Arcadia STEM Summer Abroad- Limerick, Ireland

During two months of the summer, I was a participate in the Arcadia STEM summer abroad in Limerick, Ireland which was made possible through STEP funds. I worked in a Biomedical Engineering lab at the University of Limerick studying the mechanical properties of the meninges and the role they play in concussions. During this project I found that my understanding of my project, career selection, and myself grew.
As a premed student at the Ohio State University I have only really viewed concussions through a clinical lens. With this project I began to see different sides such as the mechanical sides which gave me a more holistic idea of the worldwide problem of concussions. I worked alongside engineering PHD candidates who showed me how to mechanically define basic medical things like tissues. They gave me a more fundamental understanding of how biologically human bodies function.
This experience helped me narrow down my academic goals. I already knew for the most part what direction I wanted to go in, but working in a Biomedical lab showed me that first I don’t want to be an engineer, though I was able to develop an appreciation for what engineers do. I worked with many engineers and know that I can understand them, but I preferred the medical side of things. Second, my experience confirmed that I want to continue working in a lab. I enjoy the area where innovation roams freely and has the ability to be developed to impact lives. I plan to continue the pursuit of medical research with the remaining time I have left at the Ohio State University and hopefully into the future as well.
Throughout my experience in Ireland, I felt like I became more of an independent person that was able to explore and meet other cultures of the world away from my own family. I was the very first student to do the Arcadia Stem summer program in Limerick, Ireland. It was very unique because I felt like I had a bit of reign over how I wanted my program to be. The lab I worked on had a main goal, but I was able to decide what exact role I wanted in working towards that goal. I choose this program because of the project and really enjoyed learning the role meninges have in concussions and in recovery. The people I worked with were inspiring in their innovation. They had ideas that could impact the world that they would share and invite me to work with them on in order to share their vision. I am truly grateful to all the people who I had the chance to work with and made my experience so amazing.
The most valuable thing I learned from this program was learning how to be independent out in the rest of the world. This included figuring out what exactly I want to do with my life as well as making a plan as how to accomplish my goals. Goals start with the small things like planning trips on the weekend and increased to the project size I was working on or even larger to life goals. This program gave me confidence to try new things such as traveling new places and it was up to me how my experience could have been.