Description of my STEP signature project:
For my STEP signature project I conducted tests at the Institute of Behavioral Medicine and Research at The Ohio State University. The lab I researched in primarily focuses in the effect that inflammatory mediators have on neuron degeneration in the brain. Part of my duties was to run tests with samples, whose results would later be analyzed.
How did my understanding of things change while completing my STEP project?
My time in the lab due to my STEP project made me realize that lab work and research plays an extensive role in healthcare. Professionally, I learned a great deal about how serious each day and each experiment is. Working in a lab involves many trials and many failed attempts but with each attempt you are getting closer to your final goal. My previous exposure to labs had only been through my undergraduate courses so I didn’t have that understanding or realization of why I was taking these courses, but after spending my time doing research I saw that many techniques I had acquired over time were coming into play.
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?
I was under the guidance of my lab manager who has extensive knowledge when it comes to thesis papers and bench work. Each day that I worked in the lab I was given the task of completing experiments such as immunohistochemistry and quantitative polymerase chain reaction. At first I didn’t understand the depth of what was to be gained from each run but my lab manager interpreted the data with me so I was able to get a better understanding. By working in a branch of behavioral research I came to realize the goal behind each experiment is to garner a better understanding of the cognitive processes within the organism being observed and its correlation with organisms in the natural world. The systematic analysis and investigation of human and animal behavior through the study of the controlled and naturalistic observation attempts to accomplish legitimate conclusions through rigorous formulations and observation.
Working in the Institute of Behavioral Medicine and Research I was fostered relationships with like minded individuals who are pursuing careers in the same field as myself and those who have devoted their time to science to better improve the quality of life for the population. This project proved not only to be a good experience but also a great way to meet like minded individuals and learn about opportunities.
Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life?
This project proved to be of significant value to me because it reassured me that I have chosen the right future vocation for myself and allowed me to step outside of my comfort zone. I was able to apply what I have learned thus far in my undergraduate courses and further perfect my lab techniques. Working amongst individuals who have been in this field of study provided me with the confidence I need as I am about to begin my journey as an adult in the working world.