Following the 12 week summer program I was involved in, all participants had to present 15 minute presentations to fellow SURF members, participants of other summer programs, lab mentors and physicians, as well as the directors of the physiology department at the medical school. I have presented short project overviews to fellow lab members, or even class projects in the past, however, this presentation seemed more intimidating to me. I was eager to hear about what other kinds of research other students had been working on all summer, but I was nervous to compile all that I’d worked on this summer and present it in a cohesive informative way to my peers. I often feel that presenting to strangers is less intimidating to people that I have close relationships with, so the thought of presenting work to fellow students I had formed relationships with as well as my fellow lab members and PI was a scary thought. I’m very thankful that I had such a wonderful lab that was encouraging, allowed me to practice my presentation in front of them, and give useful feedback.
Working to present data in a both aesthetically pleasing and clear way was something that I learned more about throughout the process of creating the presentation and going through the data collected over the past few weeks, and something that I think will be very useful to me in the future. Also working to have proper notes that I could use when necessary, that were informative about the project was something that took a lot of time to construct.
The presentation was a totally different experience than working in the lab each day and it was much different talking about my work than actually doing it in lab each day. It allowed me to reflect on the project, further understand the background behind what I was studying, things that my mentor and I realized we should have done differently, and what direction we should take with the project in the future. Lucky for me, I will be able to continue my work with this lab during my senior year and continue to build relationships with lab members while conducting research. In the end, my presentation went really well despite how nervous I was. I knew that I had prepared a lot and that helped me feel more comfortable in that position. I think it was a great learning experience to top off the end of the program, and I am very thankful to have had this opportunity.