STEP Undergraduate Research Project

  1. 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 Signature Project involved the development, conduction, and analysis of a scientific research project involving thoracic spinal cord injury treatment. My responsibilities included forming a hypothesis and planning the project, completing all tasks throughout the project, and analyzing the results that were obtained. An animal model was used to conduct an experiment involving upper extremity training after a thoracic spinal cord injury to improve trunk stability and lower extremity locomotion.


  1. 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.

While completing my STEP signature project, I improved my organization and time management skills as well as learned how to adapt to unforeseen circumstances and adjusting my path to fit the new direction. While conducting this project, I had to learn how to plan out the study in order to make sure I could complete all my tasks on time each day. In order to stay on track, I had to make sure I was making a certain amount of progress and track my advancements throughout the study. This allowed me to learn how to manage my time efficiently to ensure all tasks are completed. Additionally, I had to be extremely organized in order to decide what tasks to complete each day. These skills will allow me to improve aspects of my personal and future professional career as I go throughout life.

In addition to time management and organization, this project taught me how to be flexible and adapt to situations I cannot plan for. Although I tried my best to organize the project so all tasks could be completed each day, sometimes an unexpected event occurred that forced the calendar to be setback. I had to learn to be flexible in these situations and adapt to the new circumstances. This involved adjusting the calendar each time I needed to in order to ensure the tasks were still completed. This skill will be extremely beneficial in the future, as I will definitely come across unexpected circumstances and I will need to be flexible to be successful.


  1. 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.


The events that occurred during my STEP project that allowed me to make this transformation included unexpected events such as being ill, last minute meetings, or appointments that I could not miss. These events interfered with the planned activities for the day and forced me to have to readjust the calendar to account for the lack of time that day. This affected me because it allowed me to have experience with an unexpected event, a situation that I am sure I will encounter in the future.

Along with the events that allowed this transformation, I had many people that guided me through this project and helped me to adjust and be flexible when I needed to be. My lab manager helped me to develop a plan and a schedule to carry out this project effectively. My principal investigator guided me in understanding scientific concepts surrounding spinal cord injury and helped me form my hypothesis. The lab technicians aided me in conducting the project, through helping me carry out daily tasks. All staff in my lab were extremely supportive and helped me tremendously throughout this project. This is important because it taught me the value of teamwork and allowed me to learn how to work with others to complete a project.

  1. 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.

This transformation, along with the skills I have obtained through conducting this project, have prepared me with traits that I will use in the future in my personal and professional life. Time management, organization, and flexibility are all essential characteristics to good relationships with people in all settings, whether that be personal or professional. As a future physician, these skills will be portrayed in my career every day as I try to manage my busy schedule to care for as many patients as I can. In order to effectively treat patients, I need to be able to manage my schedule and organize my days so I can give each patient individual attention. Additionally, in any aspect of life, unexpected events will always occur and I now have the skills to be able to handle them effectively. Overall, the skills I have gained through this experience will allow me to be a better person in my personal life as well as my future career.

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