One of my goals for this summer is to experience the life of a grad student, so it’s fortunate that my lab partnered me with Chris, a 3rd PhD student here at Mayo. With only nine weeks until I have to present my work, it’s nice to be able to jump right into an ongoing project. Chris has been so helpful in getting me up to speed, sending me past publications and presentations he’s done in his time here. There was so much information the first few days, and Chris is always patient when I have questions about the procedure. He does a great job of breaking down the theoretical background in a way I can understand. My first week on the job, he made sure that I got introduced to everyone in the lab and really helped me feel welcome.
As a PhD student, Chris has great insights on what graduate school is like. I’ve had the opportunity to tag along to lectures given by visiting faculty or talks by other grad students, so I’ve been exposed to a diverse range of research topics. It’s nice to be able to listen to the talks and just absorb as much as possible, instead of trying to take notes and worry about what will be on the exam. Another enlightening opportunity I had was a seminar Chris invited me to, where grad students were learning about how to apply to industry jobs. Since all of my experience thus far has been in an academic setting, it was great to see another possible career path.
Not only has Chris been aiding me, but also most of the other summer students in the lab. We often look like a group of ducklings as we travel from bench to bench in the lab. It’s become so common to see Chris explaining new protocols to a small pack of undergrads that my coworkers jokingly call him “Professor,” showing that they also recognize what a great research mentor Chris has become.