Future Directions | #6

“What does the future have in store for you?”

This was the question that I was asked on my very first day in the lab, and I wasn’t quite sure how to answer. A big part of why I chose this fellowship was to answer that question for myself. While I was making scientific discoveries, I’d also be discovering how I felt about a career in research and if I wanted to go to graduate school.

Jumping into researching full-time couldn’t have gone better. By joining a large lab, I was exposed to a variety of different projects that I learned about at our weekly lab meetings. My coworkers told me about their own experiences with post-bac internships, medical school, and graduate school. I loved being in the lab every day, and could definitely envision myself in their shoes a few years down the road. It made me excited about what the future might hold.

I started researching PhD programs around the country and picked up GRE prep books from the Rochester library. After being exposed to all of the possibilities and intricacies of epigenetics, I hunted for genetics courses that I could enroll in come fall semester.

In my last week, I came full circle, presenting the data I had collected over the last ten weeks to the lab. I was excited to show how much I had accomplished, and thank everyone for all of their help and support. Walking into my final meeting with the head of the lab, I felt a lot of gratitude, not just for all the skills I had learned or great memories with other SURF students, but also that I had a much more solid answer to the question he had posited over two months ago.

While I’d been brainstorming future directions for my research project, I’d also figured out some for myself. I’m not sure whether my grad school journey will take me back to the Mayo Clinic, but the people and places that I got to know in Rochester will always hold a special place in my heart.

2 thoughts on “Future Directions | #6

  • August 17, 2018 at 4:23 pm

    Hello Sierra,

    I love the question you’ve been brainstorming on! It is definitely not an easy one- there are so many possibilities that the future can hold, and often times future events are vague and subject to changes that we can’t plan as far ahead as we would like to. I’m glad the internship has impacted you in various ways and you now have a more solid direction for pursuing a career in research. However, don’t worry if your plans change, especially if you are still actively exploring and pursuing different opportunities. As long as you are driven with passion, I believe you can never be truly lost! The coaches here at the Hub are also a great resource for you to talk about graduate school with, to learn about the various admission exams and prep materials, and identify what graduate schools are a good fit for you. So don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

    I’m so glad that you wrapped up your big presentation smoothly, and I love how you took the time to thank everyone- this is a simple yet important act that acknowledges their guidance and shows your appreciation. It’s also great that you have much to be thankful for- be it transferable skills, friends or career inspirations, it can be helpful to write the memories down so you can refer to them in the future! I find this a great way to consolidate things that I learn from a new and insightful experience, and reflecting upon the experience by writing often leads to discovering things I almost forgot doing. You may be surprised by how far along you’ve come!

    I’ve enjoyed reading your internship journey with Mayo Clinic Sierra! Don’t forget you can always stop by the Hub to chat about your career goals, if you need help with drafting cover letters, or to find internship opportunities in similar fields. I hope you enjoy the rest of your summer, and keep thriving in what you love doing!


  • August 21, 2018 at 10:58 am

    Hi Sierra!

    I really enjoyed learning about your internship experience through your blogs! I want to acknowledge that with this post you’ve met the six blog requirement for the scholarship. You’re more than welcome to continue to blog and we’ll keep following your posts! However if this is the last time that we hear from you on the blog, I hope that you’ll have a chance to stop by the Hub this fall. We can chat about how you represent your experience on your resume, LinkedIn, or even in future interviews! Please let us know how we can be of help.

    Best of luck in the final weeks of summer,


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