This last week, me and another undergraduate were told to lead the lab’s journal club. For those that aren’t familiar, in a journal club everyone reads a specific paper (usually a recent publication in our lab’s field of study) and spends 2-3 hours talking through the paper- examining the data to see if their conclusions are supported, as well as examining the implications of their findings. Usually, there is a graduate student or postdoc who acts as moderator for the discussion- someone who does the background research and presents the findings to the others for discussion. The head of my lab decided that he wanted to start giving his undergraduate workers that experience, so he is having us pair up to lead the next month’s worth of meetings.
It was an interesting experience- before then, I had never actually led a lab meeting. Sure, it was intimidating, but I’m grateful for the experience- evaluating literature and collaborating with others are two of the most important parts of research. It was made difficult by the specific paper we read- most of the data was of a type our lab had never seen, and it was only tangentially related to our studies- but my partner and I managed to make a creditable explanation. At the very least, our presentation never fell apart, and everyone seemed to understand.