEG experiment and the final data collection and analysis for a children’s computer based pattern recognition experiment. For the EEG experiment I was responsible for recruiting new adult participants through flyers, monitoring and responding to emails from potential participants, scheduling and conducting pre-experiment screenings (eye dominance testing and head measuring mostly), scheduling the EEG experiments and paying them upon completion. The conducting of all of the EEG experiments was handled by our post-bac though I did learn how to gel EEG caps. For this experiment, I also spent a lot of time editing pictures of fruit and cartoon characters. For the second experiment I worked on, I conducted a computer based experiment on 3-5 year olds by driving out to preschools. Since this experiment was already written by the time I joined the lab, I mostly just followed the pre-written script, monitored the children’s behavior during the experiment, and ensured the computer was recording the data properly. After we had collected all of the data we needed, I was involved in writing a MATLAB code to sort the data from individual text files from every participant into one large manipulatable data matrix.

So What?

Though I did enjoy my time working in the lab, I enjoyed the people much more than I enjoyed my work. Much of the work done in psych research is very isolating and involves hours upon hours of staring at a computer screen editing something or writing code which is something I did not honestly expect. I am a very social person and work best when working with others in a group environment which is something I did not get while in the lab. I’m very hesitant to say I hated working in the lab but a lot of what was said was going to be expected of us vs what we actually were asked to do were two very different things and I think if I had known that going in, I would have either chosen a completely different lab or done a completely different STEP project all together. There were days where I dreaded going into lab because it was a very agitated and somehow correspondingly lonely environment. The grad students didn’t bother to learn our names and often assumed that we had limitless time and energy because working in the lab was more important to them then having a job or going to class. Overall, I did learn a lot about myself and the field of research. I used to think research and grad school was something I wanted to do but now I know that it is definitely not for me. I learned that I need socialization as part of my future career and that I cannot tolerate just working alone behind a computer for the rest of my life.

Now What?

If I had discovered how I felt about psych research before half way through my junior year, I honestly would have changed majors. Unfortunately, I would not be able to change majors and graduate on time and financially, I have to graduate in 4 years because of scholarships. Therefore, I started looking for other future career goals that didn’t involve research or grad school. That’s when I found the Disney College Program so for spring semester my junior year, I happily quit my research lab, abandoned all the other negativity in my life, and moved to Florida of 7 months to work and live at Disney World. Honestly, it was one of the best life decisions I have ever made. I have now decided to make a living out of the theme park world and am currently in the process of applying for a management internship with Disney World. Come graduation, I will be moving to Florida to start the rest of my magical life in the happiest place on earth.

STEP Reflection

What? – A detailed description of what you did during your STEP experience.

I worked along with Dr. Patrick Nana-Sinkam and two post-graduate students, Jennifer Flemming and Rahman Muhammad, in the Comprehensive Cancer Center- Lung Cancer division. I learned the fundamentals of cell culture, cell counting, harvesting RNA, protein, and exosomes via ultracentrifugation. Furthermore, I was able to do qPCR experiments and wound healing assays. I designed my own experimental focus: studying metastamiRS within the parental line and its exosomes using healthy lung cell line PC14 and its metastatic counterpart PC14HM. As far as what I have been doing in lab, it is a very novel idea because most of the focus of microRNAs within exosomes have been related to breast cancer. Furthermore, only a handful of exosomal microRNA within breast cancer papers have been published. To this date, not one research paper has looked at investigating microRNA found in exosomes within lung cancer tumors/cell lines. What has been investigated is total RNA microRNAs.

A side project of mine was working on publishing a paper along with Dr. Nana-Sinkam that serves as a review for early detection biomarkers of lung cancer.

So What? – A personal response to your STEP experience, including feelings, thoughts, judgments, and what you have learned about yourself and your assumptions from what you did and how you reacted.

This experience definitely helped me build confidence. At first, I felt completely out of place due to not knowing how to set up the experiments and only having a small knowledge base about exosomes and microRNA from what I learned in classes. However, Dr. Nana-Sinkam’s lab was so welcoming and understanding. I was comfortable with asking questions, and am now more comfortable with asking when I do not understand something in my classroom settings. Dr. Nana-sinkam pushed me to think of the answers to my own questions first before he told me. This has led me to try to find an answer to questions about cancer, biogenesis, etc. before asking him.

