“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.