I work at Abbive Inc in North Chicago, IL as a Lab Tech Aide in the Neurodiscovery department. As I arrived for my first day of work on May 1st, I was under the impression I was going to basically live in a research lab for the next three months. In my mind, my new wardrobe would be a white lab coat and some safety goggles. I figured I would be on my feet all day working with specimen in the lab, learning chemical names and using graduated cylinders/flasks. That being said, you could imagine my confusion when I was introduced to my cubicle on my first day!
For some reason, the idea of sitting around and doing desk work completely escaped my mind. After all, scientists don’t work with computers, do they? I couldn’t have been more wrong! Sorting and analyzing data is such a crucial part of research, and most of the data interpreation is done using computer programs. While I do get a decent amount of time in the lab, I spend most of my day in my cubicle on my laptop. Because I am an intern and do not have nearly as much experience in neuroscience as my colleagues, they typically are the ones to interpret the numbers, graphs, and charts. My task is usually to label tubes for future samples or to put the collected data into an Excel sheet.
The amount of time I spent outside of the lab took me by surprise, but I was able to make the best of it. When not in the lab or completing other tasks, I would read scholarly articles about neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Vanishing White Matter Disease. A minute was never wasted!