Now What? – Discuss how the things you experienced and learned during your STEP experience will affect your academic, personal, and life goals moving forward.

This STEP experience is one that I am not only grateful for, but also proud to be a part of. I learned many useful and fundamental lab techniques that will help me further in my career choices. I learned more about what I want to do in life. I knew I always wanted to practice medicine, but am happy to have met the group I work with to see that it is possible to also do research, as well. I will continue to work on publishing the review and doing research in this lab department.

STEP Experience Reflection

What? – A detailed description of what you did during your STEP experience.

During my STEP experience, I worked on an avian nutrition project under a faculty advisor in the Department of Animal Sciences. Our main goal of the project was to compare the metabolic response of both quail and pigeon to heat-shocked time periods during incubation. To begin my part of the research, I had to read through numerous peer-reviewed articles in order to find out what genes we were going to target in each species’ liver and muscle tissues. From there, once we had found a good number of genes that would paint a clear picture of the avian metabolism, I spent many hours in the laboratory collecting data. The first step in my data collection came from isolating RNA in the tissues of the quail and pigeon. Proper isolation of the RNA from each sample was critical in order to perform more tests on our selected genes. Therefore, the next lab technique I performed was reverse transcription of sample RNA to complementary DNA, or cDNA. In addition to performing these techniques, I also researched primers for all of our selected genes in each species and each tissue. The selection of working primers was essential in the next step: polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, testing. During this test, I used the specific primers on each of our samples to attach to the sample’s cDNA and amplify the gene related to the primer. If the primer used produced results, then it could be used for the last lab test I performed, real-time PCR. This type of PCR is like regular PCR except that a computer monitors the reaction and provides specific quantification for each gene tested. Thus, the results helped to give us an idea of what genes were being amplified and used more often in the metabolism of the developing avians.

So What? – A personal response to your STEP experience, including feelings, thoughts, judgments, and what you have learned about yourself and your assumptions from what you did and how you reacted.

Personally, I feel that my STEP experience was very eye-opening. I had never participated in a research project before and learning about the complexity of all the lab techniques was initially very difficult for me. However, once I understood exactly what the lab tests were analyzing and how they worked, I began to feel less frustrated and more excited to gain results. I would say that by far, my favorite part of the STEP experience was being able to see the results and know I helped to progress the research of my faculty advisor. Initially, I was worried that having no experience in research would cause me to make a minimal contribution to the project. On the contrary though, I think it was my lack of experience that allowed me to keep an open mind about what I was doing and ask my faculty advisor more questions regarding each step. In addition, as an animal sciences student, the research itself was relevant to my major and something I am very interested in.

Now What? – Discuss how the things you experienced and learned during your STEP experience will affect your academic, personal, and life goals moving forward.

Moving forward, I would say everything I learned from my STEP experience will make me a better animal sciences student, future career professional, and person. As I worked on the project, many topics I learned in my animal sciences nutrition class became reinforced. For example, I learned about glucose and lipid metabolism in animals but it was not until I worked in the laboratory that I learned about each gene involved. Additionally, I saw how these genes varied not just in avians but in different avian species. Thus, I believe the research made me a better animal sciences student as it provided me with more knowledge in a hands-on manner instead of just in the classroom. My life goal is to become a veterinarian and as a future professional, I think that I have benefitted from this experience substantially. Research is a critical component of veterinary medicine and having a solid foundation already allows me to apply my knowledge on future research projects. Also, if I want to become a full-time researcher, I now know what I am getting in to as a career. Lastly, I believe that my STEP experience in research has made me a better person. In challenging myself and stepping outside my comfort zone, I found that even when I get frustrated, I can still come out successful and achieve my goals. To gain valuable research experience is not something that everyone can say they have done. Thanks to my STEP experience, I was given the opportunity to gain incredible knowledge and learn more about myself than I ever thought possible.