2019 STEM Scholars Program
After dipping into the pool of research through my molecular biology course and its corresponding inquiry-based research lab, I wanted to experience more and delve deeper into what could potentially be a suitable career for me in the future. After applying to several summer REU (research experiences for undergraduates) programs, I pursued Agnes Scott College’s STEM Scholars Program. Selected to work in Dr. Larimore’s neuroscience lab, I was ecstatic to further the research I had conducted in her molecular biology course. This time, rather than the research focusing on the Fxyd1 protein and the Na+/K+ pump, the project was redirected towards the endosomal pathway.
Throughout this STEM Scholars Program, I found myself in the lab running Western blots, staining mouse brain tissue, capturing microscope images of the mouse dentate gyrus and cortex via the lab’s new ZOE microscope, and analyzing data in ImageJ – all in just the first half of any given day. In the latter half, I was sure to be met with salted pretzels and hummus as an afternoon snack prior to commencing the day’s workshops per the STEM Scholars Program curriculum. The workshops, run by Dr. Molly Embree, director of the STEM Scholars Program and a co-director for Agnes Scott’s Science Center for Women, included professional development seminars (to improve science reading and writing skills) and research ethics seminars (to learn about and understand the peer review process, authorship, and plagiarism).
At the conclusion of this program, not only was significant progress made in the lab while investigating vesicle trafficking mechanisms in Mecp2 deficiencies, but I learned a great deal about myself. After becoming completely submerged in the pool of research at this point, I was certain I wanted to pursue a career in biomedical research. As a result, I became an official student researcher in Dr. Larimore’s lab after summer 2019 and I have been there ever since.
Credit: Images by Alexandra Lombardo, licensed under CC BY NC 4.0