For my STEP project, I conducted research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center in the Craig Burd Lab. My project focused on helping understand the molecular mechanism of GREB1, a protein implicated in breast cancer.
This project was my first exposure to undergraduate research and at first, I didn’t know what to expect. Although I was nervous about jumping into something I had no experience with, I am so glad I took the leap. This experience has allowed me to grow and learn a lot about myself. In particular, through this project, I have become more independent, which has given me the confidence to take on a new individual project in the future. I have also enjoyed being able to see the real-world applications of a lot of the things I’ve learned in my classes. Most importantly, I’ve been able to appreciate the importance of basic science research in the advancement of medicine and how much work really goes in to all of the research and development of new treatments and cures.
Coming into the lab with very little background, I had trouble adjusting to working in a research lab. Conducting research for the first time in a new field is like learning a new language. For the first few months, I relied heavily upon help from the graduate students working in my lab. Before this project, I was somewhat resistant to ask for help, but through this experience, I was able to feel comfortable not knowing all of the answers. The most important relationship I developed was with one of the graduate students, Corinne, who taught me all of the techniques and skills I use in the lab. Working with her allowed me to become more confident in my own skills and my ability to succeed. She was always available to explain how and why things worked and inspired me to be more ambitious and independent.
This experience was very valuable in my personal and professional life. I plan to attend medical school in the future, so working in a research lab has allowed me to appreciate an important aspect of the healthcare field. I feel that having this background in research will allow me to pursue future research opportunities in medical school and beyond. Personally, I will be able to carry the newfound confidence and independence I have developed in the lab with me as I continue in college, medical school, and in life.