STEP Reflection Prompts
Name: Nicholas Craven
Type of Project: Undergraduate Research
- Please provide a brief description of your STEP Signature Project. Write two or three sentences describing the main activities your STEP Signature Project entailed.
My STEP project involved conducting research in Dr. Wood’s protein lab. Different techniques that I frequently utilized were buffer creation, cell culturing, and protein expression.
- What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed while completing your STEP Signature Project? Write one or two paragraphs to describe the change or transformation that took place.
I think I learned the most about myself in a professional sense. I learned that I really love the flexibility working in a lab entails. Also I found that problem solving skills are by the most important because a lot of working on your own project is figuring out what you think is best with little guidance. And a good educated guess saves a lot of time then wild guesses. I also learned the difficulties that I’m going to face while doing research, and how I’m going to have to overcome those to be an effective researcher. For instance, preparation is incredibly important because otherwise it can be very easy to not stick to a schedule and that makes the project tend to drag out much longer than intended. Finally, I also learned the importance of organization. With so much going on at once, being incredibly organized is crucial so you can quickly get the information you need to continue to make effective progress.
- What events, interactions, relationships, or activities during your STEP Signature Project led to the change/transformation that you discussed in #2, and how did those affect you? Write three or four paragraphs describing the key aspects of your experiences completing your STEP Signature Project that led to this change/transformation.
I think I learned the most by tackling this project alone. While working more directly with a graduate researcher like I have in the past, you always have someone else to make the final decision on important problems. Without someone like that, I was forced to face the issues myself and use all of the resources available to me to come up with what I thought was a manageable solution.
Also, talking a lot with the other people in the lab was very helpful. Seeing different methods people employed in their research gave me a lot of good ideas for how I would approach my own work. I also got to learn about others projects and what parts of graduate school I should be looking forwards to and which parts I need to more heavily prepare for.
One of my biggest concerns in the coming future is finding which graduate school that would be the best fit for me. Because of this, having lots of people around who had already gone through that experience was very helpful. I learned about what to look for in schools that would be a good fit, as well as all the different fields that are available to do research in in my field.
- Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life? Write one or two paragraphs discussing why this change or development matters and/or relates to your academic, personal, and/or professional goals and future plans.
Academically, this transformation and learning has significantly helped me feel more prepared for the coming graduate school experience. I have always known that I wanted to move on to it, but until this project didn’t know fully what that would entail. Being around so many people to look up to and learn from was very impactful on my upcoming decisions and hopefully will lead to me making the best decision possible. Armed with this information I hope will significantly impact my future success in research.