For my STEP Signature Project, I attended the American Chemical Society National Meeting in Boston. At the meeting, I attended seminars and poster sessions that were of interest to me. Lastly, I presented my undergraduate research work that I completed during the summer at the undergraduate poster session.
My STEP Signature Project was a transformational experience that allowed me to experience how scientific knowledge is shared. My view on how scientists collaborate and share information was changed. I learned that even though research is a competitive field, many scientists work together to change the lives of others. I also learned that research is conducted by a diverse population of people from around the world. My personal growth included stepping out of my comfort zone during my poster presentation and during my travels. It was very interesting to witness thousands of people come together in one location to celebrate discoveries and collaborate to expand our knowledge.
Many different events and interactions allowed from myself to grow and learn more about how science is shared. The overall atmosphere of the conference itself allowed me to better understand the depth of science. The conference took place in a large convention center and attached hotel. Every day of the conference, the facility was packed with people who were excited to discuss and share science. The first day of the conference was the most eye opening, when the exhibition center opened, I could see all at once the large number of people who had gathered to celebrate and learn. It was eye-opening to see just how many people were working and researching to expand our knowledge. I soon realized how much time and thought is put into discoveries that improve our lives.
Secondly, during the conference I spent a lot of time listening to others speak and attended poster sessions. During the research talks, I learned that many scientists worked to create better methods and tools for other researchers to use. These researchers understood that improving the tools for research would lead to new discoveries. I realized how each researcher was a “piece of the puzzle” in many of little discoveries that allow us to better understand our world.
Lastly, I learned how to step out of my comfort zone. This trip was my first experience traveling to and visiting a new city alone. I learned my way around the city and spent time learning about the history of Boston. I was used to exploring new cities with my friends or family, so it was a different experience to explore a city alone. I became very comfortable with going out to eat and exploring parts of Boston alone. I also had to step out of my comfort zone during my poster presentation, I learned to talk to many people and explain my research to a variety of different people.
My experiences during my STEP signature project have transformed me into a more confident person and given me insight into the depth of science. In the future, I plan to attend medical school and work as a physician. I know that I will work and collaborate with many researchers and understanding the work and collaborations that are possible will allow be to provide the best care to my patients. I also gained more confidence to present my work and experience new situations on my own. I have learned a great deal from my STEP signature project and the experiences that I have gained have prepared me for my future.