Thursday, May 7, 2015


Collaboration (n): The action of working with someone to produce or create something.

To me, this is one of the greatest strengths of 109; the presence and encouragement of collaboration. The semester started off really strongly when I knew that I was in the same section as Sonia and that we could be lab partners and embrace the challenges of 109. Always having a partner to work through the protocols with is key. Two minds is way better than one. It's amazing when sometimes I'll look at the homework or some step in the protocol and I'll just be like "wow I have no idea what to do here", but then with a partner, it all makes sense fairly quickly. That's not to say that we didn't ask Noreen and Leslie plenty of questions, but more often than not we knew what we were doing. Having a lab partner gives you an automatic friend to share the burden with. No matter what work lies ahead, they have it do and we will get through it together. Sonia and I have gotten pretty close this semester - the pink team bond is immensely strong (see cute pic below). Guilty, we may take the partner/pink team thing a little too extremely sometimes, but it just makes it more fun. I've worn more pink this semester than I ever have before, just for spirit of the pink lab team. 

I honestly think that the spirit of the pink team has carried us through the rough points and has gotten us some pretty good results. Our primer was prime, our NU-7441 dose curve was killer, 3' overhangs with sticky ends totally survived NHEJ, and okay maybe our solar cell efficiency wasn't amazing, but we certainly gave it our best shot. We prepared two reports, one memo, and very soon we will have pitched a full presentation for a novel experimental design and completed a mini report on solar cells and the use of phages. We've really covered a lot of ground. Honestly, go pink team.

Back to collaboration on a larger scale - as the semester passed by, it really felt as if we were getting closer as a class as we struggled through modules and papers. It was the module 2 report that really cemented my feeling that we were in this together and we were going to make the best of it. It's easier to see all the amazing, fun things we are doing in lab when you are all excited and invested in the same thing. All the lab groups would help each other with questions regarding the protocol and, more recently, everyone was more than willing to help with brainstorming for the presentations. Everyone's questions after the pitches were really helpful in working out the kinks in the experiments and novel ideas.

I should really include the teaching staff and TAs in this collaboration topic because they were all extremely helpful. I got a sense that the teaching staff was really on our team and willing to help and clarify as much as possible. Just the other day, Noreen helped Sonia and I by finding a really relevant paper for our presentation. Not to mention all the times Leslie and Noreen helped us through the protocol by answering our numerous questions. (Thank you to all the teaching staff and TAs).

Overall, 109 was a really nice display of the power of collaboration in the real world. It also really relates to realistic lab work because, in labs and between labs, grad students and postdocs are constantly working with each other, relying on the expertise of others and constantly asking each other questions to ensure and support the experiments being conducted. Working together to solve problems is much more efficient and also just a lot more fun.

ps go pink team and sorry for overwhelming everyone with all the pictures of Sonia and I on this blog

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