STEP Signature Project

My STEP signature project was conducting research under Dr. Campanella into Molecular Rotors.

While I was completing this project, I learned the importance of expedience since my lab waited the entire summer for components to the machine that I needed to use to conduct my research to arrive which held up my research. Additionally, I also learned what it was like to help run a laboratory group and all of the organizational effort that goes into managing that group. In addition, I learned how to effectively manage professional relationships.

The event that really underscored the importance of expedience during my STEP project was when it took the IT department at OSU three months to get a computer that was needed for one of our machines to work. This delay on the IT department’s part delayed my work greatly and was very frustrating. Additionally, since research is at times a very fast paced environment, I learned by working in it the value of getting things done in an expedient manner since others depended on my work.

Since the computer took so long to arrive, I began to work on other tasks for the laboratory such as organizing the lab space and setting up an organizational system. As I was setting up the laboratory, I learned about how a lab can be organized to create an environment in which lab members can work efficiently and safely since I had to figure out where to put all of the new materials I was ordering in the lab. All of these materials had to be placed in such a manner as to promote a safe environment and to comply with regulations.

Another aspect of my summer research that helped me to learn about running a lab was the lab manual that I wrote over the course of the summer. This helped me to learn about running a lab since I had to go and talk to people in other labs and ask them what they liked about their lab and what they did not like. Additionally, I had to think about what protocols in a lab needed to be standardized.

What I learned during my STEP signature project was significant because it will help to make me a better laboratory member in the future since I will know what goes into running a lab and how I can make it run smoother. Also, I plan on having my own lab group in the future so some experience running a lab group in some form is useful.


My name is Olamide Bola and I am senior in the economics department. My research focused on the effects of race/skintone on standard of living.

2. STEP gave me the opportunity to complete my own independent research project. Whilst I have completed independent research projects this was my first time completing one independently whilst using large datasets. For my project I collected data Census data from 1850-1920 and collected data that detailed the number of people that identified as Black and “Mulatto”. I then merged this data with contemporary data on median household income, per capita income and unemployment rate to capture the effect of race and skintone on income and unemployment.

I was able to deepen my data collecting and data analytic skills.

3. I went to the Association of Black Sociologists where I was able to observe academics presents as well as network. This was important as it gave me a chance to experience research that lied at the intersection of race and theory and utilized social science methodology that is relevant to the research I conduct. Additionally, I was able to tour New York University and visit faculty there. This was important as I intend on applying to two post-baccs at NYU.

4. This experience was important as it emboldened my decision to attend a PhD Economics program. Getting to work independently and build research skills was incredibly rewarding and these skills will be valuable post-undergrad. Finally, it was helpful to network with academics and see research presented. Ultimately I believe this experience was a great compliment to my undergraduate career.