STEP Reflection Haley Meek : Summer in a Research Lab

STEP Reflection                                                                                                                                                  Name _Haley Meek_____

STEP Experience _Undergraduate Research____________________

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

For my STEP experience, I spent a summer working in the molecular genetics lab of Dr. Adriana Dawes. The lab studied the types of proteins involved in embryonic cell polarization and used C. elegans (nematodes) as a model organism. While at the lab I worked under a postdoc focusing on the proteins involved in pronuclear rotation in the embryos. To do this I analyzed videos using a program called ImageJ of early embryonic development and recorded and organized measurements from said videos. I also spent time assisting the postdoc in creating a genetic sequence for a new nematode strain to be used in further experiments. To do this I learned about designing a sequence and performing PCR reactions and other laboratory techniques to produce genetically altered nematodes.


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.

I really valued this experience and am glad that I had the opportunity through STEP to participate in it. I learned so much about what it is like to be in a research laboratory setting and to help me decide if pursuing a career in research is something I want to do. I also learned valuable laboratory techniques that will highly benefit me if I decide to pursue a career in research. I also learned that I have much better problem-solving abilities then I had first thought, through working through common lab problems and arriving at a solution. I was also able to see just how vast the field of molecular genetics can be and how almost everything within the field can be applied to most living organisms and the limitations there are when it comes to some of them.


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

Through this experience I learned so many valuable research and lab techniques that will help me to continue pursuing a career in research. It also has given me a better understanding of topics covered in some of my core classes and given me the extra edge of seeing this topics in action. Also, by participating in STEP I was able to find a lab which has resulted in a continued undergraduate position beyond my project. Because of this I will be better prepare for graduate school and a possible research career.Nematode Plates