Opportunities and Challenges | #2

My internship presents an opportunity for me to expand on my current knowledge but also to learn new skills. I will continue working in the lab as I have during the school year but this summer will be different because I have much more time to work and I will work more independently on my own project. During the school year, I mainly focused on synthetic organic chemistry and building skills there. I will continue doing so during the summer because I enjoy synthetic chemistry and there is still much to learn, but I will also learn some biochemistry, specifically biocatalysis, and perform enzymatic work as well. I look forward to this focus on biocatalysis and I know I will learn a wide breadth of skills. To perform this work, I’ll learn how to operate new machinery, such as the Q-TOF, and analysis new data. With this new opportunity, there is also challenge. I am working independently on this project and this can be difficult since there is still so much I do not know. Fortunately, this challenge allows me to grow as a scientist, learn on my own from my data, and come to my own conclusion. The skill to formulate and execute your own hypothesis is incredibly valuable in research and I’m thankful I’ve been given the opportunity to take on this challenge independently. Although it may be difficult at first, I think it’s the best way to effectively learn and harness this skill.

In addition to working in a different field, I have the opportunity to expand my skills as a synthetic chemist. I have been working on one particular synthetic pathway during the school year. With this synthetic pathway, I’ve learned a multitude of reactions and mastered many organic chemistry laboratory skills and analyses. I now have a new opportunity to work on a different synthetic pathway to create a different end product. This is exciting because I will learn and perform new reactions that I’ve never run before. Additionally, no one else in the lab has finished this synthetic pathway successfully. This will be challenging because I have never run many of these reactions before so there is always the risk of something going wrong, especially with some highly reactive reactions, and the frustration that comes with unsuccessful reactions and low yields. But again, there is the opportunity to learn to analyze and optimize reactions.

I look forward to all the opportunities and challenges during my internship. Nonetheless, every challenge is an opportunity in disguise.

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