Thursday, May 14, 2015

Wait, there's no Mod 4?

It's pretty hard to believe that my time in 109 is really over. Certainly, a lot has happened over this semester. Most importantly, I believe that I have taken steps in becoming a better communicator in regards to science. I am more confident presenting something like a Journal Club and I am even more confident presenting a research proposal of my own devise. I have made significant progress in my scientific writing throughout this class. I think each module uniquely supplemented the learning experience.

Mod1: This module had some pretty awesome real-world connections to the flu and it opened my eyes to the immense complexity and function of the microbiome. Now, to be honest, I could not see myself a lab studying the microbiome as a UROP or anything, but I can't ignore the numerous benefits of studying it. Mod1 introduced me to how to write a structured scientific paper. I had a little trouble analyzing the data because I felt like I was stretching, but I put a lot of effort into making important connections. It was nice to have a rough and final draft on that report as I really was just trying to figure out my scientific voice at that point. The primer design was a really cool part of the module and I think that is a lab skill that can be very important in other lab work. Professor Runstadler was a great help throughout the process and I think he did an awesome job as the figurehead of the module.

Mod2: Not to pick favorites, but Mod2 was my favorite module. More than anything, I think this can be related to the fact that I really understood the material and the processes. I could much more easily analyze the data and come up with better discussion points that conveyed how well I understood the material in general. I became way better at writing a methods section (thank goodness), although that's still my absolute least favorite part of scientific writing. My abstract was more clear and stronger. Attributed to a great understanding of the workings of this module, my results section was able to very clearly and concisely illustrate the data from this module and the discussion nicely provided the necessary depth to the overall project. I think Mod2 was a great leap in my ability to be a scientific writer, maybe it was a matter of being more comfortable in the class. All the practice and the reviews from Mod1 certainly helped. Professor Samson was fantastic.

Mod3: I liked the uniqueness that came with Mod3; the class definitely took a more engineering approach at this point with optimization and solar cell efficiency. I was introduced to very new concept with the material growing/binding phage. Also, getting to use the TEM was really awesome. It's amazing some of the things we are capable of seeing at the molecular level. No matter the efficiency of my solar cell, I really enjoyed constructing the solar cell and seeing that it actually managed to have some current, if only a little. My favorite part of this module, though, was the novel research proposal. I'm really excited about what Sonia and I were able to put together. It was so cool seeing it developing in our minds and then coming to life in the presentation. I felt really confident while presenting. It was actually a really fun process - great news for a person strongly considering grad school. Professor Belcher is awesome and it was so nice how much effort she put in coming to our lab class often and helping us through the research proposals.

Overall, I would definitely call the class a success overall. I met some really great people all around and learned a lot. It was rough at a few points, but it was also often quite fun.

Thank you immensely to all the instructors, Noreen, Leslie, and Shannon. It really meant a lot that you put so much effort into this class and were always so willing to help out. The TAs were also a great help throughout the modules.

Thanks 109. This is a big step in the Course 20 journey!

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