‘I Have Broadened My Range of Knowledge in the STEM Sector’
My experience at the University has taught me the importance of networking – and it led to my internship at the John B. Pierce Laboratory this summer. My work in the lab has enabled me to explore a new area of research while developing my communication skills and my confidence.
July 26, 2021
By Mansi Udhwani ’21
Conducting research is a dynamic experience with a lot of nuances. Therefore, it demands one to be resilient. There are times when experiments do not go as planned, and there is a lot of trial and error involved in the process. It is an experience that requires us to overcome challenges, and it also entails critiques in order for a research article to be published after the project is completed.
When I first began my work at the John B. Pierce Laboratory in New Haven, one of my biggest fears was the process of experimentation with animal models. It was tough for me to train the mice, establish a connection with them, and use them in experiments – let alone conduct surgery on them. Understanding how the experiments will be beneficial in the future for treating disease required a lot of time and thought on my end.
Another challenge I faced at my internship was my irrational fear of sounding ignorant and not asking questions about topics I did not fully comprehend. Science is a field in which one must continue to learn throughout their careers. Inquiring about topics in which people have expertise is not anything to be ashamed of. However, it took a lot of work on my part to come to this realization. Initially, I sometimes attempted to find materials on my own to better comprehend certain concepts, when asking for help would have been a faster and easier option.
I've found I have been able to better communicate with confidence as a result of such a wonderful opportunity to learn from specialists, which has also helped me share my own ideas. These experiences will greatly help with my future endeavours.
I would like to encourage students to apply to internships that are out of their comfort zones. As the saying goes, the finest teacher is one's own experience. Although I had a lot of lab experience at the University, I chose to intern at a lab that worked with animal models, which was completely unfamiliar territory for me.
My internship helped me learn a variety of new skills, boosted my confidence, and helped me learn the ethics of conducting research with live subjects. Not only was I be able to learn from experts, but I will also be able to stand out among thousands of applications because I have broadened my range of knowledge in the STEM sector.
I'd also like to encourage individuals to network. By using my networking abilities, I was able to secure my internship. I was also able to network with others in the lab and collaborate with them to further my project, which will be very beneficial for me, since it could result in my first publication.